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.

The Fillmore Group – Another Migration Success!

Posted by Kim May on June 12, 2017 under DB2 Education, DB2 for VSE&VM, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, TFG Blog.

I am pleased to report a team of four consultants from The Fillmore Group, a team with over 100 years of combined DB2 experience, recently completed a successful migration of the courts system database at Lake County, Illinois.

The migration was spurred by an all-too-familiar challenge:  retirement announcements by three long-time, key technical personnel and a recognized need to modernize their database to enable potential use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) application software.

The entire project, including new DB2 for z/Linux (LUW) DBA training, re-integration of several archived databases and migration of the customer’s extensive library of QMF reports, was estimated at 18 months and completed in 9.  Under Frank Fillmore’s direction, the team utilized resources as needed:  part-time and full-time, remote and at the customer site.  The production cutover Memorial Day weekend went smoothly.

Lake County’s court system database is now running DB2 V11.1 on an Integrated Facility for z/Linux (IFL) on their IBM z Systems BC12.  Their DB2 software license costs were under $10K.  Most importantly, they are now prepared to begin evaluating application modernization options.

Congratulations to Suresh, Roger, Jim and Frank.

If your team is looking for migration support, please contact me.  These DB2 experts like to keep busy!

IBM Announces Extended Support for DB2 for LUW V9.7 and 10.1

Posted by Kim May on May 10, 2017 under DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, IBM DB2 Services, TFG Blog.

I’ve been pondering what this announcement means all day…is IBM trying to become the most altruistic database software vendor?  They are offering amazing software license discounts to customers moving workloads from Oracle to DB2 for LUW, and today announced a new extended support option for customers unable to meet the September 30th End of Support (EOS) date for both DB2 V9.7 and V10.1.  Typically IBM pushes customers to migrate before the EOS date as it helps to keep the majority of customers being supported on a limited number of software versions.  As everyone supporting software knows, simpler is better.

On the flipside though, I’ve been wondering if this announcement is a veiled advertisement for a new, for-fee offering from IBM to generate services income?  Yes, I can be as suspicious as anyone!

If you find yourself in need of extended support and discover IBM is asking for a substantial fee and would like a second price option on support, please shoot me an email.  We’ve offered DB2 customers similar support in the past, and we’ve also completed several migrations from V9.7 and V10.1 to V11.1 and can help you get to V11.1 before September 30th if that’s the best option of all.

Information on the IBM announcement and contact for obtaining a quote for the extended support is HERE.   My contact info is HERE.  Your call!

Oracle Renewal Looming? Consider DB2! @IBMAnalytics

Posted by Frank Fillmore on April 6, 2017 under BLU Acceleration, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 Migrations, HTAP, IBM DB2 Services, MQT's, Oracle, pureScale. Tags: .

Thanks to Kim May for a fabulous job stepping customers and IBMers through the rewards and challenges of converting Oracle databases to DB2.  The recording of the webinar is found here.  The presentation materials: Oracle Customers Consider DB2 4.5.17

Finally, The Fillmore Group’s White Paper on Oracle to DB2 migrations: SmarterQuestions White Paper – Oracle to DB2 Migration Lessons Learned – Final

Please reach out to Kim or me if you have any questions.

Webinar: Oracle Renewal Looming? Consider DB2!

Posted by Kim May on March 13, 2017 under BLU Acceleration, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, HTAP, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, Oracle, pureScale, TFG Blog.

The Fillmore Group is inviting organizations frustrated with rising Oracle costs to join us for a webinar focusing on the two primary motivations behind DB2 migrations: cost and functionality. Session attendees will perform a self-analysis to compare similar version license costs, and gain an understanding of the technical features included in DB2 for on-premise use – BLU, pureScale, and the Data Partitioning Feature – as well as a brief overview of cloud deployment and SaaS options.

Date:   Thursday, April 6th

Time:  11:00am – 12:00pm EDT

The session also includes an overview of the migration process, as anyone considering a move needs to understand the time and effort involved.

Sound boring? It won’t be! The session will be delivered by IBM Champions Frank Fillmore and Kim May. Frank has participated in IBM’s annual “Break Free Forum” and Kim has worked with several Oracle customers exploring migrations to DB2. We understand this is a complicated comparison but will do our best to make the session entertaining without including too much Oracle bashing. But maybe a bit.

Registration is required to attend. Register HERE.

Thank you Governor Hogan!

Posted by Kim May on February 9, 2017 under DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IDAA, Mako, Netezza, TFG Blog.

When I started working for The Fillmore Group over ten years ago, the world of DB2 was far different.  The State of Maryland had probably over a dozen IBM mainframes running state government agencies.  We occasionally delivered training and support, but often struggled with the procurement processes, as we weren’t an approved vendor.

