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.

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

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 IBM Analytics Class Schedule – First Half, 2017

Posted by Kim May on December 1, 2016 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, BLU Acceleration, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Global Skills Initiative, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

Although the Global Skills Initiative hasn’t delivered on its promise IBM continues to schedule and deliver classes with the Global Training Partners.  It’s just more difficult for customers to find classes and register…and then wait for the all-too-frequent “sorry, cancelled” call.

But, as we have been delivering IBM Authorized DB2 and data management tools classes for this long, we’re hanging in.  Why not?  Our classroom sits waiting for students and our consultants who train always look forward to delivering classes.

Our scheduled classes are in the document attached below.  These are the classes we are scheduled to deliver.  Please remember we have access to other courses and curriculum, and can deliver many more courses (along with our regularly scheduled classes) in private sessions at your location, and/or via distance learning.

Please call (443-956-0288) or email me (kim.may@thefillmoregroup.com) if I can help!

1h-2017-the-fillmore-group-classes

IBM Authorized Training – “Using Queue Replication” Starting August 23rd

Posted by Kim May on August 15, 2016 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Champion, Oracle, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

We have seats available in the “Using Queue Replication” class scheduled to run Tuesday through Friday, August 23-26.  Students may attend class in our Baltimore classroom or via distance learning.  The cost per student is $2680.  The outline and registration are on the Arrow ECS training website here.

If you are one of the many terrific IBM customers who attended Frank’s webinar a few weeks ago, I hope you will register and join us.   The IBM authorized Q Replication training class has not run publicly for 3 years.  It took several weeks to get permission to run this class – one we have delivered successfully many times in the past.  IBM wants to retire it because – surprise – it doesn’t run frequently enough.  !!   Frank will be the instructor for the class and he will include (beyond the course material) an overview of the new Oracle apply.

Please don’t miss the opportunity to take this class.  Organizations rely on replication; if you have never attended a formal Q Replication class, I hope you will consider joining us.  It’s a great product, but it is complex.  I hope I will see you there!

Q Replication: Frank’s Field Notes – Follow-ups

Posted by Kim May on July 28, 2016 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Federation, Frank Fillmore, IBM DB2 Services, Oracle, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us this morning for Frank’s presentation.  The recording and presentation files will be added in our next post.

In this post I am happy (thrilled!) to announce the Q Replication training class discussed on the webinar – the four-day, instructor-led session CE243G, “Using Queue Replication” has been posted on both the IBM and Arrow ECS websites and is therefore ready to accept registrations.  Please join us if you are interested, either in our Baltimore classroom, or via distance learning.  The class will run for four days, Tuesday – Friday, August 23-26.  Register here.

Special thanks to Megan Byrne, who helped get the class reinstated – it hasn’t run publicly for over three years – and is back on the schedule.

As a special incentive to anyone interested in attending the class in our Baltimore classroom, if you are interested in joining us for the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Washington Nationals game Tuesday night (after the first day of class), please let me know.  At The Fillmore Group we are all great O’s fans and they are, after all, in first place!

Finally, as one of today’s topics was the Oracle Native Apply now available for Q Replication, I am attaching a flyer with our Quickstart services offering to assist current Q Replication customers to transition from using Federation Server to the Oracle Native Apply.  Hope it helps!

Oracle Native Apply Quickstart 7.28.16

Thanks again for your help Megan!  Go O’s!

Megan at O's game

 

How Succeed with #IBM in 2016 – Ideas???

Posted by Kim May on June 16, 2016 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IDAA, TFG Blog.

Working for an IBM Business Partner organization is not easy and seems to be getting harder each year. Factor in IBM’s continuing (or accelerating?) decline in sales, and figuring out how to be a successful is really tough.

When I started with The Fillmore Group ten years ago the company had a great reputation for IBM data management training and consulting services. I persuaded Frank Fillmore to add software reselling to the mix assuming, as I was new and coming from the Microsoft world (essentially run by partners), that customers needing technical services and training logically needed to buy something. Also, I had this radical concept drilled into my head while working for Microsoft partners: customers prefer to buy from the organization that can help them be most successful with what they buy.

I’m glad I suggested reselling as over time our other business units’ profitability has shifted. The IBM authorized training business fell into a cycle of declining revenues blamed on post 9/11 travel fears. In 2013 IBM gave up on training and outsourced all public authorized education via the (spin of the century!) Global Skills Initiative. In the three years since the Global Skills Initiative announcement our classroom has never again been used for an IBM public training class.

Delivering consulting services as a subcontractor to IBM Lab Services was, for a long time, a true “win-win” as we provided a variable resource – great consultants – to IBM on an “as-needed” basis, while the IBM business helped support our direct customer business and growing the shared pool of highly skilled consultants. Unfortunately, a 2008 management change at IBM shifted the focus to lower skilled, lower cost resources, and moved our team to the “only call on Christmas Eve” supplier list. Over the course of four years the number of hours our consultants worked for IBM Lab Services dropped by 50% year-over-year until dwindling to less than 200 hours per year over the past 3 years.

