How HCL Connections Opens Up Opportunities by Breaking Down Silos

17. Mai 2021 Posted by Adam Gartenberg

From its inception, the HCL Connections collaboration suite was built around the central premise of openness and discoverability.  This was specifically done to ensure that content and expertise needed to collaborate effectively with other team members is easily discoverable. Information silos, on the other hand, disrupt and slow down collaboration. Eighty percent of companies in a recent survey reported a moderate to high degree of information silos within the organizations. Silos impede employee efficiency and can negatively impact both the top line and the bottom line of a company’s financials. 

Information silos separate employees and information 

What causes information silos?  Overlapping and disparate applications that don’t talk to each other or are only used in specific parts of an organization. Disconnected and dispersed content leads to document duplication, version control difficulty, and productivity loss as employees needlessly search for crucial information across multiple content repositories. These unintentional boundaries can have a profound impact on employee productivity, engagement and the ability to solve problems.

Breaking down information silos 

Our most recent software release bridges the silo gap by bringing the benefits of Connections to the Microsoft Ecosystem, adding information-sharing capabilities to both Connections and Microsoft. Inside Connections, you can now start a conversation via Microsoft Teams Chat with any of your Connections contacts from their business card, profile page, or the Important to Me bar.  You can also immediately share and start a conversation around any page in Connections by clicking the Teams icon that you’ll find on that page.

You can bring your SharePoint libraries into your Connections Communities, and users can round-trip edit their files in Office with changes automatically saved right back into Connections files – no need to upload an updated file each time.

Inside the Microsoft applications, you have one-click access to your Connections community applications — files, wikis, forums, activity feed, etc. — right inside your Teams chats and channels.  You can also insert files or any recent content from Connections into your conversations simply by clicking on the Connections icon in the chat bar.

And lastly, we’ve introduced a brand-new Outlook add-in that lets you seamlessly shift content back and forth between Outlook and Connections, such as moving file attachments into or out of Connections or looking up details on meeting recipients from their profiles.  These enhancements work on all Outlook clients — Windows, Mac, web, and mobile.

Tear down walls

Removing internal boundaries and information silos should be a priority given the tangible impact on improving employee productivity. Making work more seamless with built-in integration will not only improve productivity, but it will also amplify team communication and decision velocity. Productivity gains include reduced toggling between Connections and Microsoft applications by up to 50%. You can also share content with team members five times faster while at the same time reducing unnecessary searches. Add to this the 1-click collaboration with cross-functional team members capability, and it’s easy to understand the real benefits of integration. Integrating the value of your Connections people-powered communities and content into your Microsoft tools will leverage the best of Connections and Microsoft.

To see our integration capabilities in action, check out the video replay of our recent webinar.

Frequently asked questions about our integrations 

Q: Are the integrations you have shown today directly available after upgrading to v7? Or are they still under development? 

A: All of the integrations shown today between Connections and Teams, SharePoint, Outlook and Office are available today. 

Q: Is there any integration between Activities and Outlook? 

A: Yes, you can save an email or an attachment to an activity (e.g. as a To-Do) 

Q: What about integration to other HCL products? Connection to Domino, Connections to Sametime, etc.? 

A: Enhanced integration with the latest version of HCL Sametime is coming soon, and we will continue to update integrations with Domino and other parts of our portfolio.

Q: How are employees authenticated between Connections and Teams? Via Microsoft Active Directory? Or Domino LDAP or both? 

A: Single sign-on is accomplished by setting up a trust relationship between the Connections server and Microsoft Azure using the WebSphere OpenID Connect Relying Party Trust Association Interceptor (OIDC Relying Party TAI).   Check out additional details here.

Q: Do you have any best practice documents for where there is overlap in functionality between Connections and Microsoft 365 (e.g., managing files)? 

A: Our recommendation would be to consolidate files in one place to make them all searchable and discoverable.  Storing them all in Connections Files ensures they are accessible and discoverable all in one place. Integrating from there into Teams means you still have a single file store while making them accessible when collaborating in Teams.

Q: Teams Channel and Connections Communities seemed to be similar and can also lead to duplicate content? Any reason we should use one over the other? 

A: There are a lot of capabilities and benefits that a Connections Community offers that Teams doesn’t provide.  Communities enable structure and organization to a team or project, allowing you to use the right tool for the right job (e.g., wiki vs. forum vs. file share, etc.), and is open and discoverable across the organization.

Q: What type of the Teams tab do you use to integrate with Connections? Is it just a Web tab or some custom application? 

A: Once the integration is deployed, you’ll find Connections as an option along with all the other Teams apps when you go to the Add Apps component in Teams.  From there, it will walk you through selecting the community and the specific app within that community.

