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Rational Support was very busy at Innovate 2011 this week! Lots of great conversations and sessions - Take a look back at this week's blog posts from Notes from Rational Support and our friends at IBM Electronic Support for all the details!
Of course Innovate wasn't JUST for the attendees! If you weren't able to make it out to Orlando this year, you can still reap some fabulous benefits from the conference through our blog posts, but especially through the IBM Rational Livestream feeds for the conference! Take some time and check out all the great keynote presentations we recorded and hosted just for you! I think you'll find some fabulously useful information there!
Notes from Rational Support blog articles:
Of course, our friends over at the IBM Electronic Support Community have also been busy at Innovate and posting their blog articles too:
kellypuffs 06000168YK Visits (1535)
rationalwebguy Patrick O'Connor:
The Support Café is buzzing with activity Tuesday morning (Europe 3, Dolphin Hotel).
The Rational Client Support Airship outside of the Support Cafe (Europe 3, Dolphin Hotel).
Support Cafe sign and the Support Airship on the RIGHT as you come off the escalator - NOT the left as our map and blogs said (last minute move)!
And finally, the man himself, Patrick O'Connor. He'll be there all week!
Photo credits: All rights reserved by IBM_
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When you contact our support team for help resolving Rational product issues, we often we request additional troubleshooting information from your problem system. For some products, obtaining this information is easy to do, but often the info or particular files are not that easily located. On occasion, additional logs are requested based on new information found or it may have simply been missed.
What can we do to make it easier?
For select products, we've enabled an automated data gathering tool called IBM Support Assistant Lite (ISALite for short). This tool will gather appropriate troubleshooting information for a particular product. This will help reduce the amount of back and forth communications between you and support, and help our support team get to the core of the problem more effectively and efficiently.
Our newest ISALite product additions are:
Are you new to ISA or ISALite? Here's some great resources to help you out:
Go on, give it a try and let us know what you think!
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Are you going to Innovate 2011? If so, stop by and see us!
Want to share your feedback with our Technical Support management and executives?
Need to learn how to best interact with your IBM Support teams and expedite your issues and concerns?
Looking to discover the latest IBM improvements to our support website and knowledge-base?
Well look no further! Come talk to Rational Client Support in the Support Cafe!
Drop by and enjoy some refreshments and discuss your Support needs when YOUR schedule permits.
We will be there to assist you. Stop by the Support Cafe' (in Europe 3 in the Dolphin Hotel on June 6, 7, and 8th) and visit us!
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You may have seen his name on a few recent posts around these parts: Matt Quimby has joined our team and dug into some of our social business efforts as you'll see below. We've set him up to help here on NFRS where he'll be blogging about whatever strikes his fancy; my guess is he'll be sharing a lot surrounding his efforts with Youtube and IEA modules to start...
But, rather than just dump him in, we figured we'd take this opportunity to provide a more formal introduction and give a face and personality to the man behind the posts. In the same vein as last year's Meet the Peeps series, I'm pleased to introduce Mr. Matt Quimby:
Matt, tell us a little about yourself:
Who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
I am a techie and geek who loves working with web technology, mobile gadgets, and computer hardware. As I gained experience in the software industry, I found that I enjoyed working with documentation, education, and project management.
I am currently a Knowledge Manager for Rational Client Support. I focus on organizational projects in creating multimedia content like IBM Education Assistant modules and YouTube videos. I work with various other types of documentation and write about them on our social business channels. I also help with feedback and projects aimed to improve the IBM Service Request tool.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
I will be starting my sixth year with IBM in June. I started in and have been with Rational the whole time. This year, I am excited to have opportunities to work with more colleagues in other software brands as well.
Have you had any other roles in Rational?
I started with IBM as a support engineer for Rational ClearQuest. In additional to working with that program, I was able to experience other applications with which it can integrate. These include IBM DB2 database and the different Rational testing products.
I continued working with ClearQuest as a Knowledge Engineer; a role where I worked with product-level documentation, education, and social networking activities. In this position, I collaborated regularly with development, release engineering, and the KM team.
What inspires you in your work?
It feels great that I can contribute to activities that positively affect not only the success of IBM clients, but my colleagues’ abilities to work with those clients. Being able to work with cool social networking, documentation, and multimedia tools in the process is a bonus. Change is constant, and I am always challenged to identify and act on improvements.
How do you grow your technical skills?
I try to stay on the lookout for new technologies and tools to see if they can improve the way I work or be applied to business processes. When presented with a new process or tool set to work with, I like to immerse myself in the technology and work with it hands on. It helps me understand its workflow and gets my thought process going on how it can be improved or applied in different ways.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
I like being with friends and family, especially outdoors when the weather is nice. I like visiting new places and taking pictures. I would like to get into advanced photography as a hobby. When I have to time to do so, I like to experiment with different web, mobile, and computer hardware technology. I also like to play video and tabletop games.
