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Benefits of SmartCloud: The Network Effect

Benefits of SmartCloud: The Network Effect

By Rob Kirkland

An interesting aspect of IBM SmartCloud for Social Business is that all organizations that participate in it belong to a single directory. That fact has some useful implications. In particular it means that, if they want to, SmartCloud users can interact, within SmartCloud, with other SmartCloud users outside their own organization. Here’s an example of what I mean:

My organization, RockTeam, is an IBM Business Partner providing software and hardware services for a number of IBM customers. Years ago RockTeam migrated our mail to SmartCloud, and later we subscribed to SmartCloud Connections, Meetings, and Docs in order to maximally leverage SmartCloud’s benefits. My own role at Rockteam is to personally help my customers install, configure, and maintain a variety of IBM’s server products. I also help my customers to join SmartCloud themselves and to find the best ways to maximize its benefits for their organizations. SmartCloud can strengthen these relationships.

A nice thing about using SmartCloud for mail is that Sametime Instant Messaging is included with it. What’s really nice about that is that, not only can you chat with the other SmartCloud mail users in your own organization, but you can also chat with any other SmartCloud mail user in any other organization. For me that provides two benefits:

  1. I can chat up IBM experts when I need to.
  2. My customers can chat me up when they need to.

How does that work? Well, when you join SmartCloud, your default state is that all users in your organization are visible to each other but invisible to SmartCloud users outside your organization. But you can choose to make some or all of your users visible to outside SmartCloud users. Those users can then network with outside SmartCloud users who have done the same thing – and (among other things) chat with them in Sametime.

I don’t know how many IBMers are on SmartCloud, but all the ones I work with seem to be on it and to have made themselves available to me by publicizing their SmartCloud profiles. And because I am in the business of helping organizations to migrate into SmartCloud, it just make sense that I should also publicize my own profile so that they can to chat me up when they need me.

Here is how you do it:

  1. A SmartCloud administrator either makes selected user profiles public or gives all users the option of making their own profiles public.
    1. If the administrator makes a user public, the user doesn’t have to do anything else.
    2. If the administrator gave a user the option of going public, the user must then choose to go public.
  2. That user can then search SmartCloud for other public users and invite them into his/her network. When the other user accepts, the two can add each other to their Sametime contact lists, see when the other is online, and chat each other up when both are online.

If you are your organization’s SmartCloud Administrator, you have to do the following:

  1. Log into IBM SmartCloud.
  2. Select Admin, Manage Organization.
  3. Select IBM SmartCloud Directory Options.
  4. Click Change.
  5. Select one of the options:
    1. User choice: Allow your users to decide whether or not they should be listed in the Directory. This makes them searchable to users outside of your organization.
    2. All Private: Prevent your organization’s users from being found by users external to your organization. This is the default setting.
    3. All Private with Exceptions: Specify which of your organization’s user are listed in the Directory.
  6. If you choose the third option, the next part is a little confusing. There’s a checkbox labelled “Only allow the users currently listed in Exceptions to be displayed in the Directory. Any users previously selected as exceptions are removed from the Directory.” You can check the box if you want to remove users previously added to the exception list. But if all you want to do is add users, don’t check the box; just add users to the list.
  7. Click “Request Policy Change”.

The important difference between options 1 and 3 above is who makes the choice:

  • With option 1, the user has the option of making his/her profile public.
  • With option 3, the administrator chooses to make “exception” users’ profiles public.

If you are a SmartCloud user, you can then do the following:

  • If the administrator chose option 1, User Choice, the user has to opt in as follows:
    1. Select one’s profile picture (upper right), then My Profile.
    2. Click Edit My Profile.
    3. Under IBM SmartCloud Directory Search, select “Yes, I want my name, job title, picture and organization name to be searchable in IBM SmartCloud.”
    4. Make any other desired profile changes, then click “Save Changes”.
  • If the administrator chose option 3, All Private with Exceptions, and added the user as an exception, the user doesn’t have to do anything except, perhaps, make edits to his/her now-publicly viewable profile. (Actually, the whole profile is still only visible to internal users. Outsiders can at this point only see one’s name, job title, and company name.)

And now that a user’s profile is public, some new features become available:

  • Any SmartCloud user can search for the user’s name and SmartCloud will return the user’s name, job title, and company name.
  • Any SmartCloud user whose own profile is public can invite another public user to join one’s network.

If one public user invites another public user to join his/her network and the invitee accepts, then a number of other benefits accrue, notably:

  • Each can see the other’s full profile.
  • Each can see what other network contacts both have in common.
  • Each can see what communities both belong to, and can invite the other to join communities that the one belongs to.
  • Each can add the other to his/her Sametime contact list, see the other’s presence icon in the contact list, and chat the other up when the other also shows as present.
  • Each can share files with the other and see a list of files the other has shared with him/her or made visible to his/her organization.
  • Each can participate in activities with the other.
  • Each can invite the other to meetings.
  • Each can sever the network relationship at any time.

It’s true that some of these benefits are available between SmartCloud users and non-users. But others, such as Sametime chatting, are only available within one’s own organization or between networked SmartCloud users. As a SmartCloud user who receives services from and provides services to other SmartCloud users, I like this feature a lot.

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