PACKT Publishing reached out to me recently to see if I'd be interested in reviewing their new book 'IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide.' Given my history with the product (and having answered no small number of questions about how it works), I was interested to take a look. (Disclosure: PACKT Publishing provided me with a complimentary electronic copy of the book for review purposes.)
I found the book to be a very thorough and well-organized look at how to use Sametime instant messaging and Web conference features, running from the basic embedded capabilities in Lotus Notes all the way through Sametime Advanced and Sametime Unified Telephony. For users new to using Sametime, or even those moving up to a "modern" version from Sametime 3.1 or its ilk, this would be an excellent "how-to" guide as well as a reference companion. While the concept of "instant messaging" is something most people are familiar with these days, Sametime is packed with enough features and capabilities that it's helpful to have a resource that walks through all of the capabilities, explains the preference settings, and highlights some of the more advanced (and less-than-obvious) features.
Authored by Marie Scott and Thomas Duff, who should be no strangers to those in the Lotus community, the book is very well laid out and walks through topics including using Sametime in Lotus Notes, setting up and using the Sametime Connect client (from setting up your the contact list up through transferring files and screenshots, and everything in between), scheduling and leading a Web conference, using chat rooms, broadcast communities and instant share in Sametime Advanced, and using Sametime Unified Telephony. The Appendices cover new features in Sametime 8.5 and 8.5.1, as well as using Sametime in other applications such as Lotus Connections or Microsoft products... and even contain a link to the Sametime song.
The books is structured in a way that covers the basics before moving on to more advanced features, something novices should appreciate, as they should the use of accompanying visuals, preference setting descriptions and index in the back.
Having been involved in books like this before, I know there is often more material that could be included than there is room for. That said, there are a few things that I wished had been called out - features that I used to get a lot of questions on or that I discovered even veteran Sametime users weren't aware of (and my apologies if I just missed it in the book). For example:
You can drag and drop a file into the chat area to initiate a file transfer, instead of using the paperclip icon
Clicking the "search directory" option when typing name will find that person even if they're not in your contact list (I've discovered colleagues who had been using Sametime 7.5 for over a year and still thought the only way to chat with someone was to first add them to their contact list.)
You have the option to have separate chat windows or a single tabbed chat window (and can start a chat with a new user directly from within the chat window).
Those are all minor points, though. To re-iterate what I said earlier, I'd highly recommend this book to anyone starting to deploy Sametime or upgrading to Sametime 8.x, and it's certainly a worthwhile reference to stick on the office shelf for new hires using Sametime for the first time. Well done, Marie and Tom!
Introducing Watson Analytics: Analytics for Everyone
Tue, Sep 16th 2014 11:11a Adam Gartenberg When you've got a new solution being compared to the transformational power of the spreadsheet and the iPhone, you just might be on to something. From Steve Lohr in The New York Times: Developing technology is one thing; democratizing it is another. The latter involves finding the innovation that opens the door to widespread adoption with usefulness and usability. In the personal computer era, it was the spreadsheet that transformed a hobbyistsâ plaything into a must-have machine in co [read] Keywords: collaboration
Your Participation is Needed: 6th Annual Analytics Survey
Tue, Jul 22nd 2014 9:11a Adam Gartenberg IBM's Institute for Business Value is currently collecting responses for the 6th annual IBV Analytics survey, and needs your participation. The survey, the largest of its kind in the industry, will investigate how organizations can create a competitive advantage with big data and analytics. Responding will only take 15 minutes, and all responses will be anonymous. If you opt in to register (your contact data will be disassociated with the survey data to ensure privacy), you will be sen [read] Keywords: ibm
$600 Early Bird Discount for Insight 2014 (formerly IOD)
Wed, May 21st 2014 11:11a Adam Gartenberg Early bird registration for Insight 2014 (formerly Information on Demand) is now open. Registering now will save you $600. The call for speakers is also open, so if you've got a topic you'd like to present, please go ahead and submit it. You can learn more about the conference curriculum and see highlights of past conferences here. Register today! [read] Keywords: ibm
Putting analytics into the hands of decision makers
Tue, May 20th 2014 1:10p Adam Gartenberg As far as analytics has come in recent years, there are still challenges around making sure that the data and analysis gets into the hands of the people who need it most in a timely and easy to understand fashion. At the IBM Vision conference today, IBM made announcements that will bring us one step closer to making the notion of "analytics everywhere" a reality. The new technologies previewed today include: An analytics offering now available on the IBM Cloud Marketplace that can manage [read] Keywords: collaboration
Amtrak Writer’s Residencies - Social media done right
Thu, Feb 20th 2014 11:11a Adam Gartenberg Via @austinkleon (Link to his post with more detail). Excellent job, @Amtrak. Amtrak writerâs residencies Hereâs what went down: in his PEN Ten interview, @AlexanderChee was asked where he best liked to write: I still like a train best for this kind of thing. I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers. Thatâs it. Two sentences. And then this happened: [read] Keywords: twitter
IBM Predictive Analytics to Detect Patients at Risk for Heart Failure
Wed, Feb 19th 2014 3:11p Adam Gartenberg More great work coming out of our analytics group, working in partnership with leading healthcare providers and IBM Business Partners. ARMONK, N.Y. - 19 Feb 2014: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Virginia health systemCarilion Clinic has indentified 8,500 patients at risk for developing heart failure in a pilot project that could lead to early intervention and better care for these patients. The pilot was completed in collaboration with IBM, Epic and Carilion Clinic. The results were [read] Keywords: collaboration
Quantified Athletes: Using Analytics to Reduce Injuries
Wed, Feb 5th 2014 12:10p Adam Gartenberg Those of you who attended the IOD conference back in 2011 were treated to an interview with author Michael Lewis and Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, of Moneyball fame (amongst many other achievements). One comment that's stuck with me was a question tossed in at the very end of the interview. Billy Beane was asked how it's possible to still get a competitive advantage from the type of statistical advantages he discovered, now that everyone was on to the approach (and, as he comm [read] Keywords: ibm
New SaaS study shows how "Pacesetters" distance themselves from the rest
Tue, Jan 28th 2014 3:12p Adam Gartenberg There's no question that Software as a Service (SaaS) is here to stay as a model for quickly and cost-effectively deploying new IT capabilities inside of and outside an organization. But, as in all aspects of business, some companies are finding greater advantage than others. What's special about the organizations who exhibit the highest level of SaaS adoption and who are gaining competitive advantage through their efforts? A study by the IBM Center for Applied Insights released today [read] Keywords: collaboration