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!
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
IBM Sametime: New Name, New Features
Tue, Jan 28th 2014 1:11p Adam Gartenberg It's been many years since I've been involved with IBM Sametime in any capacity beyond that of an end user, but as it still has a close place in my heart, and since many of you who find your way here are still interested in Sametime, it didn't feel right not to at least acknowledge the new name that was announced at yesterday's Connect conference Opening General Session. So, as the former Offering Manager for Lotus Sametime (and briefly, for Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing - [read] Keywords: connections
Two more TV ads: Smarter Supply Chains and Smarter Energy
Mon, Jan 20th 2014 11:11a Adam Gartenberg IBM debuted two more commercials during this past weekend's NFL playoffs. They feature McKesson, who worked with IBM to ensure an efficient supply chain, and Vestas, who is using big data to optimize the placement of wind turbines. (You can see more details on the approach Vestas is taking here.) Smarter Supply Chains Transcript: IBM is helping hundreds of health care companies work smarter. McKesson used analytics in the cloud to design a more efficient supply chain, helping save o [read] Keywords: ibm
New Smarter Planet TV ads -- Cyber Security and Automotive
Mon, Jan 13th 2014 8:12a Adam Gartenberg IBM has been debuting some new advertisements during the NFL playoff games. Here are the first two ads, which aired this past weekend. The one on security seems particularly timely these days. Learn more. Transcripts of the ads: Smarter Cyber Security: "Thousands of companies are using IBM analytics to help manage billions of possible cyber security threats every day. One company's network sees 23,000 events a second. Now it can know which ones to investigate." Smar [read] Keywords: ibm
IBM Invests $1B in new Watson Group
Thu, Jan 9th 2014 1:10p Adam Gartenberg IBM announced today that it is establishing the IBM Watson Group, which will receive more than $1 Billion in investment to continue developing the capabilities of Watson and to make new cognitive applications and services available. Included in the $1B figure is $100M available for venture investments in the ecosystem for cognitive applications powered by Watson. The Watson Group, which will draw from over 2,000 professionals, will have a new Silicon Alley headquarters at 51 Astor Place in [read] Keywords: ibm
What happens when Big Data meets human resources
Mon, Nov 25th 2013 10:14a Adam Gartenberg The Atlantic has a fascinating cover story (They're Watching You at Work) on the way companies are now applying analytics to the recruiting and hiring process. Think of it like Moneyball meets talent management. (And while not mentioned in the article, this is the type of work focused on by Kenexa. You can learn more about the solutions they are offering here.) Why is this going to be such a big deal? The application of predictive analytics to peopleâs careersâan emerging field [read] Keywords: atlantic
Social Business in Action: Client Testimonials
Fri, Nov 22nd 2013 8:14a Adam Gartenberg A quick look at how two companies - AMD and Bosch - are putting social business into action. An innovative technology company implements a new platform for sales enablement, providing training elements, content management and collaboration tools all in one platform. Bosch improved business processes and reduced cycle time from 40 to 6 days and implemented IBM's Social Business Platform in four months. [read] Keywords: collaboration