Congratulations Double Champion Frank!

Posted by Kim May on March 5, 2018 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Stars, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, TFG Blog.

Frank’s on a roll – he recently received notification his US Secret clearance was approved and learned this morning he’s been named an IBM Champion in a second category – IBM System Z – making him a “Double Champion” in both System Z and IBM Analytics.  And he recently earned his Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect certification so he can help Db2 for LUW users deploy on the Amazon cloud when, you know, management tells them they must.

Frank is juggling a couple current projects and managing The Fillmore Group’s consultants.  If you are in need of IBM System Z and/or Analytics education, consulting, staff augmentation or purchasing assistance he would be happy to chat with you about how our team can help.  And don’t forget to congratulate him – he is one of four consultants recognized by IBM for the “Double Champion” status!

The Fillmore Group’s capabilities statement listing all the areas where we can help is attached.  Take a look – and to Frank say,

CHEERS!!!!

The Fillmore Group Capabilities Statement 2018

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 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…!!

 

Webinar: Oracle Renewal Looming? Consider DB2!

Posted by Kim May on March 13, 2017 under BLU Acceleration, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, HTAP, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, Oracle, pureScale, TFG Blog.

The Fillmore Group is inviting organizations frustrated with rising Oracle costs to join us for a webinar focusing on the two primary motivations behind DB2 migrations: cost and functionality. Session attendees will perform a self-analysis to compare similar version license costs, and gain an understanding of the technical features included in DB2 for on-premise use – BLU, pureScale, and the Data Partitioning Feature – as well as a brief overview of cloud deployment and SaaS options.

Date:   Thursday, April 6th

Time:  11:00am – 12:00pm EDT

The session also includes an overview of the migration process, as anyone considering a move needs to understand the time and effort involved.

Sound boring? It won’t be! The session will be delivered by IBM Champions Frank Fillmore and Kim May. Frank has participated in IBM’s annual “Break Free Forum” and Kim has worked with several Oracle customers exploring migrations to DB2. We understand this is a complicated comparison but will do our best to make the session entertaining without including too much Oracle bashing. But maybe a bit.

Registration is required to attend. Register HERE.

Thank you Governor Hogan!

Posted by Kim May on February 9, 2017 under DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IDAA, Mako, Netezza, TFG Blog.

When I started working for The Fillmore Group over ten years ago, the world of DB2 was far different.  The State of Maryland had probably over a dozen IBM mainframes running state government agencies.  We occasionally delivered training and support, but often struggled with the procurement processes, as we weren’t an approved vendor.

As I learned, the master vendor list for IT vendors to the State of Maryland adds new vendors only once every 8 to 10 years, as the qualification process (we are talking government here!) is onerous and terribly time consuming for all involved.  So I waited and finally this past year it was time again for open enrollment.  The qualification process WAS onerous and time consuming and required the assistance of Maryland Governor Hogan’s office to make the insurance requirements attainable for small businesses like The Fillmore Group.

Many thanks Governor Hogan!  Today The Fillmore Group received the fully executed contract to deliver IT services to the State of Maryland.   There aren’t as many mainframes as there were ten years ago and efforts have been underway to consolidate their workloads, but we can help.  I think a private cloud running System z with a couple shared IDAA’s would be cost effective, efficient, and modern.  Can’t wait to get started!

Webinar: DB2 Server for VSE&VM: Modernization Roadmap

Posted by Kim May on November 10, 2016 under DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for VSE&VM, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Stars, Frank Fillmore, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, TFG Blog.

If you are one of the remaining DB2 Server for VSE&VM customers you are invited to join us for a free webinar Thursday, December 1st.

DB2 Server for VSE&VM:  Modernization Options

Date and Time: Thursday, December 1, 2017, 11:00am – 12:00pm EST

Register HERE

Abstract
As an organization running DB2 Server for VSE&VM you probably knew it was time to modernize when – five years ago? Maybe ten? But it ran fine and the applications do what you need them to do, so it wasn’t a priority.

Unfortunately, nowadays skilled resources are getting harder to find and the technology is out of date. It’s not going to get easier to change.

It’s time to get started on the path to a modern database. Join us for a free webinar where DB2 Gold Consultant Frank C. Fillmore, Jr., will explain how organizations running legacy VM and VSE applications can protect their investment in custom business applications, while expanding their database technical capabilities with DB2 for z/Linux.

Takeaways:

  • Technical advantages of DB2 for z/Linux
  • Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA) access to DB2 for z/Linux from VSE and VM applications:
    • CICS
    • z/VSE batch
    • z/VM
  • Simplify mid-tier applications currently using DB2 Connect
  • Exploiting Hipersockets
  • VSE VSAM Redirector eBusiness Connector
  • Software cost savings (amazing!!)
  • Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL)

About the Presenter

DB2 Gold Consultant Frank Fillmore has been working with IBM z Systems customers throughout his 30 year career in Information Technology. Frank manages a team of consultants at The Fillmore Group who deliver expert DB2 technical services, staff augmentation, and IBM authorized education.  Frank is also an IBM Champion.

IBM Q Replication: Frank’s Field Notes, Summer ‘16

Posted by Kim May on June 21, 2016 under DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IDAA, InfoSphere, Netezza, Oracle, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

Please join us Thursday, July 28th, from 11am-12pm EDT for a free webinar with an update on IBM’s Q Replication.

Having worked with Q Replication customers since 2006, DB2 Gold Consultant and IBM Champion Frank Fillmore has collected useful tips and techniques for Q Replication implementation and administration. Join Frank as he shares his notes and thoughts on the topics below and delivers a mid-2016 checkpoint on the evolving IBM InfoSphere Data Replication (IIDR) product development roadmap.

In this session Frank will cover the topics below.  Please register for the session here.

  1. Cold Start a Q Replication topology.
    1. When and why would you need to consider a Cold Start.
    2. What are the steps?
  2. Oracle Native Q Apply – replication directly to an Oracle database (including RAC and Exadata).
    1. Comparison to Federated Apply.
    2. Co-existence and migration.
  3. Tooling – what tool do I use when?
    1. Q Replication Dashboard.
    2. ASNMON.
    3. Replication Center.
    4. ASNCLP.
  4. ASNCONSUMER – used to replicate to PureData System for Analytics (Netezza).
  5. Pricing models.

About Frank Fillmore:

DB2 Gold Consultant and IBM Champion Frank C. Fillmore, Jr. is the Founder and President of The Fillmore Group, Inc., a Premier IBM Business Partner that specializes in IBM Analytics software sales, consulting, and training.  Frank has been providing IBM database-oriented solutions to government, industry, and not-for-profit enterprises as varied as The World Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, Northrop Grumman, and the FBI for over 29 years.  Frank’s current practice centers on Hybrid Transaction and Analytic Processing (HTAP) and Oracle to DB2 migrations as well as information governance and integration.  Frank kayaks and cheers for the Baltimore Orioles.