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Security, Analytics Are Big Focuses at March SHARE in Anaheim Conference

brian-peterson.jpgAs the spring SHARE conference draws near, IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe edition, spoke with Brian Peterson, president of SHARE Inc. and IT architect at UnitedHealth Group, to discuss what attendees can expect at the user community’s event. More than 1,000 people are expected to partake in more than 500 technical sessions across 20 tracks of content, set for March 9 to 14 at the Anaheim, Calif., Marriott.

Q: What are the hot topics or big themes you expect will be the focus of SHARE in Anaheim?

A: Because of the diversity of the SHARE audience, there are a couple of themes. We have a security theme and you’ll notice that we have a keynote presentation on security, “Digital Spies, Hackers and Online Attackers: Bulletproofing Privacy in the Information Economy.” But we also know that there is a lot of interest in big data and analytics. So, we have an Analytics Spotlight with most of the sessions being delivered on Wednesday. There will also be sessions on cloud and mobile.

And, people want to talk about what’s new. With recent new releases of z/OS, z/VM, CICS, IMS and DB2, there are plenty of topics that will be covered. And, of course, we will be helping to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the mainframe.

Q: What makes the SHARE conference an important event for the members and those who attend?

A: SHARE is a unique venue that brings together IBM, ISVs and users. This gives members and attendees multiple perspectives and, in the case of user presentations, more neutral (i.e. unbiased) views. We believe that SHARE provides real-world experiences from real-world practitioners. You will typically hear not just what worked well, but also what didn’t work and what to avoid. Attendees can evaluate the data that they receive and make a better-informed decision on how to proceed.

Since SHARE is a user community, IBM and ISVs are on an equal footing. They all have equal opportunities to present and exhibit and make the case for their point of view.

Q: How does SHARE help those who attend and their businesses/communities?

A: For those who attend SHARE, SHARE provides the chance to discuss issues and projects with others with similar backgrounds, experiences and concerns. Sometimes, we think that we can get our questions answered via online discussion forums, and there is certainly a place for that. But, for big projects with significant investment of time and resources, there’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation to fully understand and appreciate this complexities involved in attacking a major initiative.

A big part of SHARE is making contacts and meeting people who can help you. There are times when knowing the right person to call can save you days of “working through the system.”

Q: What does the future hold for SHARE and its members?

A: SHARE has revitalized its efforts to address key industry topics. We have regular blog posts covering analytics, big data, cloud, mobile, IT skills and security–there were 35 new articles in 2013. Probably our most popular article series was “Don’t Believe the Myth-information about the Mainframe.”

SHARE recognized a couple of years ago that many members were having difficulties sending representatives to our biannual meetings. We have tried to address that by making our content more readily available via the web. We have made efforts to reach out to our audience via webinars, live webcasts and even social media.

Q: Is there still time to participate in SHARE in Anaheim?

A: It is never too late participate in SHARE. As for the Anaheim meeting, registration is available on-site. We have several registration choices, including full-week and one-day options. For those who can’t afford to be away for a full-week, the one-day option is a good alternative, especially when we have focused content like the Analytics Spotlight where most of the material is concentrated on one day.

There is also the option to take advantage of sessions that are being webcast live from SHARE in Anaheim. SHARE Live! is a program that offers live webcast of 26 sessions during the week, with recordings being available for up to six months after the event. This is an option for those with travel or schedule constraints. It’s also a great opportunity for groups of people from our company members to gather in a conference room and view the materials together.

Q: What else does SHARE offer beyond the conferences?

A: Note that SHARE has been striving to deliver opportunities throughout the year. Even though we are best known for our biannual meetings, we are holding monthly webcasts and many of our participants engage in phone conversations or online dialog between events. We also have a new membership option, SHARE Select, that features access to our library of recorded content. We have been recording selected sessions for several years, and have built up a library of nearly 200 recorded sessions and webcasts.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: In Anaheim, SHARE will be hosting its fourth annual ExecuForum. This is an opportunity to bring together senior IT leaders who are influencing IT strategy at their companies to meet with their peers and with IBM leadership. This year's ExecuForum agenda includes a review of IBM Institute of Business Value C-Level studies from Linda Ban, Global C-suite Study director at IBM; a discussion of Organizational Change Management from Ray Hoppenjans, vice president at Nationwide Insurance; and a panel discussion highlighting how companies are addressing IT skills requirements. The program is designed to be two days in length to minimize time out of the office, but participants are invited to stay and take part in as much of the SHARE week as they desire.

Valerie Dennis Craven is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor.



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