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Editor's Blog - The Rant

August 2009

Here in the states, education seems to be on the minds of everyone.  My youngest son is about to start Kindergarten, his first truly structured learning experience.  My daughter is halfway through her time at the University of Texas.
 
Basically, the battle cry is "Back-to-School."
 
Education is basically the center of our existence inside the DSXchange. After starting the site over 8 years ago, training options continue to grow. First, we built the first level of training, the forum, a "self service" style knowledge base for those who find themselves stuck with how to approach a design technique from a non-working DataStage Job or improve performance of a poorly working one.
 
The DSXchange's Number ONE Poster, Ray Wurlod, a professional trainer in every since of the word, collaborated with us to provide the second level of training, our DataStage training DVDs. DVD sales in April and May showed there is no limit to the need and opportunities for leveraging this training medium.
 
During the last few months of this year, we were approached by several larger corporate licenses directly, requesting our third level of training, on-site training and mentoring. Utilizing our on in-house approach we partnered with 3 of the top learning providers for IT training in the IBM InfoSphere Information space and provided on-site mentoring as well as web based training which allowed our experts to provide "pin-point" skills growth, and in many cases helped find project problems from thousands of miles away.
 
The good news here is the recent training trend has changed in the dynamics within DataStage licensees and are shifting from third party consultants to a redeployment of company employees; all which lends well to the training products and services we offer.
 
Last month, we sent out a survey to learn more about our user community.  Knowledge comes from the outside looking in as well as from the inside out.  In order to know how we can help our members we have to know a little about you. I will have additional surveys and share the results in a future newsletter. Survey information will help us provide more flexible ways you get the education you need.  We will provide new combinations of current offerings, to new products including new audio versions of our popular courses at more affordable prices.
 
Today we are announcing our "Back-to-School" DataStage Training DVD Special, where you can "load up" on your educational libraries, as well as use it to prepare for any of our upcoming online experiences or soon to be announced Audio Series.
 
From all of us at the DSXchange Learning Center, thanks for your continued support.

June, 2009
 
 

Your opinion matters!

 

As we approach the end of the first 6 months of 2009, we owe it to ourselves to understand what’s happening in our marketplace. I have recently been involved with a project that has allowed me to fully comprehend how the inclusion of Business Intelligence (Cognos) can benefit business trends and how to succeed in a tumultuous economy. It’s time to add facts from business transactions (BI) to opinions and observations and combine them to make better decisions in our operations, our focus, and in the running of the DSXchange, our content.

 

Sometime this month, based on our projections, we should top 30,000 lifetime members as our eight birthday approaches. Sure, some of our members are gone to other spaces or industries, but this is a healthy representation of our marketplace.  During this month, we will intensify our efforts to hear from you. Let you help verify some of the business facts our research has provided.  For example, at our poll on the dsxchange.com site, we have found out some curious results on your training choices. Yet our facts say, our DVD sales have reached all new highs. (Thank you to all that have purchased so far, tell your friends!). On the portal (dsxchange.net) we feature a poll that asks what products will make an impact and those results match our forum topics activity. Seems the change in the economy might have slowed corporate interest in some of the core product add ins.

 

Usually, my ‘Rants’ are about what I think. I am a bit out of touch and I need your help.  It’s time to hear what you think. For the good of our collective well being, yours and the DSXchange, when you get a chance to participate in a survey, a poll, or voicing your opinions, don't be shy, let us know what you think.

 

As always, thanks for your continued support! I can’t wait till the front page boasts 30,000 members strong.

Look for our June Survey soon and please participate.


March, 2009
 

In difficult times, it is human nature to look inward or close to home for help or assistance.  ‘Circle the wagons’ is a term from old western movies where the threats from strangers were addressed by placing those that they know ‘inside’ to protect them.  So goes things at the DSXchange. We have been busy reaching out to folks at the companies whose employees and consultants use our site to solve their DataStage development problems.  I am asking them to identify KEY management personnel who might invest in the very people who managers depend on, to make their DataStage projects succeed, YOU!  Interested in helping your company, read the letter here . Bottom line, we think companies should invest in their people’s learning and professional development instead of making you buy individual premium memberships and ordering DVD’s personally. If you think the same, click here and let me direct my ideas to your boss. Corporate involvement would lead to more funding to provide an even higher level of service including better search options, more DSXLC webinars (check out this month’s edition) and potentially live support options.