What type of gadgets do you use?
I probably work with too many types of gadgets for my own good. I like researching mobile gadgets; specifically advances and new offerings with smartphones, tablets, and notebook computing. I have used smartphones since the Windows CE days, and gave Android a try over a year ago. I enjoy the different experiments I can try with customizing that operating system.
So, now that you know a bit more about Matt, give him a warm welcome and a gentle nudge to provide you with the content you want to see! We'll be sure to hold his feet to the proverbial fire for you
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First and foremost: Thank you all!
You've spoken up, told us who you are and where you find value in our social business outlets. You even gave us some actionable comments which we've taken to heart! We've collated your replies and analyzed the results....
And WHAT was it you told us? Well, for starters, you find a lot of value in this here blog. You also told us you find substantial value in our Youtube channel! Less so, and not surprisingly, you find Twitter and Facebook of lesser value. You also specifically asked for more Youtube videos, and to make them version specific. Lastly, you asked us about adding a LinkedIn channel, and pointed out MyNotifications as a great information tool as well.
To date, we've used Twitter and Facebook to signpost high value content (some of which we source directly from MyNotifications), while Youtube and the NFRS dW blog have been home for more rich content creation as well as highlighting the top bits. We'll be continuing in this fashion, but with some slight shifts in how we manage the various channels.
You may have already noticed some of the changes coming down: we'll be focusing more on blogging the really great content, and won't be tweeting/Facbooking so much of the content you can already get by setting up a MyNotifications subscription We still intend to post available releases and fixes to both Twitter and Facebook, as well a sign post some of the other bits of great content coming out of other blogs and communities, we just won't be cultivating those two channels quite as much.
Instead, we are shifting our social business focus to provide much more rich, deep, and valuable content via this blog as well as through our Youtube channel. We have a few projects up our sleeves which we are working behind the scenes to roll out in ways which will prove beneficial for you all.
As for LinkedIn, Rational Software announced our own group a few weeks back. We in Rational Support have begun playing in that space, and encourage you all to do the same. We hope to grow our individual presences there, but also intend to be more involved in the other Rational groups around the site.
Of course we wouldn't have any of this actionable information if you all hadn't provided such great feedback. Thank you, one and all, for telling us how you think we're doing! But this wasn't your last chance to leave feedback: you have opportunities every day to ping us on Twitter, Facebook, or here in the NFRS comments to let us know what you like or dislike, what you want us to change, and of course what you want us to keep doing. We can never get enough feedback! So, thank you all for helping us with our social business survey and thanks in advance for future feedback...
As Kelly would say, you all ROCK!
image credit: (cc) Some rights reserved by Flickr user Search Engine People Blog
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The developerWorks Rational Team has recently announced that it is time to clean out the stacks and freshen up a bit.
Over the course of April, they will be reviewing all articles and tutorials on dW older than five years to ensure continued relevancy. If there are any articles or tutorials more than five years old that you want to remain on our site, please tell us over at: http
You can easily scan through a listing all of articles, oldest-to-newest. The deadline for action is April 30th, 2011.
image credit: (cc) Some rights reserved by redjar
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There are two solutions in the form of fixes and/or manual workarounds that will resolve the issue. The safer solution is to apply the fix for each named product as directed in the flash above. These solutions should be implemented immediately.
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No, really, thank you! Your response to our survey request has been outstanding! We've been getting some -great- feedback via our Social Business survey; we're learning a lot, and we want to learn more!
Oh, but you say you haven't actually filled out our little 3 question survey? Well, you're in luck: you still have time to give us YOUR feedback too! It's just two quick questions to identify how you're connected to us and what value you see in our different channels, then an optional third question to provide free-text feedback if you so desire. (I'll tell you, we LOVE getting actionable comments from you!)
As Kelly noted in her post last week, it doesn't matter what WE think ... YOUR opinion is the only one that really counts!
image credit: (cc) by flickr user hugochisholm
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On Wednesday, we launched a short three question survey about our social business channels, which will remain open until the end of March. We'd really love it if you took a few moments to answer at least two of the questions and help us gauge our efforts. And, if you feel so inclined, there is a third free text question where you can give us your unfiltered thoughts and suggestions.
We really do value any and all feedback. This is another chance to really help drive our success in this space by ensuring YOU get value out of it. But without feedback, we have no way to tell if you are indeed seeing value, or which bits of content are providing you with the most value.
The link above will take you to the survey as hosted by SurveyMonkey... of course if you came to this blog directly, you've already seen the pop-up version of the survey (if it wasn't blocked by your browser settings). We'll also be Tweeting and Facebooking about the survey over the remainder of the month as well... so, as the political joke goes: Vote early, Vote often! And thank you for your support
image credit: Some rights reserved by John Morton
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (6226)
... to do the same.
