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.

 

 

 

Kim May Named #IBMChampion @IBMAnalytics for 2016

Posted by Frank Fillmore on May 5, 2016 under #IBMInsight, Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Education, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Champion, IDAA, TFG Blog. Tags: , .

My colleague, Kim May, Vice President for Business Development of The Fillmore Group, has been named an IBM Champion for 2016.  Kim’s IBM Analytics community outreach includes:

  • blogging at www.thefillmoregroup.com/blog
  • serving as a member of the board of directors of the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group
  • hosting webinars and workshops covering a variety of IBM Analytics topics such as IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) and Cloud Data Services (CDS)
  • advocating for formal training through the IBM Global Skills Initiative
  • and presenting the now-legendary TFG Monday evening soirée at IBM Insight in Las Vegas in October

Kudos to Kim for the well-deserved recognition!

A complete list of the 2016 IBM Champions for Analytics can be found here.

Looking Toward 2016 – TFG Events Schedule

Posted by Kim May on December 18, 2015 under #IBMInsight, Authorized Training Partner, Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IDAA, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

Fillmore 2016 Scheduled Marketing Events

The Fillmore Group had a terrific 2015 thanks to our great customers and terrific consulting team.  We are looking forward to an exciting 2016, with some key focus areas already “in the works” and of course plans to remain as competitive and flexible as possible so that we can continue offering top quality technical education and consulting at competitive prices, along with helpful, knowledgeable IBM Analytics software purchase assistance.

Our 2016 schedule contains some annual highlights:  IDUG (in Austin this year; should be great!), the IBM Insight Conference in October and four quarterly meetings of the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group, our local RUG.

In addition we are planning a 4-part webinar series to support customers working to keep System z thriving and growing in their organizations, another free, hands-on IDAA class, and assistance with getting a college or university in the Baltimore/Washington area to work with the IBM Academic Initiative team.

Happy Holidays!  2016 is coming up fast!!

#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!