Saturday, August 19, 2017

All Good Things Must Come to an End and the New Hope and Direction

MWLUG 2017 was our most successful MWLUG conference we have ever had. With over 232 registered and a small number of cancellations, MWLUG 2017 was the most attended and largest conference. We had over 60 sessions, workshops and round tables with speakers from all over the United States and Europe. Over a third of the sessions were non-IBM specific and included sessions covering new topics like MongoDB and GDPR.

In tuned with our theme this year, Moving Collaboration Forward, our goal was to expand our conference this year forward towards a new direction and not just cover the usual. The world of collaboration is changing. No longer does a solution stand by itself nor does a solution just involve components from a single vendor. Companies need to chose the best of breed and integrate solutions together. Sometimes it involves solutions from many vendors. This is a direction that IBM is moving towards with Cisco and Box. At the same time we see customers moving away from the IBM stack towards competitive solutions or augmenting their IBM solutions with competitive solutions. We can not live with our head in the sand.

One of the frustrating parts of this years conference was trying to cover the many directions that IBM is going. As a small conference it is difficult to have the resources to effectively cover all the areas. Regardless, a vase majority of this year's attendees and always have been from the Domino space which has gotten smaller and smaller caused by the lack of clear direction and support for this product. This leads to the question what should we cover in the future. Should it be even more general and we evolve MWLUG to become a conference about many types of collaboration? Collaboration is not email and social communities. Collaboration as we have shown this year involves machines, processes and people. 

At the same time we heard from IBM that our favorite collaboration platform Domino may be a renewed area of focus. As we all know, many of us have been extremely frustrated over the past 5 years regarding the future of Domino.There is New Hope. 

So should we be more focused? In either case, we have decided that being a LUG conference is not appropriate and also confusing.Therefore, MWLUG 2017 was the last MWLUG conference. It has had a great run of nine years, but time has come to end MWLUG and consider starting something new. 

However, I see the same high quality sessions in the future that we all have come to expect, with great and wonderful community support from IBM Business Partners, IBM Customers, and IBM and of course BEER !!! 

Therefore, we would like to announce that MWLUG is now CollabSphere.  

CollabSphere 2018 will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan in late July early August 2018 and our local host will be Ray Bylik. So expect good and new technologies, people, and beer for next year.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Highlights of MWLUG 2017

This year the MWLUG conference was held at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, VA. The theme for MWLUG 2017 was "Moving Collaboration Forward."  There are numerous changes to the IBM Collaboration landscape and we wanted to cover these changes, but at the same time augment our normal ICS specific sessions with sessions focused on the greater landscape of collaboration. We had sessions on non-ICS specific topics like MongoDB, IoT, and Sharepoint.

MWLUG 2017 this year comprised of 60 sessions, workshops, and round tables. We had 232 registered attendees with 211 showing up making this the largest conference we had ever had. The conference covered IBM Bluemix, IBM Cloud, IBM Connections, IBM Notes/Domino, IBM Verse, Watson Workspace, IBM/Cisco Collaboration and Connections Pink.

The IBM Domino Application development round tables were most enlightening and dynamic to put it.

Our two Platinum sponsors, panagenda and Red Pill Now both had free workshops for the attendees.  panagenda's workshop cover ApplicationInsights and Red Pill Now's workshop covered UI/UX Design.

Our social event was at the New District Brewing Company in Arlington, VA. If you left early, you would have misses one of the highlights of MWLUG 2017, the wager between Justin Hill of Prominic and Darren Duke of Simplified Technology Solutions. This wager helped raise almost $300.00 for our Community Outreach Program. The beneficiary this year was Hands on DC which help schools in the DC area. We raised a total of $1740.00 for this charity.

Thanks to our local organizer, Dave Navarre, we were fortunate to have Gale Garriott as our OSG Guest Speaker. Gale was Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery for 15 months. Gale was followed by Ed Brill and Warp Speed Sponsoring something that we borrowed from Theo and Engage.

This year attendees drank a staggering 59 gallons of coffee, 2 kegs of craft beer from two local breweries, over 300 pints of beer at the New District Brewing company, dried out the tap (of good beer)  at the bar at the Hilton Mark Center twice.

It was great a conference and seeing everyone in person again. As our community seems to be changing and this might been the last time we would see some of them in person.

Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers and sponsors for making MWLUG 2017 possible. It is a community event and it is our community that keeps this going.

MWLUG 2017 sponsors



Unfortunately, this is the last of MWLUG conference. Next year there will be a new name that better reflects on how we see the industry going. The format will be different but the people will hopefully be the same and more.  So for this new and tenth collaboration user group conference we are heading back to the Midwest region of the United States in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  So hopefully we will see you next year in Ann Arbor !!!





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Phora Group Announces iPhora® integration with DocuSign

Posted August 9, 2017 By Louise Burton - Communication

Phora Group, a DocuSign Partner is pleased to announce that its iPhora application platform now integrates directly with DocuSign, the leading cloud-based provider of electronic signature services with over 200 million users in 188 countries. With the integration of DocuSign, complex document workflows and business processes requiring electronic signatures can be instantly signed, anywhere in the world, using a process that is secure and legally binding. The new integration with DocuSign utilizes iPhora Async, a secure, asynchronous, event-driven, add-on to iPhora Foundation.  iPhora Foundation's ability to manage and strictly control access to documents - or parts of documents - enables businesses to confidently sign critical and time-sensitive forms.

Phora Group will be demonstrating this new DocuSign integration capability with iPhora Foundation at the MWLUG 2017 conference, booth #8 at Alexandria, VA , August 8-10, 2017.


