During our last Social Connections event in Stockholm we introduced a new activity: all attendees were asked express their opinion regarding various features of IBM Connections.
The goal was simple – to aggregate independent feedback on the product by a defined group of people (we considered Social Connections VII attendees to be a well-defined group of experts and keen users).
The setup was also simple: there was a wall with well-known icons and a large number of post-it notes!
The idea behind this setup was to stimulate discussion and idea generation among the attendees in a natural, structured and convenient way with instant visibility. Although everyone could use the ideation blog at the IBM Greenhouse, only few of us have enough time to read through hundreds of post. So post-it notes worked better for our purpose!
We collected 111 color-coded notes, most of them (95) requesting new features. Here is what we learned:
- The most discussed module was Files. It indicates that most collaboration scenarios are still file-centric and thus a file sharing functions are crucial to any ESN.
- In second place there were Communities, Activities, Mobile and Search.
- The least commented were Forums (they seem to be almost perfect ), Bookmarks (ehm, does anybody take them seriously?) and Blogs.
- On multiple occasions people also asked for features already present in 5.0 or 4.5.x so it either means that they run on older versions (not so likely) or (most likely) that they are not aware on few functions or they can not find them easily.
Let as look at the most compelling comments for each modules:
- Multiple request for better search, search of all content and better support of multi-language content
- Support for mentions
- Ability to edit wiki
- Better activities (IBM should be already working on this)
- Ability to upload new version of files (not just share new file)
- User-performed customization of the app (i.e. to turn off unnecessary features)
- More powerful filtering of activity stream (drill down by topics and people?)
- Make it easier to follow certain topics
- Ability to see what I like or liked
- Ability to see what I follow or followed
- Ability to promote external user to internal and vice versa
- Profile completeness indicator
- Easier 3rd party integration for profile data (without TDI?)
- Integration of network and e-mail contacts (with Notes?)
- Multiple comments on inconsistencies between community vs. personal files and folders (and libraries) + UX makeover to make it simple (KISS)
- Make a file shareable with external users afterwards, share a file outside Connections
- Convert Docs file back to Office format
- Tag other’s files (even if I am not in editor role) to find them easily later by tags that make sense to me
- Support more actions with multiple selected files (add tags, description, mark for sync)
- Edit file description during upload/sharing
- Enhance file viewer (more file formats, better display of office files with complex formating)
- Ability to tag communities where I am not an owner
- Suggest similar communities during creation(discourage users to create very similar communities)
- Make surveys available out of box
- Make community available for external users afterwards
- Personalization of community landing page (persistent display state of widgets?)
- Multiple requests of UX improvements or makeover
- Demand for better overview of tasks (new views, filtering etc.)
- Multiple comments on missing features in Connections Cloud
- Multiple requests of integration between Connections tasks and Notes tasks
- Better skin in browser (mobile apps are much more cute after recent remake)
- Better ideation blogs management
- Support for mentions
- Type-ahead for everything (oh yes!!!!)
- Search does not work well on Android
- Multiple general requests for better wikis
- Support for permalinks
- Import/export features (PDF, rtf)
- Ability to like and comment bookmarks (why is this still missing?)
- One consistent UI across all modules
- Backup & restore of single content
- Better support of 3rd party integration (i.e. XPages)
- Ability to pin favorite content (are browse it later)
- Ability to indicate security status of every piece of content (confidential, secret, under NDA….)
- Multiple complains on cloud integration
Not all of the notes were easy to understand and some of them were really hard to read However, the overall impression was unambiguous so we can draw this conclusion:
- In general, Connections users demand new or enhanced features across all the modules. There is no single point of pain in the products.
- Many users demanded more intuitive and consistent UX across all the modules, web or mobile, on-prem and cloud. With the recent stress on design thinking in ICS, can we hope for early improvements?
- Those who switch between cloud and on-prem complain about missing features which is a bit of surprise when compared to IBM’s stated cloud-first strategy.
- IBM should focus the most on enhancements of Files, Activities, Wikis, Search and mobile experience.
Thank you all for your input and sharing your awesome ideas. To keep this post reasonably short, we can not mention every single post-it note. But don’t worry, we shared all submitted ideas in full details with Luis Benitez who promised to bring them to the development teams. Stay tuned for the next releases!