2018 New Year’s Resolutions – Let’s Get Started!

Posted by Kim May on January 4, 2018 under Authorized Training Partner, Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, IDAA, Oracle, TFG Blog.

As always the holidays are over too soon.  Here at The Fillmore Group we are back to work, starting the year with the usual goal setting and head scratching.  Three initiatives we worked on in 2017 showed a great deal of promise but never seemed to quite gain the traction we had hoped for.  So, unlike in prior years when I would start with a blank page, I am committing myself to pushing these three harder in 2018, as all three offer terrific options to maximize the value of an organization’s data assets.  These are:

Oracle to Db2 database migrations.  Last year IBM offered discounted Db2 licenses to current Oracle customers – and when I say “discounted” I mean practically gave them away.  Frank Fillmore and I delivered several competitive migration presentations and got lots of positive feedback from Oracle customers.  Still, we didn’t see a lot of Db2 adoption from these folks and I’m sorry – for them and us.  This is a head-scratcher, because I’m not sure where we are getting snagged, but we need to figure it out in 2018.

IDAA/IIAS/HTAP vs. “edge systems”.  Admittedly 2017 was a bit of a transition year for the IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (aka the IDAA) as IBM completely revamped the design, replacing the Netezza-bolted-to-a-mainframe with 2 Db2 BLU Acceleration-based options to deliver the Hybrid Transaction Analytic Processing (HTAP) capability.  Meanwhile in 2017 analysts were predicting that edge systems are the future – sounding frighteningly like they did in the late 1990’s when the standalone data warehouse was the next big thing.  It makes absolutely no sense to me to build out a completely new system, particularly on the periphery of an organization’s most secure system, to perform analytics when IBM has clearly demonstrated you can leave the data in place and perform both your OLTP and analytic processing in tandem.  We need to continue to educate customers to ensure they understand the overall value – reducing complexity, reducing cost, and keeping data secure.  The new BLU-based version has a new name:  IBM Integrated Analytics System – IIAS.

Supporting the Db2 eco-system.  This is such a no-brainer but one that needs constant attention, effort and input to maintain.  IBM formal classroom education offerings are minimal.  Conferences – IBM and IDUG – are changing and it’s difficult to determine which is most appropriate to attend.  Users groups (including the Balto/Washington Db2 Users Group) are struggling to provide our users with unbiased product information, education and resources.  We aren’t giving up and hope the greater Db2 community continues to work to stay active and involved within the community and within our individual organizations.  If we want to stay relevant we need to stay involved.

Happy 2018!  Off to work!

First Half 2018 Classes Posted at www/ibm.com/training

Posted by Kim May on December 14, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, BLU Acceleration, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, Global Skills Initiative, IBM DB2 Services, IDAA, pureScale, TFG Blog.

The Fillmore Group 1H 2018 Class Schedule

As an IBM Business Partner that truly believes that proper training is one of the most critical factors influencing the successful deployment and use of technology, we here at The Fillmore Group continue to evaluate the IBM Analytics courses available and to select those we feel will potentially help IBM Analytics customers succeed.  And, of course, as we believe affordable technical services are another of those critical factors influencing success, we are happy to customize classes and include them along with a fully scoped implementation or healthcheck effort.

One highlight and two classes NOT posted on the IBM website.  First, the highlight.  We’ve been told that pureScale is finally being adopted by Db2 LUW customers.  This is great news as it is great technology, featuring one of the best System z features (Parallel Sysplex) re-imagined for distributed environments.  Unfortunately, the course curriculum was written for the original version of pureScale, v10.5, and hasn’t been updated to reflect the enhancements in v11.  Nor does the course include hands-on exercises.  We have a solution:  Frank Fillmore recently delivered the class to a group of students implementing v11 and updated the materials and built hands-on exercises.

Second, two classes NOT posted on the IBM website but available in the first half of 2018:  hands-on IBM Integrated Analytics System (IIAS), the just-released upgrade to the IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) and QMF for Multi-Platforms.  We are working on curriculum for both of these classes and hope to have them scheduled for sometime early in the year – we are targeting February for the IIAS class and March for QMF.  If you are interested in either class please let me know.

It’s Q4 and the Second Opinion Clinic is Open

Posted by Kim May on November 28, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, TFG Blog.

