Can We Reverse This Trend?

Posted by admin on April 24, 2015 under Authorized Training Partner, Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, Global Skills Initiative, IBM DB2 Services, IDAA, TFG Blog.

Just this week, while working to support a new customer consulting requirement, collaborating with IBM on a handful of IDAA sales opportunities, and following up on a Baltimore/Washington DB2 User Group initiative I ran into varying responses based on one similar theme:  customers are losing confidence in the long-term viability of the mainframe.

My consulting customer is looking for a skilled resources to support a DB2 for z/OS environment.  Due to the “downward pressure on rates” they want the hourly rate to be 20-25% less than they paid for a similar resource in 2012.  Of course, they tell me, they will accept someone with fewer years of experience – 3 to 5, rather than 5 to 10.  Where does one find a US citizen (a requirement) with 3 to 5 years of DB2 for z/OS experience?  With the Global Skills Initiative IBM education has dropped off dramatically.   The IBM Academic Initiative seems to have proven successful for one financial institution in the Southeast (but for no one else), and the skills shortage we’ve all been hearing about for years is being compounded by the drumbeat of Procurement teams requiring cheaper and cheaper personnel.

Our strategy sessions around IDAA prospects invariably begin with someone saying, “well, you know, XYZ Company is planning to be off the mainframe by 2017.”  Or some other year…but it’s always part of the discussion.  Apparently while people with moderate arithmetic skills can demonstrate the overall cost savings of System z, the “modernization” folks are beating us up with their messaging.  It’s tough to address the TCO challenge when the second question is, “and who will do the work?”

My local RUG agreed to sponsor college students at our meetings so that we can try to get some future graduates interested in the mainframe.  Baltimore, where I live, has many colleges and universities but thus far, in spite of my outreach, I’ve only gotten a response from one school willing to tell their students about our offer.  I can’t help but wonder if the career counselling centers haven’t been told to avoid the mainframe, too.

I am frustrated.

*Free* Hands-on IDAA Class – New England – April 27th and 28th

Posted by admin on March 19, 2015 under Data Studio, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IDAA, Mako, Netezza, TFG Blog.

Just announced!

DB2 Gold Consultant Frank Fillmore will deliver a free, hands-on IDAA class at the historic Publick House in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, on April 27th and 28th.  The complete course outline and registration information are HERE.   The Welcome Packet with travel and lodging recommendations is HERE.

Class is free, however students are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.

The IDAA is a high-performance appliance that integrates IBM Netezza and zEnterprise technologies. The solution delivers extremely fast results for complex and data-intensive DB2 queries on data warehousing, business intelligence and analytic workloads.  You can:

– Query data at high speeds-to significantly improve response times for unpredictable, complex and long-running query workloads.

– Extend the capabilities of DB2 for z/OS-to support a cost-effective analytics solution for data warehousing, business intelligence and predictive analytics.

– Lower operating costs-by reducing System z disk requirements and offloading query workloads to a high-performance platform.

Please note:  this class is being offered exclusively to IBM z Systems customers considering an IDAA purchase.  Registration is required.

I hope you will join us and learn about the IDAA!

2015 IBM Champions for Information Management

Posted by admin on March 12, 2015 under DB2 Education, IBM Champion, TFG Blog.

Congratulations to the 2015 Champions!

After work last night I stopped at the store and stood in line for about 10 minutes waiting to pay for a $4 hairband.  When it was finally my turn to checkout, at a nationwide retailer that’s been in the news for a data breach, I was asked for my zip code, email address, and asked to complete an online survey when I got home.  My frustration with the incessant collection of personal information – and the resulting Inbox clogging marketing emails, telemarketer calls and junk mail had me fuming!

Then, I got home and read the email from IBM’s wonderful Beth Flood telling me I was selected as a 2015 IBM Champion for Information Management and it got me thinking about the whole analytics, social networking and community ecosphere that’s been developing over the past ten years.  It’s immature, and often annoying, and definitely still needs work.  However, on the bright side, it has enabled individuals and organizations to make better decisions so much faster (and yes, often accurately).  We are all becoming conditioned to expect things to work faster and technology to know our preferences and anticipate our choices.

