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 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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Big Data Classes at The Fillmore Group

Posted by Kim May on February 6, 2014 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, Big Data, BigInsights, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, Hadoop, InfoSphere Streams, TFG Blog. Tags: , , , , .

With IBM’s 2014 focus on Big Data solutions I want to highlight The Fillmore Group’s IBM authorized training classes coming this Spring – and invite new BigInsights and Streams customers to join us.  We have students enrolled and expect these sessions to run as scheduled.

All classes may be attended either in our classroom in Towson, Maryland, or remotely via distance learning.

Feb 26 DW652  IBM BigInsights Analytics for Programmers      2 days; $1500

Mar 17 DW723  Program for InfoSphere Streams V3 with SPL   4 days; $3000

Mar 21 DW730  Administration of InfoSphere Streams                 1 day; $750

Apr 2   DW641   BigInsights Analytics for Business Analysts        1 day; $750

If you are interested in learning more click on the course code above for the complete outline of topics to be covered and registration information.  If you have any questions on these classes or other training classes available from The Fillmore Group please contact me here.

One note:  these classes are being delivered through The Fillmore Group’s affiliation with Global Training Provider Arrow ECS; you will need to register for classes on the Arrow website.

Thanks!

2013 Recap and DB2 Support Trends to Watch in 2014

Posted by Kim May on January 5, 2014 under DB2 Education, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), TFG Blog. Tags: , , , .

I spent some time this past week reviewing our 2013 performance, which was terrific, and planning for 2014.  It was a good exercise in looking at what seems to be working for The Fillmore Group, as well as the trends that seem to be changing the way we are engaged and supporting Information Management users.

In terms of trends I am surprised, and quite honestly a bit reassured by, the number of consulting engagements we’ve been authorized to work remotely.  The expense and wear and tear from travel that is frequently associated with working onsite at a client’s location cannot be overestimated.  However, up until about two years ago, we did almost 100% of our billable work at customer locations.  I was shocked at how much this has changed.  I hope this is an indication of more confidence in our consultants, who perform work at a high level regardless of where they sit, but also I understand this also reflects more confidence in the tools and technologies that enable us to work and communicate effectively when we work remotely.  Kudos to all the consultants making their way to the airport tonight, but also many thanks to the customers who trust in our professionalism and communication skills and are allowing many members of our team to sleep in their own beds tonight.

The second trend surprising me is the silence from the DB2 community around the IBM Global Skills Initiative.  By outsourcing training IBM has essentially unraveled the lifeline that keeps technical skills current and enables customers to make use of the wonderful solutions available.  This troubles me – I am not sure if this is an indication of the aging IT workforce (“I learned the basics years ago; nothing has really changed”) or the constriction of education funding available to support skills.  I expected a revolt!  Instead, while I see IDUG flourishing and third party training options increasing (both of which are great for the overall DB2 ecosystem in my opinion), I fear the decline in training will parallel a decline in new product adoption.  I hope, as the Global Training Providers get a better handle on how to deliver IBM education, that offerings and options – and enrollment – will increase.  We view lifelong education as one of the requirements – and pleasures – of life in the world of technology; I hope it isn’t stifled or relegated to slide decks and 30 minute presentations on concepts.

Finally, a trend that I intend to address as best I can in 2014 is Procurement and E-cig Twigg’s popular e-juice guide.  Why, in the world of cost cutting and expecting people to do more with less is the ability to engage with customer organizations becoming so terribly difficult?  We’ve been an IBM Business Partner for decades and have established our organization in many ways.  In the past year we have run into multiple situations where technical managers who are trusted with million dollar budgets are bound by Procurement teams whose job seems to be to make it nearly impossible to engage reasonably priced resources to support business critical projects.  When our consultants are only able to engage as a subcontractor to a subcontractor (this is the case with several of our current customers) and the rate the customer ultimately pays is excessively high, no one wins.  I am not sure how I will overcome this, but I plan to attack it in 2014!

A healthy and prosperous 2014 to everyone in the DB2 community!

 

TFG and Arrow Bring Back Training with a BANG! #ibmiod

Posted by Kim May on November 2, 2013 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, BigInsights, BLU Acceleration, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, InfoSphere, Q-Replication. Tags: , , , , .

To everyone joining us at IOD, I invite you to stop by Arrow ECS’s booth in the Expo, #1309, to pop a balloon and possibly win a valuable training class prize – or an iPad!  Arrow ECS is one of the four new IBM-selected Global Training Partners, and in addition to being The Fillmore Group’s software distributor, Arrow is the partner TFG has aligned with to continue to deliver IBM Authorized Information Management classes.

To qualify to win you must stop by the booth and pop a balloon.  Special prizes are in *some* balloons.  Good luck!  Let’s get IBM IM training restarted with a BANG!

TFG (Finally!) Offers Training Again

Posted by Kim May on October 8, 2013 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, Q-Replication, TFG Blog. Tags: , , , , , , , .

This past summer IBM rolled out the Global Skills Initiative, essentially outsourcing all education marketing and delivery to four selected Global Training Partners.  IBM will continue to develop course curriculum, but everything else is now in the hands of the four Global Training Partners, or GTP’s.