About DocuSign
DocuSign® is changing how business gets done by empowering more than 300,000 companies and 200 million users in 188 countries to sign, send and manage documents anytime, anywhere, on any device, with confidence.

DocuSign replaces printing, faxing, scanning and overnighting documents with the easiest, fastest, most trusted way to make every approval and decision digital.

Organizations of all sizes and industries are accelerating contracts, approvals and workflows with DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform and eSignature solution. DocuSign keeps life and business moving forward.


About Phora Group
Phora Group is a provider of secure business solutions for small to enterprise organizations.

Your company data and processes are critical to the operation of your business. Whether your organization is looking to share sensitive and proprietary information among your staff and partners or seeking to automate complex business processes, Phora Group's solutions are designed to provide your organization with a highly secure, flexible, and scalable business platform.

Our iPhora family of products and services incorporates easy to use interfaces, along with administrator administrator-friendly installation and management. iPhora solutions are designed to harmonize with your existing business operations and can be delivered as either a hosted/cloud, on-premises, or hybrid solution.

With iPhora's scalable BPM technology, extensive API, and integration tools, your solution can securely interact with third-party services and have them become an integral part of your business processes.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Phora Group Announces iPhora® Async

Posted August 4, 2017 - By Louise Burton - Communication

Phora Group is pleased to announce iPhora Async, a secure, asynchronous, event-driven add-on to iPhora Foundation, Phora Group's primary application platform for collaboration and business process management (BPM). iPhora Async allows organizations to integrate external cloud-based services into their core business processes in a secure and controlled environment. iPhora Async extends Phora Group's commitment to providing highly secure solutions combined with efficient and innovative user interface design.

About Phora Group
Phora Group is a provider of secure business solutions for small to enterprise organizations.

Your company data and processes are critical to the operation of your business. Whether your organization is looking to share sensitive and proprietary information among your staff and partners or seeking to automate complex business processes, Phora Group's solutions are designed to provide your organization with a highly secure, flexible, and scalable business platform.

Our iPhora family of products and services incorporates easy to use interfaces, along with administrator administrator-friendly installation and management. iPhora solutions are designed to harmonize with your existing business operations and can be delivered as either a hosted/cloud, on-premises, or hybrid solution.

With iPhora's scalable BPM technology, extensive API, and integration tools, your solution can securely interact with third-party services and have them become an integral part of your business processes.

Learn More

MWLUG 2017 - Announcing MWLUG Community Outreach Program Beneficiary

As members of the IT community, we are also an important part of our local community. Through the MWLUG 2017 Community Outreach Program, we are raising money for organizations that help the local community. Each year we identify an organization in which our contribution would have the greatest impact on the local community of the host city.

Thanks to the generosity of the Hilton Mark Center, we will be raffling off a weekend stay at the Hilton Mark Center as the grand prize. Please take the opportunity to help the local community. Each raffle ticket is $10 and you can buy them at the registration desk starting Tuesday afternoon. We will announce the winners during lunch on Thursday.

Over the years we have raised over $12,000 for a number of local food banks, the Salvation Army, and Swan Song. We are pleased to announce the MWLUG 2017 Community Outreach Beneficiary is Hands on DC, a non-profit organization that organizes projects to improve the physical condition of Washington, DC public schools.




Hands on DC is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that organizes projects to improve the physical condition of Washington, DC public schools. We also raise funds to support local college scholarship programs and encourage greater community involvement in the public schools. Hands on DC is volunteer-founded and volunteer-led; we have no paid staff. Instead, two main bodies undertake the group's work:

The Executive Committee focuses on planning, developing, and executing the year-round events and the annual work-a-thon. To accomplish that task, the group works in committees responsible for volunteer recruitment, community outreach, public relations, fundraising and sponsorship development, information technology, special events, and coordination of school projects. Please click here for a list of Executive Committee members.

Hands on DC's governing body, the Board of Directors, provides long-term stability and policy guidance by focusing on strategic issues and organizational relationships. The Board is composed of previous event directors and other selected individuals with a long history of participation in Hands on DC. The Hands on DC Co-Directors and the Treasurer are also ex officio Board members and form the link between the Board and the Executive Committee.

MWLUG 2017 Transportation from Airport and Parking

If you are traveling to the Reagan International Airport  to the Hilton Mark Center remember there is a free shuttle.  Here is the shuttle schedule:
National Airport/Pentagon City Mall & Metro
The Hilton Alexandria Mark Center offers a complimentary shuttle service 7 days a week from 6:00 am. to 10:30 pm. The vans depart from the front of the Hotel on the hour and half hour, arrive at Pentagon City Mall/Metro (blue and yellow line) at approximately 10 minutes and 40 minutes after the hourand continue on to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Our last pick up at Pentagon City at approximately 10:40 pm. The van arrives at the airport at approximately 20 minutes and 50 minutes after the hour. We pick up at Terminal A, Terminal B door 5 and Terminal C door 9. Our last pick up at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is at approximately 10:50 pm.

King Street King Street Metro Station
The Hilton Alexandria Mark Center offers complimentary shuttle service to King Street in Old Town Alexandria 5 days a week from 3:15 pm. until 9:15 pm. The van departs from the front of the Hotel at 15 minutes past the hour. We pick up at the shelter at the King Street Metro Taxi Stand. Our last pick up is at approximately 9:30 pm.Arrival times are approximate and are affected by traffic levels.
Daily Parking at the Hilton Mark Center for MWLUG Attendees
Parking for MWLUG attendees is $14/day. If you are staying at the hotel and driving in, the discount will be applied to your hotel bill. If you are not staying at the hotel, you will be given a discount voucher and can get them at the registration desk.