Friday, April 30, 2010

UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA REDCOAT BAND plays REM

On a lighter note...As a fan of both the University of Georgia, and REM, this is a fun video - totally not related to enterprise IM, Sametime, or OCS.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

IMtegrity Connector for Legato - Transfer Sametime Chat Conversations to Legato

We have recently released our IMtegrity Connector for EMC's Legato application.  The IMtegrity Connector for Legato provides the ability to automatically move Sametime chats, captured and stored in IMtegrity, to the exjournal.nsf database where they are imported by Legato.

For customers with Sametime and EMC's Legato, IMtegrity makes an ideal Sametime chat archiving application. 

Many thanks to out joint IMtegrity and Legato customers who helped with the development, testing, and deployment.  Specific thanks to Tim Browne and Jeff Lontz

Jeff worked with us during our initial implementation and Tim Browne provided an excellent design and feature list.

Here is a brief case study on the deployment. 

A shot of the Connector's configuration :


















After the IMtegrity Connector is configured and turn on, the Lotus Sametime chat conversations are automatically moved, or copied, to exjournal.nsf

The following screen shot shows how the Legato based searching UI appears - after the Sametime conversations are migrated.  Notice how the chat conversations are now searchable - just like email:















Peyton

Friday, April 16, 2010

Build V. Buy - Be Careful What you Wish For

We develop software all day, every day, and it is generally pretty difficult.  Therefore, I'm always surprised when I encounter a potential customer in a build v. buy mode. 

On the surface, and at the white board, the build decision looks somewhat 'easy'. 

The scenario typically unfolds in the following way:

A manager has articulated a requirement.  A local developer, or team, has a few 'extra cycles' and should be able to create some specific base functionality in a few days or weeks.  I call this 'the first 80% is easy'.

It can't be that difficult, since it just involves (pick one):
  • Capturing every chat conversation on a server - it's just some C++ and Notes API code
  • Routing inbound IM conversations to an expert - ti's just some Java and Sametime API
  • Creating a reporting system to search, report, export, and manage thousands of IM conversations - it's just SQL reporting
The developer has all of the necessary skills and it doesn't involve a 'real project', bug tracking, project maintenance, QA resources, extra hardware, or any other additional tools.  Of course...it will - but that is 'downstream'. 

In my experience, it's the final 20% of any project that consumes most of the time/money/effort....and the final 5% is really, really difficult.
 
Putting on my 'manager' hat, I would ask the following types of questions:

Can you achieve?
  • A proven, solution that doesn’t degrade the performance of the Sametime, or OCS server
  • A scalable application that can handle thousands, or tens of thousands, of concurrent conversations
  • Can the features match the core features of the commercial off the shelf offerings
  • What will be done in the future when we move to a new version of Sametime/OCS (i.e. in 12 months when we move to ST 8.5 who will update, test, and rebuild the application)?
Assuming that these things can be achieved, what is the size of the project team (with time estimates) that will be required to deliver this application?  How will it be tested?  How will bugs be found, tracked, and fixed?  Who will maintain the application?  For how long will it be maintained? 

Ultimately: Why do we want to be in the business of recreating a product that is already available in the market, is already tested, and has the benefit of other customers, feedback loops, and multiple deployments?

 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Instant is now a Certified Microsoft Partner

We are happy to announce that Instant Technologies is now a certified Microsoft partner.  We recently submitted our primary OCS based application - Instant Archive Viewer for OCS - to a certfication program.  Instant Archive Viewer for Microsoft OCS passed the certification review and we are pleased to be an official partner. 

Microsoft was excellent to work with during this entire process and the benefits of becoming certified are immediate and tangible.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Video Overview of Lotus Sametime Based IM Queues

Instant Queue Manager supports both broadcast and monitored based queues.  In terms of product feedback, the ability for experts and help desk managers to monitor IM queues was one of the most requested features of our earlier Queue Manager. 

In Queue Manager V4, monitored queues are a key component of the overall application.  Here is a brief video covering the expert's perspective of the monitoring panel and the inbound queue traffic across multiple queues.  The following video displays an expert using Lotus Sametime to retrieve a customer from a help desk queue. 


Friday, April 2, 2010

Monitored Queues Make Debut in Queue Manager V4

Monitored queues are one of the major features of the latest Instant Queue Manager V4 for Lotus Sametime.  Our monitored queues provide a central point where experts (CSRs), manager, and administrators can monitor, and act on, any inbound IM queue request.  For our customers running internal help desks, IT support centers, and sales enablement centers, the ability to expose Lotus Sametime click to chat functionality is seamless and scalable.


Customers start a conversation with a monitored queue either through a web based chat client (our new Ajax based chat client is fantastic), via an Instant Interview, or by starting a conversation with a queue in their Sametime buddy list.  

However, instead of broadcasting the incoming customer request to a list of experts, the inbound queue request is managed, and exposed, using a nicely designed queue monitoring panel.
Using the queue monitoring panel, requests can be viewed, accepted by an expert using the experts Sametime client, or transferred to another queue.



Columns within the monitoring panel display the name of the inbound customer, their question, their wait time, and whether they are connected with an expert (CSR) or awaiting a connection.

A summary panel for all queue information provides administrators with summary statistics on total queue activity - including how many inbound requests are waiting for a connection, how many customers are connected with an expert, and the maximum wait time within a queue.