As I learned, the master vendor list for IT vendors to the State of Maryland adds new vendors only once every 8 to 10 years, as the qualification process (we are talking government here!) is onerous and terribly time consuming for all involved.  So I waited and finally this past year it was time again for open enrollment.  The qualification process WAS onerous and time consuming and required the assistance of Maryland Governor Hogan’s office to make the insurance requirements attainable for small businesses like The Fillmore Group.

Many thanks Governor Hogan!  Today The Fillmore Group received the fully executed contract to deliver IT services to the State of Maryland.   There aren’t as many mainframes as there were ten years ago and efforts have been underway to consolidate their workloads, but we can help.  I think a private cloud running System z with a couple shared IDAA’s would be cost effective, efficient, and modern.  Can’t wait to get started!

It was 30 years ago today… The Fillmore Group “Founder’s Day” @ffillmorejr @KimMayTFG #IBMAnalytics #IBMz

Posted by Frank Fillmore on January 13, 2017 under DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for VSE&VM, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Federation, HTAP, IBM Champion, IDAA, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), Q-Replication. Tags: , .

On Tuesday, January 13, 1987 I sat in the kitchen of my 11 foot wide rowhouse in the Highlandtown section of Baltimore and typed out on a manual typewriter the Articles of Incorporation for The Fillmore Group.  My son, Nathaniel, was five weeks old.

Some back-of-the-envelope metrics across the past 30 years:

  • approximately 300 clients
  • about 60 consultants have helped train these customers and implement their IBM Analytics software
  • As a consultant, instructor, and/or presenter at technical conferences I have traveled to approximately 20 countries.  Prague is my favorite foreign city; I’ve been there three times and look forward to returning.

I have had two consultants, Ray and Jim, tell me that working for The Fillmore Group “has changed [their] life”.  In the beginning it was a common occurrence that an employment verification form from a mortgage underwriter would arrive shortly after a consultant started with TFG.  I know of several consultants that purchased their first home while working with us.

My favorite work environment was The World Bank.  The cosmopolitan atmosphere – working with colleagues from all over the planet – was delightful.  I helped implement a telephone billing system there using SQL/DS.

My most satisfying project was the Oracle to DB2 migration at JP Morgan Chase.  It was a tough, demanding environment with a timeline that was half of the 18 months originally estimated.  But we got it done with the help of Jim, Joe G., Joe L., John, Rebecca, and Teresa.  The customer had an equally talented, hard-working team.  Our contribution to that project was recognized by IBM SVP Steve Mills at the Insight conference that year.

As a small business owner, my favorite question from an IBMer (Scott): “Since the deadline can’t change, if money were no object what would you do?”  The answer: supply five more consultants to the project.  It was completed on time – if not under budget.

As a technician, my favorite question from an IBMer (Hunter) in the parking lot after a detailed technical presentation to a customer involving replication and federation tools: “We can do that, right?”  The answer: yes we can.  It resulted in a massive data warehouse at a large federal government healthcare agency.

I have had the privilege to learn from and share friendships with some of IBM’s original developers of relational database technology including Pat, Curt, Don and Don, and Hamid.  For IBM’s Hybrid Transaction/Analytic Platform (HTAP) implementations of today I rely on Paul, Tim, Gary, Namik, Knut, Patric, and Udo among many, many others.

I also cherish the friendships I have formed with other DB2 Gold Consultants like David, Ted, Bonnie, Jan, Juergen, Julian, Jackie, Kermit, Sheryl, Susan – and especially Gerry.

IBM has been a maddening company with which to partner, but the vast majority of the time The Fillmore Group has benefited from the technical excellence and basic decency of IBM employees.  In return, TFG consultants like Roger and Ravi have delivered innovative, cost-effective IT solutions to our mutual customers.  After more than two decades I still rely on Roger for his calm, wise counsel.

There have been tough times, too.  The Fillmore Group overcame at least three financial near-death experiences (1993, 2002, 2006).  At the risk of tempting fate: we never missed a payroll or failed to pay a debt on time.

But the best time, by far, was the day Kim May arrived to rent The Fillmore Group’s technical training classroom in downtown Baltimore in 2003.  That was the day my life changed forever.

This is reverie, not valedictory.  I am still too young to retire.  And I am as jazzed about the possibilities of HTAP, data repositories, and data interoperability (aka “plumbing”) in 2017 as I was when I first started working with SQL/DS (maximum storage capacity: 64GB) in the mid 1980s.  We’re currently working on a database rehosting project for a local government targeting DB2 for z/Linux and have an IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) v6 Workshop scheduled next month.

