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This week, we asked Rational Support IBMers what tip or trick they'd like to share... below you'll find some great advice about global collaboration, using Lotus Notes and associate applications more effectively, and information on making Support Portal more effective for YOU!
First up is Wendy Page, an RCS Software Advisory Team manager, with some recommendations for collaborating with global teams. Wendy notes:
"When working with remote colleagues, especially in foreign labs, I take a couple of minutes to ask them about something in their locale before beginning a work conversation.
For instance, when I next talk to my CDL development team, I will ask them about their New Year's Holiday, whether they traveled to see family, what traditions they cele
Paula Cox, a Rational Client Programs manager, has some great tips for using tables in Lotus Notes:
In Lotus Notes (perhaps we can have a thread on JUST Notes tips)...two things have made everything easier.
Debra Johnson, another Rational Client Programs manager, has even more advice surrounding Lotus Notes:
One of the things in Lotus Notes Teamrooms, email, databases etc., that Paula Cox (thanks Paula- she is our Lotus Notes guru) taught our team was to use the 'shift' plus the 'minus' key to minimize the open documents. This helps if you need to find a category or event from the list. To use this function, click in the results, then press the 'shift' and 'minus' keys; it will collapse everything in that window to the highest level.
Lastly, our eSupport guru Pat O'Connor gives us some simple but highly effective tips on using the Support Portal:
For the IBM Support Portal:
So, there you have some great tips and tricks from the people who work with these tools, sites, and distributed teams every day... do YOU have any tips to share? Anything that you find makes your life a little easier or efficient? Work related or otherwise, we're all ears and eager to learn new ways to improve!
image credit: (cc) the incomparable flickr user AndyP UK
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Passion.... Joe Robinson recently wrote an interesting article on the topic over at the Huffington Post. In that article he posits that "Stocking up on positive events is important because we're usually in a losing battle against the negative avalanche barreling down on us from all sides." In the support world, we often see this exemplified, as we only get calls when there's an issue; no one calls us to tell us when products are working perfectly. I think Joe is on to something with his article, so rather than dwell on the problems sitting in our queues, let's talk a bit about our passions and what really gets us excited.
What ARE our passions in RCS? I'm glad you asked...
For Conny Postma, one of our Accelerated Value Specialists, passion is about her family: "I'm the proud mother of a teenage boy. My husband has been a stay-at-home father for most of the time." But that's not the whole of Conny's passion either as she goes on to note: "That gave me the opportunity my to pursue my other passion: working in Support! I really like to dive into technical issues, while at the same time talking and dealing with real human beings, also called clients and colleagues. But, also I'm very passionate about Astronomy: If time and weather allows I'm staring into the night sky and admiring the wonders of the stars and planets that surround us. That is such a peaceful and relaxing experience... "
Taking a different approach to the question, Kelly Smith, whom you all know as co-author of NFRS and overall knowledge activist, tells us her passions revolve around effective and open knowledge-sharing! She notes: "Email is where knowledge goes to die, says Bill French, and this blog post explains it much better than I ever could. In short, if you are providing an answer, that answer is best captured someplace it can easily be found and reused by others... and usually, that's not in your head or in your inbox. Worse, if it's in MY head, chances are that *I* won't even be able to find it when I need it again. Working smarter means not answering the same question over and over again... but providing the answer once where others can find it."
For myself, I find my passion in various places depending on what my life needs at any given moment. Sometimes I like to dive into a project that involves building or modifying something with my hands, like my latest kick to modify a vintage 1930's phone to a digital system functional for my day to day work. Other times, I have a driving need to create in a more artistic manner, which is where my love for photography comes into play. Even other times, I simply find passion and enjoyment from helping other people solve issues plaguing them; no surprise why I work in support on that one... but more than all, I find passion in writing; communicating thoughts and ideas to the world, be it in blog form, technical documentation, or just day to day correspondences. Of course if I just have to get away and clear my head, I hop on my motorcycle and ride off into the sunset... wheels on the ground, of course.
You've heard a few of ours, now we'd love to hear what -your- passions are. What drives your life beyond work? What passion keeps you coming back to work?
image credit: flickr user SanforaQ8
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There's no doubt that "social" is the new web. Over the past two years we saw businesses adopt social networking at an unprecedented pace. But what will this year bring in the social spaces? More particular, what role will social business play in software support in 2011? We posed that very question to Rational Client Support and found a myriad of ideas and opinions.
From one of our Rational System Architect and Modeling TSEs, Pritesh Patel, we get the high level view of social business: "The information highway has become a social gathering place where more and more people using it are being seduced by digital media. You no longer have to invite someone for a cuppa tea to have a chinwag and gossip. In support, we have a huge bucket full of data (gossip) that we share. We can now reach out to our clients and provide them with necessary information, which can then reverberate across our various social-business channels. All major organizations are using these tools to create a buzz and that's what we're doing also. We promote support and build a different kind of rapport with our clients."
Sumant Renukarya, a Rational Synergy and Change TSE follows on Pritesh's view with: "We already see a major shift in the way the information is spread, thanks to social networking. At support, the following points play a major role with social networking: social business provides quick access to the required information like specific product related installers, fixpacks, readmes, etc. Promoting events and hence better attendance. And it adds a personal touch with clients, developers, and support personnel."
