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???

 

 

Tealeaf Fatigue

Posted by Kim May on July 10, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Information Management Software Sales, TFG Blog.

I have been reviewing our first half of 2017 and trying to get a handle on where our DB2 world is headed in the second half of this confusing year.  Frankly, I’m baffled!  While the year started on a positive note with IBM’s acknowledgement that they needed to re-engage and support their existing DB2 customers, and the positive trend continued with the announcement of the super-aggressive DB2 pricing available via the Oracle Attack, I still find that at mid-year the good outcomes I expected are failing to materialize.  How come?

In my opinion, one reason is a result of IBM’s “re-invention” of their Business Partner program.  As a long-time IBM Business Partner, our team invests an incredible amount of time and energy maintaining our “Premier Partner” status, primarily through certifications that validate our skills.  When IBM rolled out the new partner program in 2017 their messaging indicated a new focus on highly-skilled, knowledgeable partners.  Unfortunately, in reality, the program modifications boiled down to two new criteria:  1) customer references and 2) meeting high volume IBM software sales targets.  To IBM, these make perfect sense: IBM struggles to get customer references, and with rolling sales staff reductions, IBM needs to beef up their sales partners.

However, the “Give it to Mikey, he’ll eat anything” approach may not be working.  Partners like The Fillmore Group are being marginalized (“Skills?  Who needs ’em?”) by the program, while high volume partners (like HP, oh, oops, not any more) are being funneled territories, “uncovered” customers and leads.

In my opinion, the fallout is likely to be similar to the Global Skills Initiative, IBM’s education program “re-invention” from a few years ago that resulted in far fewer DB2 classes and fewer available training options as the program created a layer of 5 large, competing training partners who function independently and whose lack of coordination splintered the IBM training business.

Is this what IBM is – unintentionally/intentionally? – planning for their partner community?  I don’t know, but it’s unsettling.  One bright note:  the new partner levels were scheduled to go into effect June 30th, but have been pushed back to the end of July.  Perhaps sanity prevails??

My final head scratcher is the annual IOD/Insight/World of Watson/no, not this year conference.  I received an email this morning about the LearnQuest-sponsored Analytics conference scheduled for New Orleans in October.  I’ve also heard about a DB2 Conference being planned for Boston in – October, as well.  On one hand I think any conference and opportunity to network is good.  On the other hand, I am wondering if the conflict is quietly announcing the final split between DB2 for z/OS and DB2 for LUW.

Or I suppose that should be (another brilliant re-invention), Db2 for z/OS and Db2 for LUW…!!

 

The Fillmore Group – Another Migration Success!

Posted by Kim May on June 12, 2017 under DB2 Education, DB2 for VSE&VM, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, TFG Blog.

I am pleased to report a team of four consultants from The Fillmore Group, a team with over 100 years of combined DB2 experience, recently completed a successful migration of the courts system database at Lake County, Illinois.

The migration was spurred by an all-too-familiar challenge:  retirement announcements by three long-time, key technical personnel and a recognized need to modernize their database to enable potential use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) application software.

The entire project, including new DB2 for z/Linux (LUW) DBA training, re-integration of several archived databases and migration of the customer’s extensive library of QMF reports, was estimated at 18 months and completed in 9.  Under Frank Fillmore’s direction, the team utilized resources as needed:  part-time and full-time, remote and at the customer site.  The production cutover Memorial Day weekend went smoothly.

Lake County’s court system database is now running DB2 V11.1 on an Integrated Facility for z/Linux (IFL) on their IBM z Systems BC12.  Their DB2 software license costs were under $10K.  Most importantly, they are now prepared to begin evaluating application modernization options.

Congratulations to Suresh, Roger, Jim and Frank.

If your team is looking for migration support, please contact me.  These DB2 experts like to keep busy!

IBM Announces Extended Support for DB2 for LUW V9.7 and 10.1

Posted by Kim May on May 10, 2017 under DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, IBM DB2 Services, TFG Blog.

I’ve been pondering what this announcement means all day…is IBM trying to become the most altruistic database software vendor?  They are offering amazing software license discounts to customers moving workloads from Oracle to DB2 for LUW, and today announced a new extended support option for customers unable to meet the September 30th End of Support (EOS) date for both DB2 V9.7 and V10.1.  Typically IBM pushes customers to migrate before the EOS date as it helps to keep the majority of customers being supported on a limited number of software versions.  As everyone supporting software knows, simpler is better.

On the flipside though, I’ve been wondering if this announcement is a veiled advertisement for a new, for-fee offering from IBM to generate services income?  Yes, I can be as suspicious as anyone!

If you find yourself in need of extended support and discover IBM is asking for a substantial fee and would like a second price option on support, please shoot me an email.  We’ve offered DB2 customers similar support in the past, and we’ve also completed several migrations from V9.7 and V10.1 to V11.1 and can help you get to V11.1 before September 30th if that’s the best option of all.

Information on the IBM announcement and contact for obtaining a quote for the extended support is HERE.   My contact info is HERE.  Your call!