Q: Do you have a documentation how to deploy the Connections integration into a Teams? 

A: Further details on deploying this integration are here

Why Connections Communities Are Critical for Project Teams Success

30. März 2021 Posted by Adam Gartenberg

Project teams are a critical component of getting work done, and their productivity is key for success. Since collaboration and communication are so important, how do you know if your current toolset tools support your needs?

Eliminate roadblocks

One of the biggest roadblocks to close collaboration is the lack of a fundamental framework that makes collaboration easier. In other words, collaboration is not just a personal skill, it’s a result of structure and tools that support content sharing, ideation, and interaction between team members. If you add virtual project teams into the mix, the challenges of effective collaboration are even more pronounced. 

HCL Connections solves this dilemma by enabling organizational teams and project teams to create “Communities” to support a collaborative work experience. So, what is a Connections Community? It’s a flexible, digital workspace where people come together to communicate, collaborate, share information and expertise, and solve problems. Communities enable information flow and sharing across the entire collaborative ecosystem.

Make success repeatable

Connections Communities make collaboration an integral part of the work experience by organizing your productivity tools, apps, content and tasks all in one place. Virtually everything you need, focused on a particular project or important activity, is at your fingertips. Whether you need to view the status of assigned tasks or edit a shared document, your Connections Community provides the tools to get the job done efficiently.

Connections also includes a setup wizard to simplify the creation of new Communities. Use our built-in, professionally designed templates or reuse proven and engaging templates built upon your own best practices. Creating a new community and getting a new project team up-and-running has never been faster or easier.

Be more productive

One of the biggest productivity losses for project teams is searching for information. Information is typically disconnected from projects and tasks, and therefore hard to find. Studies consistently demonstrate that employees spend needless hours each week searching for crucial data and information. Communities address this inefficiency by providing a content repository for all project documents. No need to search across multiple applications to find missing information — everything is together in one place. Knowledge is presented and shared within an organized approach so everyone on the team can access it more readily.

Locating specific expertise or another team member, with a specific skill or knowledge to help solve a problem, is another benefit of a Community. Team members, with specific expertise, can be easily identified, speeding up problem-solving.

Increase transparency

Solving complex business problems takes efficient and organized teamwork and communication. Communities create a natural collaboration channel for team members to increase transparency and visibility of project timelines, dependencies and roadblocks, typically resulting in accelerated problem-solving. Communities also help facilitate communication across time zones and multiple geographies to make it easier to connect with remote team members. Problems are more difficult to solve if they are not visible — and Connections provides the framework to keep everyone informed, focused and on the same page.

Strengthen the power of your teams

Today’s workforce is more digital and automation-savvy than ever. At the same time, business expectations, needs and demands are evolving at lightning speeds. Connections Communities meet these challenges head-on by providing the needed framework to support the modern digital workspace. Communities are one of the most important basic components to help increase productivity, accountability and drive team results.

HCL Connections v7 Software Preview Now Live

10. September 2020 Posted by Adam Gartenberg

We know you’re anxious to get your hands on the new Connections software release due out later this year. We are excited to share that our hosted Connections v7 preview site is now live.

Sign up now and you’ll be able to try out pre-release software for our new tailored experience Community features, integration with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, and more. You will also have a chance to provide feedback to the development team and get your questions answered.

Our new capabilities featured in the Connections v7 preview include:

Delivering a tailored Community experience

  • Reusable templates to get teams up and running faster.
  • Improved Community layout options for a more customized experience.
  • Simplified Community creation to save time getting started.

Enhanced Microsoft ecosystem support

  • Link Microsoft Teams and your Communities for a more seamless experience.
  • Access SharePoint files/folders without leaving your Connections application.

Easily print Connections content or save as a PDF file

Don’t miss your opportunity to test drive our new functionality in this software release preview. And remember to provide your feedback to us.  Our customers are an integral part of our product evolution, and your feedback is invaluable to our continued commitment of delivering the best collaborative solution in the market.

Register Now for the Connections v7 preview:  https://hclsw.co/cxn-7-pre

The post HCL Connections v7 Software Preview Now Live appeared first on HCL SW Blogs.

Deliver Your Projects on Time with Kudos Activities Plus and HCL Connections

21. Juli 2020 Posted by Adam Gartenberg

There are many reasons you should be planning an upgrade to the latest version of HCL Connections, since it drives greater adoption and creates a more engaged workforce within your organization. One of the key new features in Connections 6.5 is the integration at no charge of Kudos Activities Plus, a rapid, agile project management capability that gives your teams a way to reach their goals faster.  

The redesigned Activities features in Connections 6.5 provide an intuitive, user-friendly interface and a lightweight project management tool that helps people align resources, tools, and knowledge to get work done. Assigning tasks and due dates are core to making sure projects get done on time and within budget. Kudos Activities Plus lets Connections customers manage tasks and projects on both mobile and desktop devices. 