The Fillmore Group has aligned with Global Training Partner Arrow ECS, our software distributor, and I am pleased to finally be able to announce that we are back in the training business.

There are still challenges.  Two of the biggest are the process of finding our classes on the IBM training site and actually registering for a class.  While I work through this process so I can update our website with accurate information, I am going to post our schedule in as many places as possible (right here for starters), and invite anyone in search of an IBM class to contact me if you need help.  Public classes, private classes, in the classroom or remote – please don’t hesitate to email me.  I want to help!

IBM Global Skills Initiative Update

Posted by Kim May on June 5, 2013 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, TFG Blog. Tags: , , , .

I was pleased and a bit surprised at the feedback from the blog post and email we sent out about the end of the IBM Authorized Training Program.  I have been gathering information on what the new program means – to IBM customers, training partners and the many independent instructors IBM has worked with over the years – and thought I would post an update.

I apologize if I didn’t respond individually to anyone who contacted me with feedback (it was good to hear from so many people, but wow!)  Overall the response was quite reassuring, as I have often wondered why it seems IBM customers are so reluctant to invest in education and skills.  Maybe they aren’t!

Today, I understand IBM intends to select 3-5 global organizations to take over the management, marketing and delivery of public training classes.  The IBM announcement about the new program is on their website

These vendors will manage the selection of instructors, delivery locations (cities and classrooms), and develop their own class schedules.  I’ve spoken to several of the vendors being considered and they seem to have some specific ideas as to how things will work, although quite honestly, there were some significant differences in their expectations.

For those of you who are instructors, I have been told the Global Training Partners will be able to select instructors based on criteria they establish independent of IBM, within their organizations, which essentially negates the IBM instructor authorization process. 

For those of you concerned with the availability of classes in Q3 and Q4 of 2013, it looks like IBM is working with a few providers vying for the Global Training Provider slots (Arrow, Avnet, TUV Rheinland and Learnquest) to build out a skeleton schedule of classes to be delivered in North America in Q3.  Most will be held in NYC and Colorado.  These classes are listed on the IBM training site by location.

As for private classes, I understand IBM intends to continue to coordinate and deliver private classes for customers. 

I hope this helps keep everyone up to date with the changes.  I am anxious and hope The Fillmore Group is able to continue to deliver training to IBM customers.

First Half 2013 Classes Scheduled

Posted by Kim May on December 19, 2012 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Connect, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for VSE&VM, DB2 for z/OS, InfoSphere, Q-Replication, TFG Blog. Tags: , , , , , .

The Fillmore Group has been delivering IBM Authorized Training classes in our Towson, Maryland classroom for the past several years and believe we offer some of the best DB2 training around – in a comfortable facility at an affordable travel location.  Our first half of 2013 schedule has recently been posted on the IBM website and a complete list of classes is available here.

In addition to the public, open enrollment classes we host on IBM’s behalf, we deliver an extended group of IBM classes directly to organizations as private classes.  The complete list of private classes available is attached here

If you or anyone on your team is looking to upgrade your DB2 skills in 2013 please let me know how I can assist.   Email me directly and I will help!

Distance Learning – IBMdatamag.com Article

Posted by Kim May on December 5, 2012 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, IBM Information Management Software Sales. Tags: , , , .

An article I wrote, “How to Get the Most from a Distance Learning Class“, to help students successfully participate in remote classes was published in IBMdatamag.com (IBM Data Management magazine) this week.  If you are planning to attend an upcoming class and opt to attend via Distance Learning I recommend it.   

The Fillmore Group has been delivering IBM Information Management training classes for over fifteen years, courses we developed internally as well as classes delivered on behalf of IBM as an IBM Authorized Training Partner.  In the early 2000’s we developed one of the first delivery tools to enable students to “see” and “hear” the live instructor.  Since then Distance Learning has become available for many classes, and as the tools and delivery methods have evolved we have also developed a better understanding of the challenges remote students face.  I tried to address these in the article. 

Training has become a luxury.  If you have the opportunity to attend a class in the coming months and choose to attend remotely I hope this article helps you get the most value from your class.

Unused 2012 Budget? Invest in DB2 Now!

Posted by Kim May on November 26, 2012 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, IBM DB2 Services, InfoSphere, Netezza, Optim, Oracle, Q-Replication, TFG Blog. Tags: , , , , , .

Don’t wait – act now!  Invest in DB2 before year end.
 
With 2012 rapidly drawing to a close now is the time to review unused budget funds and invest in DB2 training and services.  The Fillmore Group has our DBA on Demand support option and IBM Authorized Training classes scheduled that can be paid for in advance and used to ensure your team is prepared for a successful 2013.
 
DBA on Demand offers expert consulting services, either onsite or remote, at a discounted hourly rate.  Our “150 for 150” offer delivers 150 hours of support at a discounted hourly rate of $150 per hour.
 
There are still seats available for the December 10th CL412/CL442 DB2 for LUW Performance Tuning and Monitoring Workshop to be delivered by DB2 Gold Consultant Frank C. Fillmore, Jr., in our Towson, Maryland classroom.  Additional TFG classes scheduled are available on the IBM Learning Services website.
 
Please feel free to contact me with any questions on how The Fillmore Group can help preserve your unused funds and help your team have a successful 2013 with DB2!