But I wanted to take a moment to jot down a few thoughts on the past three decades.  Of course, I haven’t called out everyone by name who has contributed to our success over the years.  But I truly, sincerely appreciate your hard work, dedication, integrity, smarts, and moxie.  Thank you!

In closing, when Curt retired from IBM I asked if he was pleased with a career that had reached a pinnacle as an IBM Fellow.  His response: “It turned out better than I ever could have imagined.”  Me too.

“Help!! My Manager Said We’re Moving Off the Mainframe!” Webinar Thursday

Posted by Kim May on November 14, 2016 under DB2 Education, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, HTAP, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IDAA, TFG Blog.

Many thanks to the IBM z Systems team – Annette Zawacki and Jim Reed in particular – for supporting and promoting Thursday’s webinar.  We seem to have struck a nerve as the registrations reads like a “who’s who” list of System z customers.

We understand many organizations are facing pressure from management teams who believe “newer” solutions are better, and dealing with operational issues resulting from the aging workforce and accumulated “technology debt” brought on by years of reliable data processing on the mainframe.  Who ever thought THAT would be a problem??

We are polishing the presentation and looking forward to assisting System z customers and colleagues with a proactive response plan.  I hope you will join us – the session will be delivered from 11am-12:00pm EDT, Thursday, November 17th.  Registration is required; register HERE.

Abstract:

Technology is all about innovation and everyone knows the mainframe is as old as dirt. Therefore, according to many CIO’s, now’s the time to move to something new, like maybe open source, in the cloud with some of those cute animals.

How can loyal System z users respond to this short-sighted “management by airline magazine” approach? Join us to learn tactics to win the battle of the best platform to trust with your organization’s critical data and applications. We will prepare you to respond to the “modernization” message with a clear and logical action plan that promotes organizational efficiency, cost savings – and sanity (the mainframe!!)

The 3 critical takeaways:

  1. Locate, gather and excite your IBM z team.
  2. Be smart, be bold. Understand the enemy – where management teams are hearing the mainframe is obsolete message and the specific issues to address.
  3. Gather collateral to *wow* your colleagues. Learn where to get industry white papers, how to complete a System z cost analysis and schedule activities to address management’s concerns.

Facilitators:

Frank Fillmore: DB2 Gold Consultant Frank Fillmore has been working with System z customers throughout his 30 year career in IT. Most recently Frank has been working with IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) customers and working with customers to leverage the value of the mainframe. Frank is also an IBM Champion.

Kim May: Kim May is the Vice President Business Development at The Fillmore Group, an IBM Business Partner specializing in IBM data management software and services. Kim is an IBM Champion and serves on the board of the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group.

#IBMWoW “Help!! My Manager Said We’re Getting Off the Mainframe!” Monday, 10/24, 5-6pm

Posted by Kim May on October 18, 2016 under DB2 for VSE&VM, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IDAA, TFG Blog. Tags: , .

The IBM System z channels team has just invited The Fillmore Group to present another session at next week’s World of Watson Conference.

The session, titled, “Help!!  My Manager Said We’re Getting Off the Mainframe“, will begin at 5pm in a hospitality suite in the Mandalay Bay.  Following the presentation we invite attendees to stay and network at a champagne reception from 6pm – 8pm.  If the topic strikes a chord, please plan to join us.  Registration is required; register HERE.  The session abstract and details are below.

Abstract:

Technology is all about innovation and everyone knows the mainframe is as old as dirt. Therefore, according to many CIO’s, now’s the time to move to something new, like maybe open source, in the cloud with some of those cute animals.

How can loyal System z users respond to this short-sighted “management by airline magazine” approach? Join us to learn tactics to win the battle of the best platform to trust with your organization’s critical data and applications. We will prepare you to respond to the “modernization” message with a clear and logical action plan that promotes organizational efficiency, cost savings – and sanity (the mainframe!!)

Attendees are invited to join us after the presentation from 6pm – 8pm for happy hour lite fare and champagne.

The 3 critical takeaways:

  1. Locate, gather and excite your IBM z team.
  2. Be smart, be bold. Understand the enemy – where management teams are hearing the mainframe is obsolete message and the specific issues to address.
  3. Gather collateral to *wow* your colleagues. Learn where to get industry white papers, how to complete a System z cost analysis and schedule activities to address management’s concerns.

Facilitators:

Frank Fillmore: DB2 Gold Consultant Frank Fillmore has been working with System z customers throughout his 30 year career in IT. Most recently Frank has been working with IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) customers and working with customers to leverage the value of the mainframe. Frank is also an IBM Champion.

Kim May: Kim May is the Vice President Business Development at The Fillmore Group, an IBM Business Partner specializing in IBM data management software and services. Kim is an IBM Champion and serves on the board of the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group.