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Talking to IBM i Clients in 2014

February 17, 2015

One of the core pieces of the IBM i strategy is communicating with our community. Historically, our platform has been quite intentional in working with user groups, in supporting major conferences, and in sending IBM i experts to local sessions around the world. In the past several years, we’ve “doubled down” on this part of our strategy, particularly where participation from our development team is concerned.

At the end of each year, we create a scorecard to see how much coverage we have given to our clients around the world, and recently I received the 2014 numbers. Today, I thought I would share some of those numbers with you, and give you a few comments about them.

150+ Executive Briefings: We held more than 150 executive briefings related to IBM i in 2014. Most of these were held in our Rochester Executive Briefing Center, some were held in the briefing center in Austin, Texas, and still others were held at other locations. But there were also quite a few shorter briefings that were held at customer sites. I can’t overemphasize how effective briefings are, especially for explaining the direction of IBM i and getting visiting teams thinking about how they can take better advantage of their Power Systems.

50+ Key Account Visits: While a few of these are counted in the Executive Briefings number, most of the Key Account Visits are more targeted. Some included requirements gathering from clients who are early adopters of new technology. Some were to help customers make decisions about the direction of large projects involving IBM i and Power Systems and storage. We can’t visit every client, of course, but some clients have special situations that require our attention at their locations, and some of them have been requested to give us feedback, so we go visit and get that feedback.

45+ Conferences: Whether the conference is hosted by IBM (at least 18 of these occurred in 2014) or our partners, or user groups, there is no shortage of events to which we are taking the IBM i message. Now, in this number, I am trying to count only those events at which 100 or more people attended, and I have a feeling we missed a couple. But additionally, there are quite a few regional conferences that might not quite have reached the 100-participants mark, but which had at least one IBM speaker talking about IBM i.

150+ DB2 Consultations: Between our Lab Services team and our DB2 for i development team, we are called upon many times a year to help clients adopt the new technology delivered in our integrated relational database. And this doesn’t count the hundreds of times our experts are cornered by customers after speaking at events, for “just one question” which turns into a bit of sage advice, and often the exchange of e-mail afterward. The team loves this sort of interaction with their user base.

Web Events and Social: When I bundle these interactions, it’s pretty tough to give a count. We know that we had more than 20 IBM i Web presentations, which IBM delivered, and which were attended by well over 1,000 clients, but we also participated in many Web events held by partners for their clients. Our participation in the social sphere continues to grow, as more of us are using blogs and Twitter to share information. I had some pertinent links in my last blog post, so go there if you want to find us. And our community seems to be using social media extensively, too. In fact, as a member of that community, I’ll tell you that most of what I read about IBM i customers and partners these days happens when I follow links I see on my Twitter feed.

For me, 2014 is always going to be memorable for one peculiar aspect of my visiting with clients: it marked the first time I ever traveled all the way around the world. I headed west to Japan, and just kept going west, stopping at various places in Scandinavia and Europe before heading west again back to Minnesota. Will that happen again in 2015? It could. And will I finally get to travel to South America or Africa -- two continents with many IBM i customers, but which I have not yet visited? There’s no telling. I can’t be everywhere. But somehow, we have IBMers who can get there, wherever “there” is.

Posted February 17, 2015| Permalink