It’s Q4 – and that means IBM software sellers are making their best deals.  As an IBM customer, you know the year end deals are the best available, right?  I hope so…but if you have any doubt and/or think getting a second opinion may help validate just how great the pricing is, please contact The Fillmore Group for a free second opinion.

And, of course, if you need help implementing the solution being proposed, or education to ensure your team is able to effectively support the new solution, we would be happy to provide a services estimate.  As an IBM Authorized Training Partner, expert consulting provider and Analytics Reseller (for both distributed/PPA software and System z), we have access to IBM customer discount levels and understand the various packaging and pricing metrics used for solution sizing and selection.

Don’t let PVU vs. TB sizing, sub-capacity and limited use licensing confuse you into spending more than you need to…click HERE to contact us for an explanation and a second opinion.  The doctor is in!

Webinar Thursday: Calling IBM Sellers with Q4 Deals!

Posted by Kim May on November 14, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, Oracle, pureScale, TFG Blog.

Sirius/XM already has the Holly channel playing Christmas music and Halloween was just a couple weeks ago. It’s way too early!  But…the clock IS ticking and there really are only 4 solid weeks left in 2017 to close some of those, “I’ll get to them later” deals.

This Thursday The Fillmore Group will deliver a webinar for IBM sellers willing to consider collaborating with a Business Partner.  We understand many sellers have heard about – or experienced – unsuccessful teaming with a partner.  Join us to overcome your fears!

In this session we will *try* to explain that not all partners are alike, and some (like The Fillmore Group) can help you close deals by extending your reach and helping with challenging technical situations (which product is the “right” one?), arcane licensing and packaging research, and using an implementation discussion to address a customer’s concerns about the cost of services and education (yes Oracle takeout opportunities, I’m talking about you!)

IBM program challenges that impact Business Partners will also be explained, so that IBM sellers understand why partners get so antsy about keeping the lines of communication wide open – and getting added to sales records.

All in 30 fast minutes.

If you are an IBM seller who would love to close an extra deal or two before year end, please join us.  If you aren’t an IBM seller, please join us for another webinar; this one is just for sellers.

The session will take place on Thursday, November 16th from 11:00am – 11:30am EST.  Register HERE.

We’re Here – Use Us!

Posted by Kim May on October 20, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, Oracle, TFG Blog.

I really enjoyed Lisbon and seeing everyone at the IDUG Conference.  More than one person commented on the turnout (excellent) and the crowd (young!)  There seems to be some new energy in the Db2 community, in part, I believe, as long-time Db2 users are accepting that in spite of IBM’s perpetual “re-invention”, the folks using their tried-and-true technologies – the ones that built up the war chest funding the re-invention – continue to deliver state-of-the-art performance and functionality.  The technology is excellent, users are lucky to work with it, and the experts who have invested their best career years in Db2 are ready to work.

So now what?  With IBM’s current “Oracle Attack” promotion customers can purchase Db2 for as little as 20% of their annual Oracle support cost.  I understand there are several Oracle customers preparing to migrate to Db2.  Does this mean Db2 will (finally) show up on one of those “most popular relational database” graphs?  I hope so!

And, along with these migrations the demand for services to support them is growing, so there are more opportunities for customers to get to know the many skilled Db2 consultants and experts available to support their adoption of Db2.

Independent consultants – like The Fillmore Group’s team – can deliver expert services to support migrations, often at a fraction of the cost of IBM’s.  Many consultants have experience delivering formal classroom training as well as services, and most are actively involved in the Db2 community and happy to introduce Db2 newbies to the local users groups and IDUG.  The consulting community has been promoting the Oracle Attack through webinars (view the replay of my webinar here) and blog posts (read Dave Beulke’s post here), and want to make sure every prospective Db2 customer has access to skilled migration services when they are ready to make the switch.

Call us!  We want to support the growth of the Db2 community, and we’re ready to work.

IBM Think Conference Call for Speakers – Closes Today!!

Posted by Kim May on September 20, 2017 under DB2 Education, IBM Think Conference, TFG Blog.

Someone on the communications team at IBM seems to have persuaded IBM Management to postpone release of any time sensitive announcements or notifications until the very last minute.  Perhaps they believe these practically immediate deadlines will create a sense of urgency, and therefore perhaps excitement.

