Skipping Think

Posted by Kim May on March 7, 2018 under #IBMInsight, DB2 Education, Frank Fillmore, IBM Think Conference, Information on Demand Conference, Insight 2014, Insight 2015, TFG Blog.

Frank asked me to respond to an email from an IBM’er asking whether we will be at the Think Conference in Las Vegas. I started the reply and then decided – in the interest of efficiency – to post my response on our blog so that I can direct inquiries here. Apparently there’s a bit of pressure on to boost attendance.

After attending every IOD, Insight and World of Watson conference, Frank and I have decided to skip Think. The arc of the annual IBM data-centric conferences has in many ways paralleled the arc of The Fillmore Group over the past 10 years. I haven’t given up on achieving success in the future, but the status quo is unsettling.

Some history: when IBM announced the first Information on Demand/IOD Conference, I was fairly new to The Fillmore Group. I sold and coordinated technical training for companies in the Mid-Atlantic prior to joining TFG and was involved in the Greater Baltimore Tech Council, whose quarterly wine tastings were legendary – fun, great for business, and fabulous networking. Frank loved the idea, and we hosted our first wine tasting at the first IOD annual conference in Anaheim. At this event I was introduced to the IBM Lab Services Data Management team, who became our largest customer for the next three years.

After the first year the conference was moved to Las Vegas, where each year we have rented a suite and hosted a champagne tasting. One year we couldn’t get a large enough suite and had to put the champagne in the bathtub (see the picture below – only in Vegas!) I recall that year particularly vividly as Frank gushed afterward at the number of IBM Data Management VP’s in attendance (6 – and my guess is he can still name them!) We had a great time introducing IBM’ers to their colleagues and wow’ing our customers by introducing them to the stars of the Db2 world.

At one of the conferences Steve Mills attended our event as well as the IBM Data Champions luncheon where he gave Frank an award for our consulting team’s support of the JP Morgan Chase Oracle to Db2 migration effort. Frank is rarely speechless; on this occasion he was.

So why aren’t we looking forward to another conference?

First, we want to be where our customers are. I am the chairman of the Baltimore/Washington Db2 Users Group and I only know of one of my member organizations sending people to Think. We have a lot of Federal agency members, and they stopped attending years ago, but even the commercial customers don’t seem to be interested.

I believe the Db2 technical people, if attending any conference at all in 2018, will be at IDUG. The IDUG session abstracts explain what will be presented in a font that allows for the use of multiple words, and the topics are of interest to the audience. I understand a few will be at SHARE next week…along with most of the IBM z technical team. Who can afford 3 weeks out of the field attending conferences before the end of the first half?

Second, IBM’s often contradictory messaging regarding the role of Business Partners is particularly confusing this year. What is the value of this partnership and what do partners provide to IBM and its customers? What is IBM doing to support us in return?

In the past there was recognition for our product promotion and outreach. For these efforts, primarily related to marketing and reselling IBM software, partners like The Fillmore Group were provided with sales leads and co-marketing funding to offset event costs.

Over the past year IBM has “transformed” the Business Partner program. They claim the new program recognizes skilled partners, and claim partners will be allocated sales leads and co-marketing funding based on the achievement of technical competencies. Competencies – according to IBM – are determined by the certifications earned in a particular category, demonstrating technical skills, and reselling a minimum of one million dollars’ worth of software in each category. I giggle as I type. Our team has historically supported customers running IBM replication solutions. Has anyone paid (channeling Mike Myers’ Austin Powers as Dr. Evil) ONE MILLION DOLLARS for replication?

Meanwhile IBM is trying to transform (oh that word!) their software licensing to a cloud-based, SaaS model, and encouraging Business Partners to develop the ability to collect monthly software license fees from customers. Will the new partners ever achieve the one million dollars of sales within one Analytics sub-category and qualify as “competent”? If not, will the top partners grow IBM’s software business or simply continue to slow revenue slide along with IBM?

On the 2018 IBM Business Partner kickoff call, IBM’s General Manager for Global Business Partners listed his 5 top initiatives for 2018. One is to better support IBM’s top 300 resellers, of which The Fillmore Group is not one, and another is to attract new Business Partners.  IBM has 19,000 Business Partners. As one of the 18,700 IBM Business Partners IBM has abandoned, we plan to attend IDUG with some technical folks and customers and hope maybe someday IBM finds us of value again in the future.

 

 

 

#IBMInsight – Serge’s Q Rep Presentation – Not to be Missed!

Posted by Kim May on October 21, 2015 under #IBMInsight, Insight 2015, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

For users of Q Replication, IBM’s Serge Bourbonnais will be conducting a lab session and presentation Wednesday at next week’s Insight Conference along with IBM’s Xue Bo.  The session is titled: “IBM InfoSphere Data Replication Q Replication Performance: Troubleshooting Bottlenecks“, and is conference session #LCG-1598.

