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Archives: November 2015

Virtual Education Overcomes the Time, Cost and Travel Barrier

Posted on November 17, 2015 by Bill Langston

We regularly hear customers say they need and want ongoing education but can’t leave their office to attend a conference, user group meeting, or training class. This problem might be due to job duties, budget, or family obligations. We certainly understand.

Fortunately, if you’re an IBM i operator, programmer/analyst, or administrator, there is a FREE event coming soon that can provide some of the education you want — right at your desk. It’s the COMMON Virtual Conference & Expo on December 15, 2015. We hope you will click on the link above, take a look at the agenda, and register to attend. We’ll explain. 

What’s COMMON?
COMMON is an international IBM user group that organizes educational events online and around the world. Although the COMMON user group has been around for decades, we know many IBM i customers are not COMMON members, are unaware of COMMON, or have never attended a COMMON sponsored event. If that’s you, take note: this virtual conference is open to everyone.  You do not need to join COMMON. There is no fee to attend, but you do need to register.

What’s a Virtual Conference?
Think Webinar. The virtual conference consists of a full day of top experts presenting sessions in a Webinar format that you can view at your desk. You can pick topics that interest you and move in and out of the virtual conference throughout the day.

What If I’m Busy on December 15?
COMMON will keep the sessions available on demand for several weeks afterwards, so you can go back and watch them again or catch topics you missed. The key is to register now so that you’ll receive the login instructions and have the opportunity to view all the sessions you want, even if you can’t attend on December 15.

NGS is one of the sponsors of the COMMON Virtual Conference & Expo. We’ll be giving a session on migration alternatives for IBM Query/400 users, and some NGS staff members will be available to “chat” with you in the virtual expo.

Posted in Education | Comments


Data Science

Posted on November 10, 2015 by David Gillman

New terms come up all the time for IT people. A really interesting new one is “Data Science” and its corresponding job title, “Data Scientist.”

A month ago, I did a video on data science, based on my background, education, and work in this area. There is not much in the video about the IBM i, but it is still one the IBM i IT people should view. 

Really, data science is just the continuation of a long line of statistical analysis techniques. Working with large amounts of data has changed over time, with software and hardware now capable of analyzing much larger data sets faster and with easier to use software than in the past. For this reason, data science has come to the forefront of analytic terms now.

There are IBM i companies that use data science now. Often, the IBM i data is required for the analysis since the ERP system holds the relevant transaction level data. This is usually the point where the IBM i IT person comes in.

If you are that person working with others in the organization who do data science analysis but find yourself a little perplexed, watch this video to get a foundation on real world data science.

Posted in Education, Enterprise Software | Comments


Social Media and the Enterprise IT Professional

Posted on November 3, 2015 by Bill Langston

We’re contacted every day by companies who tell us we should hire them to help us gain a competitive advantage and reach new customers through social media. These consultants and vendors say it’s critical for us to have a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. because social media is where our customers and potential customers are spending their time and seeking information. It’s an interesting theory, but our experience tells us this isn’t the case.

We use Google search advertising to attract people to our website. We use Google Analytics to monitor our site’s traffic, where our site visitors are located, what pages they view, and how long they stay on them. Twitter is one of several ways we share company news and announcements. We regularly monitor the discussions on several IBM i-related LinkedIn groups and a popular IBM i technical forum so that we can respond if something warrants a comment. And we’ll continue to do all of these things even though it’s a rare day when an NGS customer or potential customer uses any of these media to share a thought about a work-related topic.

We know IT professionals use social media in their personal lives to communicate with and follow family, friends, and groups that share their hobbies, root for the same sports teams, or like the same entertainers and political leaders. But it seems that for most, social media is a private, personal activity that declines or ceases during business hours. That’s understandable since IT professionals spend their days working with sensitive data and proprietary processes their employers and clients don’t want discussed publicly. Regional user group meetings and conferences provide social networking opportunities without the online element. Private, “unsocial” media like email, conference calls, and meetings play the biggest role on a day-to-day basis. To complicate matters further, the largest IBM i discussion groups on LinkedIn prohibit or strongly discourage promotional content.

So how can social media provide value in this environment? We’d like to know what you think. If you’re an IT professional or business software user, please tell us if or how you use social media in your workplace. What types of information would you like to see vendors provide through these outlets and what policies has your company established to govern your use of social media?

Posted in IBM i Marketplace | Comments

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