Gone, but not forgotten

For over twelve years I have worked for an IBM Business Partner in the UK focusing on IBM Collaboration Solutions and I have loved every minute of it but it’s time to move on to a new challenge which is not within the ICS community.

Coming from Domino third level support I crossed over easily to Sametime 6.5.1 which at that time was an add on to the underlying Domino server (still true to an extent now). Sametime was my first love. It should have been easy, right? An additional installer on top of Domino and for many deployments it was and still is although not so much now with WebSphere and DB2 in the mix.

What I loved were the problems Sametime caused or should I say, problems caused when you introduced Sametime to a large user base. I wrestled for many days tuning Sametime for a large deployment of over 40,000, tracing LDAP, debugging the text files and tweaking the sametime.ini. This was a baptism of fire and I loved Sametime more for the pain it caused me. I learnt so much, much of it I still remember and often come across when deploying Sametime for customers.

In 2007 I went to Collaboration University in London as Quickr had been recently released. It was my first introduction to the ICS community. Being in the same place as dozens of others all with the same approach of making Sametime, Quickr and Domino successful was intoxicating. I had already quite a bit of experience of Sametime but it helped to be in the same place as Chris Miller, Carl Tyler, Rob Novak and Warren Elsmore to bolster that knowledge and start learning about Quickr. Quickr took off incredibly quickly being easy to implement and manage which is why it’s still being used now long after it went end of life.

In recent years Connections has been the application that seems to be more in demand so I have seen my time split between the two applications. I remember being introduced to Connections, also in 2007, at a course in Hursley which described deploying and configuring Connections 2.0. At that point there were only six applications and Bookmarks was called Dogear!

Connections is a wonderfully complex set of applications which has come a long way from the days when they were a collection of disparate applications bundled together with WAS acting as the glue. The premise to get people working together better and allow you to find information quickly so you can focus on your job. For many people like me that resonates. I get paid to work with software that allows people to work together better, to formulate relationships with one another and most importantly to share. You might argue the case that is the same of all software but that’s not true. Connections is unique to that extent.

I don’t know whether it was Connections that started my journey or whether it was already something inside of me but sharing is one of the most important aspects of my job. Connections is all about sharing. Information is put into Connections for others to consume. They have a subject of interest and Connections allows them to find a person with knowledge of that subject, to follow them, to communicate with them, to add their take on the subject.

This approach to sharing makes public all your knowledge. No more do you find that people are keeping information in their mail files or P drives, it’s all there to be found. The days when you hoarded your information to make you seem indispensable to your employer are gone. People who are actively sharing their information are now seen to be those who are indispensable.

This sharing concept is underlined by two excellent Skype chat groups for Sametime and Connections. Within these two chat rooms are people such as Gabriella Davies, Robert Farstad, Michele Buccarello, Sharon James, Christoph Stoettner, Keith Brooks, Marco Ensing, Matteo Bisi, Michael Urspringer, Nico Meisenzahl, Roberto Boccadoro, Wannes Rams, Chris Whisonant and many others I haven’t mentioned. They are busy people but they help with problems whenever they have a spare 10 minutes. They share their wisdom and experience with whomever asks regardless of the complexity of question. The underlying sharing ideology runs through all these people, through the software into the wider ICS community.

As I alluded to in the opening paragraph, I am set for a new challenge and searching for the right challenge has taken me outside of the ICS product portfolio but I am staying within the larger IBM sphere. I am joining IBM Resilient working on their security incident response platform which was bought by IBM last year. It looks like an exciting time to be joining what is a growing industry.

I am sad to leave such a wonderful community at such an exciting stage with Pink gaining traction. I strongly believe Pink and it’s underlying platform will be a success especially with the aforementioned people driving the product forward.

Whilst I will soon be gone, the years working with this software will not be forgotten and neither will the friends and colleagues I have made along the way.