The session will be held Wednesday from 10am – 1pm Pacific time in Bayside F – 08, in the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center Level 1.

The presentation is intended for an audience of IT Strategists and Architects.

The abstract is:

IBM InfoSphere Data Replication Q Replication can replicate transactions across continental distances with sub-second latency and allow live reporting over replicated data. This session demonstrates how to determine precisely the time and cause of any replication latency exceeded occurrences, by analyzing the Q Replication monitor tables. In this lab, attendees also see how to collect the monitor information, which counters are the most important, what questions to ask next when a value is out of range, what further data to collect to quickly pinpoint bottlenecks, and how to resolve the issue.

If you are currently using Q Replication, or considering an implementation, I recommend you attend this session.  The conference link for the lab session is here.  Hope we will see you!

#IBMInsight – Champions Being Championed!

Posted by Kim May on October 13, 2015 under #IBMInsight, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, Insight 2015, TFG Blog.

I am frantically trying to get everything completed to ensure MY Insight experience is great but wanted to share…ten of IBM’s Champions for Analytics were asked to respond to questions related to technology trends and analytics.  Interesting feedback, and of course, particularly flattering for The Fillmore Group as Frank was one of the ten selected!

It’s on Tumblr…take a look!  http://ibmevents.tumblr.com/tagged/IBMChampion

See you at Insight!

Opie at #ibminsight !! Ron Howard is a Presenter

Posted by Kim May on September 25, 2015 under Insight 2015, TFG Blog.

As a kid I had a HUGE crush on Ron Howard (Opie, actually).  Today while doing some Insight planning I saw Ron Howard listed as one of the keynote presenters.  Wow – Opie!  Well, Ron Howard, who has of course gone on to do so many wonderful things, including the terrific “A Beautiful Mind” about the late genius John Nash and his struggles with schizophrenia.  I will make a point of avoiding the temptation to sleep through the morning keynote sessions, as is always a possibility when there are so many ‘can’t miss’ events at the conference, and look forward to seeing you there along with me and Opie.

Ron Howard as Opie

Insight Conference Discounts – Hurry!!!

Posted by admin on September 1, 2015 under DB2 Education, Insight 2015, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), TFG Blog. Tags: .

As everyone knows, when school starts, it’s time to begin planning for the annual IBM Insight Conference.  For those of us (like me) whose presentations were not selected there’s no free pass…just a ticking clock with the conference fee going up, up, up until it reaches the final $2,295 full price.  Yes, that’s the cost if you don’t act early and snag a discount.

The first round of discounts expired in early August, so if you haven’t registered yet, you missed the really good one, the Early Bird $700 discount.    But…my procrastinator friends…there is still a $300 discount available through September 18th.

One more thing:  before you start punching in that credit card number, check with your local users group to see if they have any passes or discounts available, and check with your friendly IBM rep to see if he or she has any education packs or discount options available.  IBM Education Packs, the coupons you buy to pay for training classes, can be applied to the conference fee.

Do your best to keep the cost down, because even if you know the conference is an invaluable part of your efforts to keep your skills current, your manager may raise an eyebrow when you give him the MasterCard commercial “Priceless!” pitch.  Cause this is all before the airfare and hotel and food and…

See ya there!

Frank Fillmore’s Insight Conference Presentation

Posted by admin on July 14, 2015 under Big Data, BigInsights, BLU Acceleration, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, Hadoop, IBM Champion, IDAA, Insight 2015, Mako, Netezza, TFG Blog. Tags: , , , , , .

Congratulations to Frank on the selection of his 2015 Insight Conference presentation!  Frank’s presentation (session #3584 for those of you already  working on your schedules) is titled, “DB2 ^ (Netezza | BLU) = Hybrid Transaction and Analytics Processing (HTAP)”.

As soon as the Insight schedule is released I will update this post with the session date and time.  Stay tuned!

In his session Frank will describe and compare the four distinct data retrieval technologies available from IBM, including two Hybrid Transaction and Analytics Processing (HTAP) platforms. Choices are good to have, but how do you choose which technology to apply to a particular business use case? Learn how these techniques differ, including their relative strengths and weaknesses.

– The traditional RDBMS, relying primarily on indexes to speed access

– The new BLU Acceleration columnar compression and memory-optimized database

– IBM PureData System for Analytics (Netezza), which deploys racks of Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) processors to parse data

– IBM InfoSphere BigInsights, the IBM distribution of Hadoop

Bio
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 Information Management 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 28 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.