A New Connections Release: More Mobile than Ever

26. März 2020 Posted by Danielle Baptiste

We continue our rolling release cycle for HCL Connections, with our seventh release in the past two years. We are excited to announce that as of March 26, 2020, Connections 6.5 CR 1 is available for download. Many of our improvements are a direct result of customer feedback — we continue to focus on engaging user experiences, user adoption, and making sure it’s easier to integrate Connections into the applications you use every day. The first thing you’ll notice is a new logo and theme color in the Connections mobile client —  we are excited to be fully embedded within the HCL product family with our new look and feel. We also have more mobile advancements, as well as additional new features and fixes.

Email and calendaring improvements
As the first phase in our broader integration strategy, your email and calendar are now in the Connections navigation bar so you can stay focused on your work while keeping up to date on your mail, meetings, and notifications.

Enhanced transfer of file ownership
We are listening to your pain points, and as of this release, users are now able to select multiple files and transfer ownership of all of them at the same time.

New mobile app improvements
The latest Connections mobile app features enhancements that bring more of the desktop strengths to your mobile device — including restoring deleted files and transferring file ownership. We have more mobile support for Android and iOS, and users will notice updates to the the app icon and user interface.

Languages support
All of the tier 1, 2 and 3 languages previously available with Connections 6.0 are now available in Connections 6.5 CR1.

Technical optimization
The latest release of the Connections Component Pack includes upgrades in Elasticsearch, Node.js, and Kubernetes.

We are investing in HCL Connections because we are invested in you and your success. We deeply appreciate all our customers who have helped guide our constant development.  Plan your upgrade now to Connections 6.5 CR1 to take advantage of these new features and be sure to update your mobile app with the latest version.

Download from the iOS app store here.
Download from the Android app store here.
Download from flexnet here.

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A Q&A about Moving ahead with Connections Cloud: Practical Next Steps

27. Februar 2020 Posted by Danielle Baptiste

We announced in July 2019 that users of Connections Cloud would have 12 months to move off the existing service to a new environment. July 16, 2020, is coming quickly and we are working diligently with our approved Cloud Hosting providers (CH-MSPs) to ensure you are ready to migrate to your new service.

We held a webinar on February 27, discussing the data migration process specific to Connections, how to get started, and all you need to know. You can watch the playback here.  We had a lot of great questions asked during this session. We have answered them here, below, to further prepare you.

Now is the time to sign your contract with your new HCL Approved cloud hosting provider, and get your data migration scheduled. If you are not moving to a CH-MSP, please make alternative plans leveraging the Connections APIs to capture your data.

     **No data will be accessible on the existing cloud service after July 15, 2020**

Q: I am moving to a CH-MSP. How will my data be migrated?
A: Via a direct database extraction performed by cloud operations, keeping your private information secure. Please see the playback for more details on this process and why this is the fastest, simplest, most cost-effective and secure way to move your data.

Q: Will I have any downtime while my data is migrated?
A: No. Please see the playback for more details. Our plan is built so your users can keep working now and pick up right where they left off in their new environment with minimal disruption and no downtime.

Q: I am moving to a CH-MSP. Can I move my Connections data now?
A: Not yet, but please contact HCL Support now to start scheduling your migration. As promised, at the end of March, we will release to the hosting providers the necessary code for Connections v6.5 CR1, already fully tested in their environments. A couple of weeks later, the import scripts will be completed that they require to migrate customer data in. We estimate customers can start being moved out of the existing Connections cloud to the CH-MSPs sometime in mid-April 2020.

Q: How large is my environment?
A: If you are a Connections cloud ADMIN, contact HCL support via the Support Portal to find out the size of your environment and plan for your migration. The support team will provide you with detailed sizing information and this would be helpful to share with your CH-MSP for planning purposes. Not moving to a CH-MSP, this data can also be valuable if you are moving on-prem, to a private cloud, or even a third party.

Q: Will the URL for access to my Connections environment change?
A: Yes. A new URL will be provided by the CH-MSP of your choice. It will be important to inform your users of this change in advance.

Q: DB2 data will be transferred to a DB2 on AWS or another database?
A: The data is a combination of DB2 data and encrypted files that will be sent to a secure AWS/ S3 location and then imported into the new Connections cloud (DB2). We are exporting the DB2 data, moving the export files to AWS where the MSPs will securely download and import the data into the new DB2 database.

Q: Which authentication will be provided?
A: Authentication is configured by each CH-MSP and should be discussed with the hosting provider you select.

Q: How will user profiles be created? Do we need to use TDI?
A: If you move to the CH-MSP, there will be no TDI necessary. In the future changes will be done as per CH-MSP processes.

Q: OAuth will be available for authentication?
A: Yes.

Q: My customer is a large deployment. Will it be necessary to create multiple servers, or will elastic features will be used?
A: For anyone moving from the existing cloud service to a Cloud Hosting provider there is no need to do any infrastructure planning or server configuration. Connections is a multi-tenant public cloud environment, fully tested and configured by your Cloud Hosting provider. Our goal is to require as little customer intervention as possible, so you and your customers, are up and running with little/no friction. Partners are encouraged to work with the CH-MSPs and they are ready to work with you through this process.

Q: Verse use Connections Docs from Connections to preview attachments. Will this be supported in the CH-MSP cloud environment?
A: Yes.

