3 Observations from IDUG NA 2022, a Db2 Tech Conference

Last week I had the opportunity to attend IDUG North America. For those who aren’t familiar, IDUG stands for International Db2 Users Group. It’s a non-profit focused on education and services around Db2. There were many informative sessions, keynotes, and evening events throughout the week, and much of what I learned aligned with TeamSWAMI’s existing strategies and vision for the field. As I reflect on my experiences at IDUG North America, I wanted to share a few observations:

Innovation continues on Db2

All vendors associated with mainframe technologies continue to invest and innovate in Db2 (for z/OS, LUW and Cloud). For many organizations, Db2 is the system of record for core processing and business functionality. If you work for or with such an organization, and you’re thinking about moving your processing and data to the cloud, make sure to do your due diligence.  Almost all modernization efforts surpass their budget and timeline projections. Many times this is due to data dependencies and environmental complexities.

Almost all organizations have a focus on digital transformation or application modernization.  I advise such organizations to spend time learning about new functionalities available to leverage Db2 data.  This includes everything from ML/AI, data virtualization, Db2 on IBM’s cloud using PureScale, Db2 capabilities coming on AWS, and more. There are many options available outside of complex, costly and time-consuming lift and shift approaches to modernize your applications and address data access needs.

CIOs/CTOs and technical leaders owe it to their organizations, employees, shareholders and boards to ensure that IT teams are choosing financially sound options to modernize technical solutions. Boards need to hold their technology executives accountable for making decisions that needlessly cost the organization money—money that could have been invested in other projects that provide value to the business.

TeamSWAMI regularly consults with clients building business cases to fund and ensure efficient use of data and the mainframe infrastructure. Attending IDUG confirmed my approach to client service and reinforced the importance of creating efficiencies and meeting clients’ budget needs.

The mainframe community continues to thrive

As someone who has worked with many different technical solutions and teams over my career, I have most enjoyed my interactions with the mainframe community. My previous mainframe team boasts some of the most talented and forward-thinking team members who are also highly respected in the mainframe community. From TeamSWAMI’s launch to present, I continue to come across high-caliber talent in the mainframe space. Those with decades of experience are actively engaged and interested in helping to bring the next generation of mainframe talent along. They understand the value the platform brings to their organizations and want to share their knowledge and experience with others.

IDUG was my first conference post Covid. In some ways it felt like a reunion with peers who are equally passionate about data.  It was nice to see and hug people whom I hadn’t seen in almost three years. I also had the opportunity to meet and spend many hours with my IBM Gold peers as well as meet new people who are also actively engaged with mainframe technology. The overall vibe of community and innovation was evident during my time in Boston.

I’m grateful that the Db2 community is vibrant and thriving. It allows TeamSWAMI to maintain a robust network of mainframe professionals who provide thought leadership, support, and opportunities for dialogue. These connections enhance TeamSWAMI’s service of our clients, who benefit from access to professionals all over the world.

New talent continues to work on Db2

As many organizations pivot to hybrid strategies, they face competition in the market to attract the next generation of mainframe talent. During IDUG I was pleased to see and meet several individuals working on Db2 for companies and vendors that are newer to mainframe technology. As a community, we need to continually and intentionally invest in the next generation of talent.  It was nice to see that organizations support their new-to-mainframe talent by funding their conference attendance. Not only does IDUG provide opportunities to learn about all of the innovative solutions available on Db2, but it also allows new talent to feel like part of a community, an essential factor in the longevity of new talent on the platform.

Like the IDUG community, TeamSWAMI is committed to sharing the mainframe story. TeamSWAMI presents at events that include IBM, mainframe customers and university students. We are scheduling several sessions in the fall with universities based in Illinois to help spread the word about the mainframe. We hope to convey to students the power of the platform and encourage universities to revisit their stance on teaching mainframe courses.

If you, too, are looking for ways to help spread the word about the value of Db2 and the mainframe, there are plenty of ways to engage: mentor a new-to-mainframe employee, volunteer to recruit talent at a job fair, or engage with a local university to educate their leadership on ways the mainframe is and will continue to be a relevant platform for decades to come.