Problem: Ineffectual meetings. Meetings that take longer than they should. Too many meetings. Meetings that consistently sound like this five minute video... "The Conference Call" by David Grady.
But what about those meetings you HAVE to attend just in case something comes up, or to stay informed about developments and progress on projects or programs? Easy. That is what wikis, discussion forums, blogs, and RSS feeds are for; staying informed when it matters!
Collaboration does not mean scheduling a one hour meeting. Collaboration can be done at any time of the day, regardless of your colleagues' availability. Using internal wikis, blogs, and discussion forums, you can not only collaborate more effectively and have written record of your progress, but you can do so across time zones and geographic boundaries. Using RSS feeds, you can keep an eye on any updates from a single location across communities and functional groups.
(Ooooooh, here comes the work plug! In the interest of transparency, yes, I work for IBM, and yes IBM owns Lotus. That said, I honestly -do- think the tooling I am about to discuss is effective and worthwhile, and I don't say that about much!)
Using Lotus Connections, you can build communities to support collaboration and reduce the number of "essential" meetings you attend. Because Lotus Connections has wiki, blogging, discussion, bookmarks, file storage, and many other capabilities, the online collaboration can take place at your discretion. Priority management can now be more effectively accomplished as you no longer need to balance those silly meetings with getting actual work done. And because Connections is built with RSS features, you can set up your feeds in the tool of your choice to stay up to date with all the items YOU care about and participate on your own terms.
While I use Lotus Connections for a wealth of reasons in IBM, I find the most beneficial part of it all is the RSS capabilities. The RSS feeds I watch for the various communities I participate in allow me to quickly glance at updates and determine if the information is something I need to focus on now, if it can wait, or if I need to pay attention to it at all. Information triage, as it were, in milliseconds. This has truly been the single most effective tool to combat information overload I have used to date.
So, now that you've divested your self from those ineffectual meetings... are driving the meetings you do attend with a new vigor and granular focus based on specific agenda items posted to your wiki (and updated later with details of the discussions)... and are globally collaborating with colleagues across time zones, what more can you do to reduce meetings and influence people? The answer: Work on your meeting etiquette.
Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way... and I'll say right up front, I have broken every single one of these at one time or another, so don't think I am throwing stones in a glass house here:
But don't take my word for it all... check out "The 22 minute meeting" a six minute iGNiTe video presentation by Nicole Steinbok. Here's the link to the instructional poster too. Nicole makes some stellar points via some very amusing fashions.
I truly hope this has given you some good tips, tricks, or tools to use to make your day to day job more effective and efficient. If for nothing else, I hope it gave you pause to think about what you can do as an individual to help make sure your meetings are run as crisp and concisely as possible, with few distractions, clear goals, and shorter run times. After all, if you can make a small difference, imagine what we can accomplish if we ALL make those small differences....
image credit: (cc) flickr user Ha-Wee
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Get on the KCS train! We've run the numbers, reviewed the data, and found the top support documents from last month. These are the docs which were most commonly reused over the course of our TSEs assisting with calls.
With our KCS (Knowledge centered support) ideals in mind, our reuse data tells us these docs should be of great benefit to you all.... We hope highlighting this content here will help you as well, and maybe even save you some time in resolving issues or finding the right answers...
image credit: flickr user Mike Miley
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This issue is being investigated by IBM Rational as a high priority and a fix for the Java we ship for our products will be made available. Updates will be made to this alert as new information becomes available.
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There are three new demonstration modules for IBM Rational BuildForge on the IBM Education Assistant for Rational website:
The IBM Education Assistant is a collection of multimedia educational modules designed to help you gain a better understanding of IBM software products and use them more effectively to meet your business requirements. Take a tour of IBM Education Assistant
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Use the IBM Rational ClearQuest Full-Text Search Administrator tool in ClearQuest version 7.1.1 and later to set up, configure, and administer the full-text search feature. From the Download Description:
This tool replaces existing full-text search tools such as cqtssetup.pl and cqtsdbcrawler.pl, which are included in ClearQuest 7.1.x. The tool hides the complexity and low-level details of setting up, configuring, and administering full-text search. Use the Rational ClearQuest Full-Text Search Administrator tool to run a set of command-line options from the server where the full-text search feature is installed.
Sounds great, right? Well go on, you can get it here: http
image credit: (cc) flickr user QuinnDombrowski
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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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Rational VoiCE India 2011 will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 2011 at the Leela Place Hotel.
To register and see a complete agenda, go here> Rational World Wide VoiCE Events-VoiCE Bangalore, India
To whet your appetite, here's a quick list of the tracks...
Want more info? Check out the more detailed session abstracts for these VoiCE tracks to be presented in Bangalore on February 22nd, 2011 (Additional information is available on the Private VoiCE community for those who have registered for this event). See instructions on this page for joining the VoiCE Community.
If you would like more information about these VoiCE events, please contact the VoiCE team at email@example.com
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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
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (2068)
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!