Q: Which version of Connections is on the cloud today?
A: The current version of Connections is v6 CR3, as no feature upgrades have been made on the cloud since before the announcement. Upon moving to a CH-MSP, you will get the latest and greatest software — v. 6.5 CR1 — and continue to have your environment upgraded to the latest software versions.

Q: I have a Connections customer who is currently working on-premises. Can they be moved to the cloud?
A: Yes. A customer can move from on-prem to either a private cloud hosted by a customer or a partner, or the multi-tenant (MT) Connections cloud offering provided by each of our CH-MSPs. There is currently no scripts or tools provided by HCL to complete that migration and you should check with the CH-MSP to plan for this. Some additional work may be required depending upon the version they are currently using.

Q: Will survey migration be supported?
A: Survey migration is not planned. If you have specific concerns, please feel free to contact HCL support for more details.

Q: Will content and accounts for guest users be migrated?
A: Migration to the CH-MSP will include the data associated with your “guest” or external users. Customers may be required to get permission from their guests to continue to enable those accounts in a new environment for data privacy reasons. More information to follow on that topic.

Q: Will the Sametime meetings service be available?
A: Initially, customers will have access to Connections Sametime v11 Chat which is included in the price of Connections. By the end of June, the team will be launching the new HCL Sametime Meeting service with Sametime v11. This offering will become available by all CH-MSPs at that time, integrated into the Connections MT Cloud service.

Q: Is the subject of this communication regarding mail and Connections?
A: The focus of this webinar is on Connections, although many of our customers are using both mail and Connections on Cloud. The migration for mail is to a private cloud via replication, and for Connections via a database export script to a new instance of a multi-tenant cloud. Last December there was a webinar for mail. Please feel free to check out the latest blog regarding mail migration here.

Q: How do I learn more about the APIs available for data extraction if I am not using the extractions script for the CH-MSP?
A: Anyone moving on-prem, to a private cloud, or a third-party, can contact HCL Support for the documentation. Support can provide an NSF or PDF. We are also actively working on posting the documentation online.

Q: Can any of the Cloud Admins move the existing CNX Cloud to read-only? Or is it a specific account?
A: When the request is made to HCL support to start the data extraction a request should be made to enable the Connections Customizer for the organization. The Customizer is required to make your environment read-only. Please find the necessary administrator guidelines here to make your environment “read-only.”

Q: Is there any roadmap for mail customers on S1?
A: There is no roadmap specific to S1. This is a legacy term referring to the bundle of Mail, Connections, and Sametime to name a few. We have tons of great new innovation teed up for our customers across the portfolio. To learn more about the latest roadmaps please refer to the HCL Digital Solutions YouTube channel and our Blog site or visit us at an upcoming User Group to learn more.

Q: Are there any Cloud Hosting Providers in LATAM?
A: Our current cloud customers are being served via data centers in the US and there is a Cloud Hosting provider available there. We are currently seeking viable candidates to be a CH-MSP in LATAM as we know that regional benefit would be helpful. If you know a partner who meets our stringent standards for experience with the platform and hosting customers, please have them contact us. We’d be very happy to speak with them about the program.

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HCL Connections 6.5: What You Need to Know

1. November 2019 Posted by Danielle Baptiste

At Collabsphere in Boston, October 28–30, 2019, those of you who attended the Connections strategy session learned what we have planned through the end of this year and heading into 2020. For those of you who couldn’t join us, here is what we shared about the upcoming Connections 6.5 release. To add, we are excited to give Connections the attention and investment it deserves and make this journey with you.

Just three months after joining HCL, we launched Connections CR6. And with the upcoming launch of Connections Release 6.5 this quarter, our first major release at HCL, our momentum is strong. We’ve been listening to you through the #LetsConnect design thinking jams, the ideas lab, through email, via social channels, and at events, and we’re rolling out new features to drive engagement and adoption. Furthermore, these new features are a direct result of your feedback. HCL Connections 6.5 is our lowest TCO version ever. It includes:

Sidebar: An always-on slide-out dashboard, which gives your users access to Connections from anywhere in your IT environment, a lifeline to your network. Employees spend 2.5 hours every day, searching for the information and expertise needed to do their jobs. Put a different way; if you hired 5 employees, only 4 would be doing actual work. Certainly, Connections Sidebar will help change this.

Touchpoint: A simple, onboarding wizard quickly connecting your new employees to the network and content they need to get started. 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding. Connections Touchpoint simplifies new employee onboarding while helping you increase adoption for your Connections deployment.

Activities Plus: Connections now includes Activities Plus by Kudos to give lightweight activity and task management software to every employee. Any user can far easily and automatically organize tasks, teamwork, projects, and timelines directly from within their Connections environment. Above all it’s included for free when you install the Connections 6.5 Component Pack.

Elasticsearch: Connections now standardizes on Elasticsearch, reducing the server and administrator overhead required to maintain multiple search infrastructures.

Connections Customizer Lite: Connections 6.0 introduced the ability to easily personalize your Connections environment without the need to reproduce customizations when upgrading from version to version, furthermore, greatly reducing sunk costs and overall time spent personalizing deployments. Connections 6.5 introduces a Customizer Lite option that will let you deploy Customizer in a high availability environment with much less overhead – Kubernetes, Mongo and Redis are no longer required.

We hope you’ll take advantage of all the new features that will be made available to you in Connections 6.5.

Go to YouTube to see how-to and technical videos, and follow us on Twitter.

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