We talk to more and more IBM i customers who are evaluating hybrid cloud, co-location, managed services, and third-party hosting options. Our advice to any NGS customer? Make sure you choose a provider with a successful track record of supporting more than just a few IBM i customers.
Connectria is the largest IBM Power Managed Services Provider (MSP) in North America. The company has invested time and money to build a staff of experienced IBM i IT professionals, helping its customers go beyond the status quo and take advantage of new IBM i capabilities over time. That dedication sets Connectria apart from providers we’ve encountered who only have a few IBM i customers and hope their Windows and Linux specialists can handle IBM i customer issues on the fly or in their spare time.
When you outsource any aspect of your IT infrastructure or staff, applying due diligence is crucial. That said, we think NGS customers who choose Connectria have a good chance for long-term success.
If you’re already a Connectria customer, we welcome you to talk with us about implementing our NGS-IQ query, reporting, and analytics software in your Connectria hosted environment. You’ll find the NGS and Connectria staff very helpful and able to provide you with the support you need to realize a rapid return on investment.
Many IBM i IT professionals don’t use Excel but provide technical support to business users who do. These users need timely data they can analyze in Excel to present to their staff or customers.
If you’re on the IT side of this exchange, NGS can help streamline these interactions as efficiently and successfully as possible. We think you’ll find your value to your company and respect from your co-workers will rise if you take the time to learn how Excel consumes external data.
We have designed a two-part series entitled, “What Should an IBM i Programmer Know About Excel?”, so you can better understand this popular application:
Register for Part II now, and you can review the recording for Part I before attending the second half of this informative Webinar on June 23.
Have some fun and play this audio clip as you read the NGS Poem:
You're here in search of answers, and many files you have,
You join them up, you pick some fields, and then you click a tab.
You create some calculations, including some with rules,
And then you format date fields so Excel won’t get confused.
You click to add a run-time prompt and set a sort or two,
Your report is starting to look good, but you need grand totals, too.
You add a report break to the end and summarize some fields,
Then you go to the layout and touch up a few more things.
You quickly check your query, and then upload and save,
And then you run it with Qport, and everyone’s amazed.
Today, it’s not hard to find a female IT director or software developer. But as we celebrate Women’s History Month, let's recall that for many years women with a technical skillset and a desire to work in IT were often steered into technical support, training, and frequently, query and report writing. Whether you attribute this move to fewer women having four-year computer science degrees, training in programming languages, workplace bias, or skill, it was commonplace.
In thousands of shops, if you needed help understanding an application process or someone to write a database report, you needed to find the office “Query Queen.” In the IBM “midrange” community, the Introduction to IBM Query/400 session at the COMMON conference was taught for roughly 20 years by a woman who worked for a healthcare organization. Even the IBMers who presented query and business intelligence software were frequently women.
At NGS, women with these skills have played a major role in training and support since our inception. These “soft IT skills” were essential to business operations long before people began taking university courses in Structured Query Language (SQL) and analytics.
NGS enjoys great working relationships with many women who use our software to help their companies run more efficiently and gain insights. We enjoy working with many men, too, but this month, let’s honor the Query Queens, past and present, who turn data into information every day. Thank you.
IT Managers, IBM i programmers, and operators often express frustration over the challenge of supporting non-technical software users. Many shops succeed thanks to only one or two non-IT staff members who learn quickly and informally. They become the office “power users.”
What? You don’t think you have any of those kinds of people? We say grow your own.
Power users are particularly helpful when you deploy query, reporting, and analytics software. They can dramatically increase your return on investment if they understand your business, your data, and some IBM i basics. We’ll assume your business users have Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office skills and a good grasp of how your company operates—but you might be unsure of what they should know about IBM i. We suggest the following short list:
1. Db2 on i
2. IBM i fundamentals:
Start with this list, and let us know any other topics you feel we’ve overlooked. Thanks.
From our experience, the job can be made much easier if you invest a little time in teaching your business users some IBM i database and operating system basics.
NGS would like to reassure everyone that while California is currently in lockdown, we’re still open for business and our support capabilities haven’t changed. With our staff working remotely, we’re available to address your needs during our regular support hours.
This year, we’ve had to adjust and be creative. We’ve summoned more courage, patience, and kindness than ever before.
With the holiday season upon us, let’s take a moment and reflect on the things we’re grateful for and the blessings we have—to give us peace, joy, and hope.
We look forward to seeing you in 2021. Stay safe and be well!
Information Builders, Inc. (IBI), the company that IBM has partnered with since 2007 to develop, support, and market IBM DB2 WebQuery, is being acquired by Tibco Software.1 Tibco Software is a big data and analytics software company based in Palo Alto, California. They are privately owned by Vista Equity Partners. To date, we have not found any statements from IBM, IBI, or Tibco regarding how this change in ownership will effect IBM DB2 Web Query.
Since its founding in 1997, Tibco Software primarily pursued an aggressive growth through acquisition strategy.2 The pace of acquisitions has accelerated under Vista Equity Partners. We believe IBI is at least the tenth company acquired by Tibco Software in the past six years. Nonetheless, as far as we can tell, Tibco Software has never developed or supported products that run on IBM i.
When companies acquire other companies, some degree of consolidation usually happens—especially with companies that have overlapping products and development managers. In an article written for ZDNet, Boris Evelson of Forrester states, “There are tons, literally tons, of overlapping products between the two companies.”3
In a lengthy but noteworthy interview with CRN following the announcement of the acquisition, Tibco CEO Dan Streetman spoke of IBI’s partner network, but made no mention of IBM.4
IBM has announced plans to spin off its Infrastructure Services business unit in 2021.1 Many IBM i customers have minimal or no experience working with this part of IBM, but the entity, tentatively called “NewCo,” will launch with roughly $19 billion in annual revenue, 4,600 customers, and thousands of employees worldwide. It will immediately be the world’s largest information technology services provider and have ongoing business with an estimated 75% of the Fortune 500.2 An interesting aspect of this break up is that NewCo may immediately be IBM’s biggest customer.3
IBM’s decision surprised the industry analysts who in recent years have suggested IBM might exit the systems (aka hardware) business. But while infrastructure services contracts arguably saved IBM in the 1990’s, growth has slowed in recent years, and now IBM sees more potential in helping customers shift to a hybrid cloud computing model that integrates on premises, private, and public cloud resources. So once again, IBM is divesting and shrinking itself to create a new, smaller, and potentially higher growth company. When you are a public company, you must make difficult decisions like these to please Wall Street and large shareholders.4
IBM hopes to convince its IBM Z and Power customers that the best path to a hybrid cloud is through the adoption of open source solutions from the Red Hat organization that IBM acquired in 2019. IBM i customers can expect to see many announcements of Red Hat solutions that run on IBM i. As long as IBM sees that IBM i customers are helping it achieve its growth objectives, there is good reason to assume IBM will continue to invest in i on Power, and third-party software vendors will continue to round out the ecosystem with complementary solutions.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many users are working remotely. To give assistance during these uncertain times, we have some suggestions to make the work-from-home transition more seamless:
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