Both Frank Fillmore (another 2015 Champion – congratulations!) and I have had the opportunity to participate in this program designed to encourage and reward people in the DB2 community who share our experiences and knowledge with others – through the same social networks and tactics that we all sometimes find aggravating.  However, when things work – when, for instance, I am able to connect with a DB2 customer and assist them in finding appropriate education, or when I coordinate an event that enables DB2 users in the community to gather and learn about new solutions, it works as designed and really helps people get the information they need.

Thank you Beth, and thank you IBM for supporting the Champions program and inviting us to participate.  I will remind myself of the power of the unsubscribe button, and try to be mindful of the positive changes data accumulation and analysis bring to our lives.  I appreciate being a part of it.

IBM Recognizes The Fillmore Group for IDAA Classes at 2015 z/Bootcamp

Posted by admin on February 4, 2015 under DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Stars, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IDAA, Mako, Netezza, TFG Blog.


Frank Fillmore and IBM’s Kevin Poole were congratulated on stage at last week’s IBM z/Bootcamp where The Fillmore Group was recognized for the success of our 2014 IDAA hands-on training classes with the “New Business Hero” award.  We are looking forward to our first 2015 IDAA class February 24th and 25th in Baltimore, and excited to work with IBM z Systems customers considering IDAA acquisitions – we think it’s great!

Many thanks to our IBM colleagues – Saghi Amirsoleymani, Mike Hood, Rich Gast, Seth Steinberg and Jim Reed, who helped us share the IDAA excitement with our customers this past year.  We are looking forward to more excitement in 2015!!!

*Free* Hands-on IDAA Class Announced – Baltimore – February 24 & 25

Posted by Kim May on January 16, 2015 under Authorized Training Partner, Data Studio, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IDAA, Mako, Netezza, TFG Blog.

DB2 Gold Consultant Frank Fillmore will deliver a 2-day, hands-on IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) class at the Radisson Cross Keys in Baltimore, Maryland, on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 24th and 25th.  IBM z Systems customers considering an IDAA acquisition are invited to attend free of charge.

The class will be provide an overview of the System z + Netezza IDAA hybrid technology, along with an introduction to the many (and ever expanding) array of deployment options being used to leverage this unique, powerful, and cost-saving technology.  Originally introduced as a means to accelerate analytic queries on System z, the IDAA is now being used to address a variety of challenges, including archiving data with the option for fast retrieval, via the High Performance Storage Saver (HPSS).

With 2015’s introduction of V5, and the integration of the recently upgraded Netezza Mako line of appliances, the IDAA is a “must see” for all System z customers.

If you are interested in joining us, please review the course outline and registration.  Registration is limited to 20 students, on a first-come-first-served basis.

Please note:  Seats are reserved for current IBM z Systems customers considering an IDAA acquisition.  Attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses; The Fillmore Group’s Welcome Packet with travel recommendations will provide assistance.

I hope we will see you in Baltimore next month!

Fixed Price Private Classes – Do I Need to Add Pizza?

Posted by Kim May on January 5, 2015 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for i, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for VSE&VM, DB2 for z/OS, Global Skills Initiative, pureScale, TFG Blog.

Beginning this month The Fillmore Group will be offering fixed price private IBM Information Management training classes to customers located in the US and Canada, making it easier for customers to budget for critical IM education.  Our team recognizes the value of technical training – and we understand the challenges IBM Information Management customers are facing with the array of offerings generated by the Global Skills Initiative.  I am hoping that by offering fixed priced IM education and simplifying the pricing aspect of training procurement, customers will be encouraged to pursue training to support new and existing IM solution implementations.

The fixed prices below include IBM authorized curriculum, IBM remote eLab access, travel and lodging for the instructor, and course delivery by one of our experienced instructors.  Do I need to add pizza to get you to bite??