Instead, at least in my world, it creates chaos and disrupts my schedule.   I don’t appreciate it.  Take note IBM!!  I imagine they are scrambling now.  Ha.

As most IBM customers and partners know, attendance numbers for IBM conferences tend to be hugely inflated.  100%?  Maybe…maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less.  It is understandable:  in the world of data management IBM has never been the market leader from a sales perspective – well, maybe for a while after they invented and introduced the first relational database.  Therefore, some exaggeration of the crowds attending their data-centric conferences is forgivable.

Attendance at last October’s annual Las Vegas conference was light.  Blame was placed on the hasty conference rebranding (again, take note IBM – apparently I am not the only one put off by this last minute “guerilla marketing”).  This year IBM cancelled the October conference (World of Watson/Insight/Information on Demand) and has instead decided to merge it into the annual “Interconnect” conference in March and rebrand it the “Think” conference.  Again – sigh – in Las Vegas.  Why Las Vegas?  Why it’s the only city that can accommodate the thousands of conference attendees IBM attracts.  OK, Pinocchio.

Here’s the most challenging part for actual IBM customers and partners using IBM solutions, at least those of us who would like to attend a conference with strong technical and user content:  IBM opened a tiny window for presentation submissions.  And…today is the last day.

If you are considering submitting a presentation, here’s the link to the call for presentations.  I went through the process yesterday – be prepared to submit a 1000 character bio (first) and then a 100 character title and 750 character abstract.  You will have the opportunity to add an optional extra 250 characters later.  Be pithy!

And remember:  if your presentation topic and message are positive (“How We Succeeded With XYZ”) and you are a customer, it is highly likely you will be selected to present.  If you are a Business Partner or consultant you need to be 110% positive, and beg.

Get your placeholder in asap!!

 

It’s Back to School Season – Register for a TFG Class

Posted by Kim May on September 11, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, pureScale, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

With school back in session it feels like a good time to learn something new.  Why not consider taking a class?  IBM Analytics classroom training continues to deliver value to individuals and their organizations.  The top 3 reasons to take a class (in my opinion!) are:

1. Achieve your project goals more quickly by supporting faster solution adoption and integrating new technologies into your current projects.
2. Stay on top of rapidly changing technologies; compete in the digital world by understanding how and where new tools and solutions fit best.  Avoid the “flavor of the week” solution if modifying a technology you already own will deliver the same results.
3. Provide opportunities for internal mobility.  Finding skilled technical resources has never been more difficult.  Current staff members understand their organizations.  Providing training keeps employees engaged, motivated, and moving up!

Our classes scheduled for September through December are attached.  All are available in the classroom and remotely, via distance learning.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, please contact me at kim.may@thefillmoregroup.com.

TFG-Schedule-9.2017-thru-12.2017-3

QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms – September Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group

Posted by Kim May on August 16, 2017 under Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, TFG Blog.

Frank Fillmore just finished delivering a webcast with IBM’s Steve Mink and Doug Anderson, hosted by Blanca Borden, on the just-released QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms solution.  For the many QMF for z users, this new GUI-based solution offers the opportunity to extend the use of the objects, forms, queries, etc., an organization has developed over the years.  The session was recorded and I will post the recording link as soon as it’s available to view.

For the September 13th Baltimore/Washington Db2 Users Group Frank will reprise his presentation and deliver a demo on QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms.  The meeting is being sponsored by SEGUS and will include 4 presentations – 2 from SEGUS’s Ulf Heinrich and 1 from IBM’s John Iczkovits in addition to Frank’s.  Summary session abstracts are below.   Complete abstracts, speaker bio’s and registration information will be available later this week on the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group website (www.bwdb2ug.org).  I hope you will join us if you are in the area!

Session 1:  Ulf Heinrich – Compliance with Compliments!  Viable Db2 Workload Tracking

Audit and Compliance is one of the big challenges companies are facing these days. This presentation shows how the entire DB2 workload can be tracked without the overhead of a trace, or monitor, enabling to answer Who did What When ? whenever needed.

