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 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!

Win Some, Lose Some – Go O’s!

Posted by Kim May on September 17, 2014 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, Frank Fillmore, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner. Tags: , .

Frank and I attended the Baltimore Orioles game last night.  With the Orioles win (8-2!) the O’s clinched the American League East.  The energy at the game was amazing!  The O’s 2014 season story highlights the importance of a shared team effort, as they overcame the loss of three All-Stars during the season, and consistent leadership, as Manager Buck Showalter calmly rolled through the season focusing on one game at a time.

Sadly for Frank and me, this is the first year we haven’t been able to share Baltimore baseball with any students attending classes at The Fillmore Group.  Unlike the Orioles and their stellar 2014 season, the Global Skills Initiative team continues to talk a good game, while delivering very little.  The losers?  IBM customers needing skills to be successful.

And, unlike baseball, there isn’t necessarily a next year for many IBM customers, as there is growing pressure on IT teams to rapidly implement and support best of breed technologies.  IBM’s products may be the best, but training is the glue needed to make them stick.

Today I am focused on being happy for the O’s and sending greetings to our former students who attended games while in Baltimore for class.  I hope we will have a chance to send you to more games in the future.

IDAA Administration Class September 16th-18th

Posted by Kim May on August 11, 2014 under Authorized Training Partner, Data Studio, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IDAA. Tags: , , .

Based on feedback received from System z customers implementing the IDAA, DB2 Gold Consultant Frank C. Fillmore, Jr., will deliver a new course, IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) Administration, beginning Tuesday, September 16, 2014, in our classroom in Towson, Maryland, just north of Baltimore.  This 3-day, hands-on course will provide an overview of the IDAA along with instruction and examples of best practices for IDAA administration.  This course is intended for System z users supporting the IDAA in production environments and covers query processing, loading data, distribution and clustering within the accelerator, and the IDAA tools ecosystem.  Click HERE for the complete course outline.

The cost of the course is $2100 per student.  Reserve a seat by contacting me, Kim May, to make payment arrangements.  Information on travel to Baltimore is available in our class Welcome Packet.  If you are a baseball fan, let me know if you would like to attend the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Toronto Blue Jays game either Tuesday the 16th or Wednesday the 17th – the O’s are hot!

IDAA Education – What Follows the “Presales” Hands-on Workshops?

Posted by Kim May on June 25, 2014 under Authorized Training Partner, Data Studio, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IDAA, TFG Blog. Tags: , , .

Frank, joined by Mike Hood and Saghi Amirsoleymani, is delivering hands-on IDAA training for a group of customers in Columbus today and tomorrow.  Again, amazingly, almost every “student” registered to attend class posted for class, interested in learning about how an IDAA may help support their mainframe workloads.  The photo above is Frank in the classroom this morning in the IBM Advanced Analytics Briefing Center in Columbus.

After delivering three similar IDAA hands-on training classes we have been able to expose and teach over 35 z/technical influencers about the IDAA.  We have also become aware of the need for implementation and post-implementation training and services, as we have learned there are many z/customers who need help getting the IDAA they’ve purchased into production.  Unfortunately there currently aren’t any IBM authorized classes or IDAA classroom training; there seems to be a pre-purchase perception that the IDAA is a “plug and play” device, which it is not.

We hope to be able to help some of the customers we’ve introduced to the IDAA with additional training and services once they purchase the IDAA.  Please check back here for the outline of our new class, “IDAA Implementation and Administration”, and an overview of two new services offerings:  IDAA Implementation Quickstart and IDAA Healthcheck.  Check back here for updates – I am working on the collateral for these offerings.  In the meantime, if you are looking for similar help, please feel free to contact me.

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IDAA Implementation and Administration Training

Posted by Kim May on June 2, 2014 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IDAA, Netezza, TFG Blog.

One of the areas of interest we identified through promoting our hands-on IDAA classes intended for customers considering IDAA purchases is the need for post-purchase implementation and administration education.  To address this need we will be adding a new 3-day class to our August schedule, “IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator Implementation and Adminsitration”.  I am targeting August 19th, 20th and 21st for the first class to be delivered in our Towson, Maryland classroom.

The cost of the class will be $2100.

Please contact me with any questions on the class, or for registration information.   As soon as I have a final outline ready I will post it here.

If you are one of the people who asked to join us for the Baltimore, NY or Columbus sessions, and are from an organization that has already purchased an IDAA, I hope you will join us.

Services – Available Help for the “tions”

Posted by Kim May on May 30, 2014 under Authorized Training Partner, Big Data, Data Studio, DB2 Connect, DB2 Education, DB2 for i, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for VSE&VM, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Federation, Frank Fillmore, Hadoop, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Pure Systems, IDAA, InfoSphere, InfoSphere Streams, MQT's, Netezza, Optim, Oracle, pureScale, Q-Replication, SQL Tuning, TFG Blog. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

I was on a call this morning with an IBM technical team to discuss our progress filling the seats in one of our upcoming free IDAA classes.  Not surprising, given the number of people on the call (and who they were!) we went a bit off topic and ended up chatting about services and what appears to be – to IBM customers and sellers at least – a shortage of skilled consultants available to help with the “tions” – replication, implementations, migrations and federation.

The Fillmore Group has skilled consultants available to support these efforts, at rates that are typically about half of those being charged by “the competition”.

If your team has a project pending, or one in process, where a skilled consultant, at a reasonable hourly rate, can get things back on track, please contact me.  We are ready to work!  A list of our IBM Information Management capabilities is attached here.