As for reselling, ten years after I worked through the paperwork to qualify our team of technical experts to resell IBM software, I still cringe when I hear IBM sales organizations use the terms “incumbent partner” and “fulfillment partner”. This is how IBM describes Business Partner organizations whose understanding of the products they sell is so limited the only reason IBM funnels leads to them (which they do), is that they sold something to someone one time and/or they have the ability to prepare a sales quote with (one hopes) the correct part number.

On the bright side, in 2006 IBM recognized their reseller partners’ typical lack of technical expertise and created a program to try to introduce customers to partners who know more than just part numbers – by offering an incentive to the partners with technical skills outside of the actual purchase transaction.  IBM introduced another layer of compensation for selling IBM solutions, the Software Value Incentive (SVI) program, which enables Business Partners who are not being funneled leads, but who demonstrate that they actually help customers understand and justify their IBM solution purchases, to receive payment for their efforts. Not as much perhaps, as the partner who “got the lead” and became the “fulfillment partner”, but something. The SVI program process is similar in efficiency and simplicity to a NASA rocket launch, but provides enough revenue to justify the effort of engagement and selling (even when you know someone else is getting more!)

In 2014 The Fillmore Group ran a campaign for a solution IBM was struggling to sell – the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA). We love the IDAA and understand its value. We have people who can write training curriculum and present. We do lots of IBM promotion via webinars and outreach. It made sense to combine these; we built a free IDAA class and delivered it in our backyard, Baltimore. We had 18 people attend, including 3 IBM technical reps as “students”. Four of the customer organizations in the class purchased IDAA’s before year end. We didn’t sell any directly to customers as there were other IBM purchasing vehicles in place and incumbent/reseller partners. However, we were awarded SVI for our efforts and made some money.

It was like, “Magoo! You’ve done it again!”

But now, in 2016, the IBM teams are struggling. IBM has cut staff and everyone is worried their sales will continue to fall as the company tries to redirect their focus to cloud solutions. IBM sellers are less apt than ever to “risk” introducing their customers to Business Partners.  The Fillmore Group has scheduled and cancelled two IDAA classes so far this year.  The one lead we were passed by IBM was for a customer who was upset with a grossly inflated quote received from their local IBM team.

What can I do to help The Fillmore Group, my IBM colleagues, and our mutual customers be successful with our solutions in 2016?  Any ideas?  I’d love some feedback.

*FREE* IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) Hands-on Training

Posted by Kim May on April 26, 2016 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, HTAP, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IBM Smart Analytics System, IDAA, Mako, Netezza, TFG Blog.

DB2 Gold Consultant Frank Fillmore will deliver a free, hands-on IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) class at the IBM offices in Chicago at 71 South Wacker Drive on Monday and Tuesday, June 6th and 7th.  The course outline and registration link are HERE.   The Welcome Packet with travel and lodging recommendations will be sent once the registration is accepted.

Class is free, however students are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.  The Fillmore Group will provide breakfast and lunch each day to students in class.

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 offered exclusively to IBM z Systems customers considering an IDAA purchase.  Registration is required.

I hope you will join us and learn more about the IDAA! If you have any questions on the class, please feel free to contact me at kim.may@thefillmoregroup.com.

April Events – “DB2 101” Luncheon and Free Hands-on IDAA Class

Posted by Kim May on March 7, 2016 under Authorized Training Partner, BigInsights, BLU Acceleration, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, HTAP, IBM Champion, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IDAA, Mako, pureScale, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

I am excited to announce two upcoming events The Fillmore Group will deliver in April.  Stay tuned for dates and locations!

Woodberry “DB2 101” Luncheon

Join DB2 Gold Consultant Frank C. Fillmore, Jr., for a sprint through IBM Analytics’ 2016 data management solutions portfolio. From today’s hottest topics – HTAP, Hadoop and Cloud – to the specific IBM solutions behind the buzzwords, Frank will deliver an overview of how IBM has built, acquired and integrated data management solutions to enable customers to accomplish their organization’s goals. Is this, “the more things change the more they stay the same”, or an inflection point for data technology? You be the judge!

Free Hands-on IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) April Class

IBM’s 2012 announcement of the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator – the IDAA – the Netezza/mainframe hybrid, delivered IBM’s first Hybrid Transaction/Analytics Processing (HTAP) solution. Now, after 3 years and multiple enhancements, the IDAA continues to promise great things for IBM DB2, VSAM and IMS customers. According to our calculations, 90% of IBM System z customers don’t own an IDAA yet – and we think everyone should have one! Join us for this free, 2-day, hands-on, technical introduction to learn how an IDAA can benefit your System z shop.