Any HCL Connections user can now easily and quickly organize tasks, teamwork, projects, and schedules directly from within their Connections environment. This new capability is free when you install the Connections 6.5 Component Pack.   

Activities Plus is also fully integrated with Microsoft 365 (Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, Outlook) for users who want to combine the benefits of both Connections and Microsoft 365 — Kudos Activities Plus is accessible from within both environments. This advanced integration enables adding Activities to Microsoft Teams, sharing them via email, and adding files to OneDrive and directly to SharePoint as a Site Page as part of your SharePoint workspace.   

Find out more here, and schedule a demo here.  

The post Deliver Your Projects on Time with Kudos Activities Plus and HCL Connections appeared first on HCL SW Blogs.

How to Create and Keep an Engaged Workforce

1. Juli 2020 Posted by Adam Gartenberg

Making sure your teams are inspired and engaged in their work can be challenging — and with more teams working remotely around the world, this matters more than ever. A recent Gallup study1 indicated that only a third of employees are truly engaged in their work. Gallup went on to say that organizations with higher engagement levels are not only more productive, they achieve four times higher earnings per share growth.

One of the reasons employees become disengaged is because they’re unable to find what they need to do their jobs — or because of a lack of information in general. It’s been estimated that employees can spend up to eight hours a week searching for information they require for their role (this means that 20% of the time, or one full day a week, work isn’t actually getting done!). HCL Connections has communication hubs to deliver relevant information more quickly and efficiently. Communities help connect people to the experts they need to get more work done.

Not knowing where a file is, who sent it or how, and which version is the latest one also means that teams can waste crucial hours and weeks trying to find what it is they need just to do their job. The shared document repository that Connections is built on maintains one instance of the file — a single version of the truth. This means that the exact same version of the file is available in both your personal folder and in all the communities it has been shared to. Anyone accessing the file, no matter which community they are in, will always see the latest version.

Fundamental to an organization’s success is creating a positive and productive work environment and culture. Employees who interact frequently with their teammates are more likely to share insights, willingly contribute to projects and take a more proactive approach to problem-solving. Creating a team- and people-centric culture is central to success. Connections has an onboarding wizard, which helps make sure new hires understand where to find expertise and where they fit in with their teams. Connections also makes it easy to organize around common team goals and activities, especially for projects like new product launches, global marketing campaigns or HR corporate communications. It offers a user-customized Connections homepage delivering relevant information straight to your desktop. Additionally, Connections includes a project coordination template, via Kudos Activities Plus, to manage projects and tasks. This keeps everyone on the same page, updated and focused.

HCL Connections provides a people-centric digital workplace that allows organizations to focus on what really matters: your people and your successful business outcomes. Creating an engaged workforce is the first step to that success.

Gallup Study, “Employee Engagement on the Rise in the US,” August 26, 2018. Link: https://news.gallup.com/poll/241649/employee-engagement-rise.aspx

The post How to Create and Keep an Engaged Workforce appeared first on HCL SW Blogs.

Did You Know How HCL Connections Helps Teams Stay — Literally — on the Same Page?

16. April 2020 Posted by Adam Gartenberg

One of the most common pain points at every single organization is not being able to find a file or project when you need to. Did someone email it to you or was it sent to you in an HCL Sametime message? Or maybe someone uploaded it to Microsoft Teams? Was it saved to a shared fileserver but you just can’t remember which directory? Then, when you find what you were looking for, it can get more confusing. Is this the latest version… and who do I even ask to find out? Should I email that person, message that person? Look through all the versions and try and figure it out myself? All of this can be not just frustrating, but also colossal waste of time. And, making matters worse, what if you’re on deadline, or someone is out of the office? What if it’s urgent?  

HCL Connections helps solve this omnipresent problem in multiple ways. The shared document repository that Connections is built on maintains one instance of the file. This means that the exact same version of the file is available in both your personal folder and in all the communities it has been shared toAnyone accessing the file, no matter which community they are in, will always see the latest version. In addition, multiple team members can make contributions and edits simultaneously using HCL Connections Docs’ collaborative editing capabilitytransforming and speeding up the way we work while maintaining the “single version of the truth.” 

Because the way we work is becoming increasingly decentralized — and especially now, with the reality of a pandemic changing the way we work on a global scale — being productive, regardless of work location, is a necessity. When you need to access a document, HCL Connections is where you find the “single version of truth” repository. One document, accessible from anywhere. Never worry whether or not you have the latest version ever again.

The post Did You Know How HCL Connections Helps Teams Stay — Literally — on the Same Page? appeared first on HCL SW Blogs.