One of RCS' Knowledge Managers, Phil Wall, points out that: "Social Media in 2011 needs to be more interactive. We have been serving up information, videos and education through our Notes From Rational Support, Twitter, and Facebook channels almost like how a Newspaper reports the news to subscribers. What will make our social business channels more interesting to our community in between relevant information sharing?"
And that, dear readers, is a great question. What will make our presence more interesting? I'll leave you with these two additional questions in hopes of finding out:
What do you think 2011 will hold for software support in social business? What would you like to see from us in these spaces?
image obtained from: flickr user Rosaura Ochoa, illustration by Gerardo Obieta
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IBM has been driving the "Smarter Planet" concept for quite a while now, both formally as a campaign and even longer as a general ethic of business.
To drive home a personal perspective of this global focus, this week we asked: What are you doing to make the planet smarter? Here are some of the responses we received from colleagues around the world:
Umberto Ghio is focused on a very personal way of making the planet smarter: I am trying to get smarter myself. As I am part of the planet, by improving myself I am contributing to the overall "smarter planet" ideal. How? I try to do things in a different way, make some efforts to imagine a better solution for each problem I am facing, even if it is an old known problem with a old known solution. Learning; learning something new is the best way to keep your brain young, and opens doors you never even imagined. I do as much as I can not to be obvious; do you get the same question 20 times? I try providing a different (but correct) answer to each one. I try to be as polite and kind as possible; it's too easy to be rude or too focused on yourself. Fun; I try to have as much fun as possible, and I try to involve as much people as possible. Spread the fun, you will never be wrong. A smarter planet? That is one in which everybody is happy
The efforts to make the planet smarter can also be demonstrated in different ways and shapes based on roles and responsibilities people take in their day to day life. As Hamid Kalantari notes, this includes both personal and business roles and responsibilities, and in our support organization this is done by:
Nanesh Bhamkar postulates that a "thought" can definitely change lives. To help make the planet smarter he is currently growing his personal network so that the thoughts can be implemented, noting that in a developing nation like India, new technology is reaching only 5% of the crowd, while the majority of people are still waiting for it to make their lives smarter. He believes this is possible with a good network and support.
We can also compartmentalize smarter planet ideas into professional and personal as Sumant Renukarya has shown us:
At work: I focus, daily, on how to improve my own skills with assisting clients, I try to figure out what else I can improve, and of course I continue my own education.
Off work, there are a lot of small ways in which I am contributing to make a smarter planet. I teach Yoga; healthier people are a smarter planet I reach out to children and instill with them the importance of education. I use water efficiently, and in turn, save water. And here's an easy one: I switch off the power when it is not in use!
Lastly, we all know the following big industries:
They are supported by IBM Rational Client Support!!!
Howard goes on to say: I am really proud that I am part of Rational Client Support and can provide support to those companies making the planet smarter. Whenever I interact with clients and keep their business running smoothly, I know that I am making an indirect but important contribution to a smarter planet.
So.... what are YOU doing to help make the planet smarter? We'd love to hear your ideas in the comments section!
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Building on the success of 2010's Meet the Peeps interview series, we are thrilled to announce our 2011 program which we hope becomes just as successful with your participation and support!
"What's your take on that" is an English-language idiom which asks someone for their opinion and ideas.
Our new 2011 "What's Your Take?" Friday morning blog series will ask and publish a question a week along with a handful of relevant, and thought-provoking answers from Rational Client Support colleagues. We'd love to see this generate discussion and interaction from both internal employees and external clients alike.
That said, let's jump right into our first question of the series:
We asked "Is there any technology that you think should get more respect and adoption but does not?"
Bill Penny, an RCS Knowledge Manager, spoke up and noted: I would have loved to see Google Wave completely replace Gmail (or in more general terms, replace E-MAIL). The wave is how e-mail would have been created had we've known then what we know now. Alas, the dark shadow that is e-mail has a strangle hold on us and migrating to anything different is going to take a revolution of epic proportion.
Cleber Neumann Ribeiro, a Support Manager, agreed with Bill but hadn't used Google Wave. As an addition, though, he also added that a way to integrate our tools and centralize information would save a lot of time.
Jason O'Donnell, another RCS Knowledge Manager (yup, that's me), chimed in at one point and noted that outside of the software realm, I'd like to see solar tech garner more respect and adoption. At present, science seems to be making strides to improving scale of size and cost, but the technology still struggles with the stigma of being an 'alternative' source of energy. There's no reason why solar can't at least become a standard supplemental source, if the environment won't support it as a primary. Solar power is not a flower-power era pipe dream, it is in fact a viable source for sustainable energy today. While it is creeping into commonplace in some installations (think call-boxes on the side of highways with solar panels to help power them), it still seems to be relegated to institutional usage and not yet in the mainstream consumer marketplace. A few more significant adopters, a reduction in cost to the consumer, and a shift in respect towards the technology would go far in bringing the world towards achieving reduction in reliance on fossil fuels and becoming a truly 'smarter planet'.
Pedro Luiz Teixeira De Moura, a Software Developer within Rational Support, also agreed and tossed in his take on solar tech saying: During millions of years nature has used solar energy, but we don't use this kind of energy as best as we could. The human race needs to improve our efforts to use solar energy on buildings, cars, computers, mobiles, and more.
So, you've read our quick thoughts on the tech which we think should get more respect and adoption, now... what's YOUR take? Let us know in the comments below
image source: flickr user drachmann