There IS of course some “fine print”:  1) the prices below are for IBM Information Management courses only (320 current courses are available; you can sort through them at http://tinyurl.com/IM2015courses or contact me for assistance identifying the appropriate course based on your needs), 2) courses must be delivered in the US or Canada, in English, within one mutually agreed upon, contiguous calendar week.  3) The purchasing customer must provide a training facility equipped with one computer for each student, and high-speed Internet access.

The fixed prices are:

Course Length                 1-3 Students                    4-6 Students

3 days                                  $9,900                             $11,900

4 days                                 $13,900                            $15,900

Please let me know (email me at kim.may@thefillmoregroup.com) if I can help you with any questions or private class coordination.  Thanks!

 

2015 January – June Training Schedule Finalized

Posted by Kim May on December 15, 2014 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, Big Data, BigInsights, Data Studio, DB2 Connect, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Global Skills Initiative, Hadoop, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, InfoSphere, Optim, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with IBM Global Training Partner Arrow ECS is 2015.  Our schedule is up on the IBM training website, with the specific Arrow/The Fillmore Group classes listed and available for registration at:  https://ecsedu.arrow.com/ibm/us/index.html.

If you plan on taking a class early next year, I hope you will consider attending one of our classes, delivered in Towson, Maryland, just north of Baltimore.  We have great instructors, a comfortable classroom, and Baltimore offers some the best seafood in the world.

The complete list of classes is here.  I hope to see you in 2015!

IDUG North America 2015 – Heading East to Philadelphia!

Posted by Kim May on November 21, 2014 under DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, Insight 2014, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG). Tags: .

The International DB2 Users Group (IDUG) has announced the 2015 North America Conference will be held in Philadelphia May 4-8, 2015.  As the conference has been held west of the Mississippi for the past few years, we are excited about having a “local” conference for the DB2 community in the East.

The Conference Planning Committee has begun efforts to invite DB2 users to attend.  Having just returned from the IDUG Europe Conference, and shortly before having attended Insight, the two events are quite different.  While Insight has a vast array of events and something for everyone (and a lot of everyone’s!) the IDUG Conferences are smaller, more focused on DB2, and definitely are the better events for technical networking and getting to know the DB2 community.

If you are making plans for 2015, please consider attending.  Information on the conference is available at www.idug.org.  And remember, although there is a fee to attend the conference, IDUG membership is free!

Ready, Set, Insight!

Posted by Kim May on October 24, 2014 under Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Education, IBM Champion, Insight 2014.

I am all packed and ready to head west tomorrow morning to the IBM Insight Conference in Las Vegas, along with THOUSANDS of DB2 users!  It should be an exciting week, with lots of great sessions.

I am particularly looking forward to seeing IBM’s Jim Reed to thank him for getting IBM Distinguished Engineer Haakon Roberts to come present to the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group meeting December 11th – details will be at www.bwdb2ug.org the week after next.  Jim is working closely with the IDUG Conference Planning Committee, who will host the 2015 North America IDUG Conference in Philadelphia, a short drive for our members.  Thank you!

I will miss seeing the Information Champion’s program “champion” Beth Flood, who isn’t able to join us this year.  We’ll miss you Beth!

I hope I will see you in Vegas!

Join BFF’s at Insight

Posted by Kim May on October 9, 2014 under DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, IBM Information Management Software Sales, Insight 2014, Oracle, pureScale, TFG Blog. Tags: , .

Excuse the corny wordplay – please!

IBM will again host the annual Break Free Forum (BFF) at the upcoming Insight Conference in Las Vegas (previously known as the Information on Demand Conference).  In addition to many terrific conference sessions, speakers and entertainment, the Break Free Forum is a 2-hour session dedicated to customers considering, and hopefully moving to, DB2.

Frank has been invited to participate on the panel at the Break Free Forum, which is quite an honor.  And, as Frank and I have had the pleasure to work with many of the talented IBM teams that support customers moving to DB2, we will be there with several BFF’s – including Amit Patel, Bill Kincaid and this year’s Break Free Forum host Paul Zikopoulos.

If you are planning to attend the Insight Conference and are interested in joining us at the Break Free Forum, please let me know.  I believe the session is invitation-only, but I am sure coordinator Angie Payton would be happy to send you an invitiation.