Session 2:  Ulf Heinrich – Db2 12 Continuous Delivery

Starting with version 12  Db2 goes agile and code fixes, as well as new features and functions, will be delivered in a continuous stream, so called Continuous Delivery. While this change intends to make new technology available faster than in a three-year cycle it will also differ from how we did DB2 migration and testing before.  This presentation provides an overview about Db2 Levels and how they affect the Db2 subsystem, the
Catalog/Directory, SQL and DDL. More importantly, you will see how changes can be applied safely and what levels of quality assurance and testing can be passed to assure Continuous Delivery goes well with Continuous Availability.

Session 3:  John Iczkovits – DB2 for z/OS is in The Cloud! Using z/OSMF to Install, Migrate, and Provision DB2

These are exciting times and you may not realize it, but Db2 for z/OS is in the cloud! You may be thinking, what exactly does that mean? Many of your z/OS colleagues are already using z/OSMF for all sorts of functions. Come learn how to use z/OSMF to manage Db2 software, install, migrate, and provision data for Db2 and what the cloud means to us.

Session 4:  Frank Fillmore – QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms

In July, QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms became generally available.  Like QMF for z/OS, this solution delivers QMF’s visualization, dash boarding and graphical ad-hoc query capabilities, and enables users to leverage their existing QMF assets – queries, forms, procs from legacy QMF.  In this session Frank Fillmore will provide an overview of the features of QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms and perform a demonstration that includes new updates to QMF’s data visualization interface.

Webcast: Introducing QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms

Posted by Kim May on August 9, 2017 under DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, TFG Blog.

QMF is bringing its power and ease to the distributed platforms!

In July QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms became generally available.  This distributed platform only solution is aimed at customers that had inquired about QMF’s visualization, dashboarding and graphical ad-hoc query capabilities on non-z/OS platforms.

Join us in this webcast where Frank Fillmore will highlight how QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms is being used by one of his customers to modernize their operations.

We also will discuss in more detail the features of QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms and will conclude with a demonstration by Doug Anderson that will include the new updates to QMF’s data visualization interface.

Date: August 16th, 2017

Time: 8:00am PDT / 11:00am EDT

Register at: http://ibm.biz/QMFforMP

IBM Reinvents Partnerworld – Ravages the Partner Ecosystem

Posted by Kim May on August 2, 2017 under Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, TFG Blog.

I just received an email from IBM’s Partnerworld program notifying me that as of August 1, 2017, The Fillmore Group, after ten years as a Premier IBM Business Partner (the highest program level), is now officially a Registered Business Partner, the lowest level in the program.

We still have a team of expert consultants.  We are still authorized to deliver most IBM courses in the Analytics brand family curriculum.  We are still actively promoting, influencing and reselling IBM Analytics solutions.  I am still Chair of the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group and an IBM Champion.  Frank is still a Gold Consultant.  Several of our consultants are IBM Champions and Golds.  IBM simply won’t programmatically acknowledge that our skills have value any longer.

IBM claims to value partners with skills, but by they are lying.  The truth is the two factors determining partner level in the new Partnerworld system are software sales and customer references. 

Is it a coincidence that IBM is struggling with sales (21 straight quarters of declining revenues) and the company has historically been terrible at getting customer references?  Sadly, great technology followed by poor quality and expensive implementations and enablement support don’t add up to gushy customer success stories.

In the new program, without sales of $1,000,000 or more in a single product family a Business Partner cannot be granted a product “Competency” designation – no matter how many times they have implemented a solution, how many customers they have trained, and/or how many presentations and webinars they have delivered to help current and prospective customers understand the value of IBM’s solutions.

In the new IBM world, that’s not “competency”.

So like many of IBM’s “reinvention” efforts over the past five years, the “new” Partnerworld program is essentially the same old program, with new, onerous requirements designed to eliminate specialty partners (like The Fillmore Group) and I suppose reduce IBM’s burden of managing their partner network.

Because like who needs an extensive network of partners promoting an incredibly complex portfolio of products and solutions??  Heck, why not just funnel business to a handful of partner organizations and keep things simple.  Maybe reduce channel support headcount by 10 or 15 people.  Woohoo.  Think small.

After I received the email notifying me of our program level demotion I tried to log in to Partnerworld to review the program offerings for our new, low level.  And like so many things in today’s IBM world, the response was sad, heartbreaking and terribly frustrating – apparently they can’t keep the program website up.  Need a high availability solution???