 

We are also trying to give one another more ways to network for the greater good of all.  Social networking like FaceBook, Linkedin, and Twitter seem to have all the world spinning.  I have been a member of Linkedin since the membership was quite small. Today, it makes sense  for our team of DSXchange members, but to leverage this linking to professionally connect us to reach a better level of IT professionals.  If you have a profile, please search for our (DSXchange) group and join. Be sure to give out your user id, so I can be sure I recognize you. 

 

Next month, we will consider the whole “Twitter” model and see if we can use it to make us a better place to ‘tweet’.  Circling the wagons might even become fun!




February 2009 


Change
was the battle cry, the theme during the winning campaign strategy of the now President of the United States. Since this change of guard is truly of importance to the entire global community of Infosphere users, I’ll use today’s events as a reason to share my thoughts with you.

With so much focus on the world’s economy, businesses need to focus on what’s at the top of their priority list and not much more.  Good news for the majority of our users, the projects that you are involved in are getting the funding necessary for completion.  I don’t see projects going away, just being scrutinized for solid accountability.  Our team has been asked to review a number of scenarios where this new attention to details will generate new business, not reduce it.

In keeping with this business shift, we have decided to make sure we at the DSXchange are doing what makes good business sense on all fronts.  Determining how to best serve our membership base and make sure we continue to improve our deliverables, our presentation and the value proposition overall.  We are dedicated to make those members who want a positive outcome for themselves and their clients or employers, have that experience.

We have added the DSXchange.net as our mouthpiece to our members.  This new Member Portal allows us to communicate with some of the new tools available to all web sites, without interruption on the forum software.  That means that with our email contacts, we will continue to have more compelling product and industry information with updates daily. Also included is an imbebed IBM Information page and a Google Alerts page for IBM InfoSphere.

While the forum continues to attract new members, and answer their questions day in and day out, helping our members get new jobs at the JOBXCHANGE, help them keep up to date on new IBM Infosphere Strategies and our number one commitment, teaching our members how to maximize their skills with DVD learning at the DSXchange Learning Center remain our focus.

Last, but certainly not least, we have an increasing number of vendors who value your opinion and interest in their products. They are happy for you and your licensee’s management consider their robust offerings.  If you support them, I am quite sure, they will support you.  More on this in coming editions, I am sure.

Bottom line, the DSXchange site’s will be changing to match the current industry trends, while keeping focused on offering real information from the DSXchange.com Forum and the DSXchange.net Learning Center. You can take that to the bank….



December, 2008


Money, money, money, that’s all we hear about these days. How much money we have lost, how much money it takes to bail out someone. How much money will we save on this sale or that sale. . Bottom line, money is the key to success, the root of all evil. What does this same concept equate in terms of businesses with IT budgets.  Next year, we are betting on some changes in many IT departments. I have a little advice for those looking at those budgets.  A very good and wise friend told me, “Plan for success, Failure will take care of itself”.  I think in these coming months (maybe years) successful companies won’t run and hide and stop spending. They must invest wisely in products, people and strategies to create positive outcomes.

First of all, all projects in the queue will have to measure up to a higher standard.  A greater value proposition will need to be delivered to the organization. Second of all, IT management must maximize their budgets by leveraging more staff and less consultants.  Yes, I said less consultants. I didn’t mean reducing teams without a plan, but a well orchestrated team with meaningful and accountable results. I have personal knowledge with companies who cut consulting budgets to the core and let hundreds of thousands of dollars of knowledge, walk out the door.  The most important thing is the leverage of assets, both human and software.

Here’s my humble opinion if I were in your shoes. Get clear and solid direction from management that the payback of providing the information involved in a project will ROI in a specific timeframe. Get a budget number, and figure they will give you less and expect it sooner than promised. Assemble a team of existing personnel, a blend of consultants and staff. Use incentives to create more productivity. Most consulting companies want to prolong your project to enhance their revenue. Reward companies driven like that with the chance to be stakeholders too.  They should be helping you figure how to work themselves out of this project with a successful outcome so they can be included in your next project. If they are the SME’s, then they need to help you TRANSFER that knowledge in the process.

I am sure you will read this and say, “only in a perfect situation”.  My point is, very smart people are using the business information to be competitive.  Companies that plan to be here on the other side of these difficult times, won’t be able to get there if they just STOP all projects. Employees as well as consultants want to work. Having less money is better than having no money. Everyone needs get an attitude of success, cause trust me, failure will take care of itself.

Now I wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t plan for our own success. We at the DSXchange have been providing timely wisdom for thousands of consultants and employees over the last 7 years of InfoSphere based projects. We find that we have helped many companies shorten their project times, prevent costly mistakes, and even help IBM sell more software, all through education.  We believe that with the investment in making your team able to participate in premium content and provide reusable education (
our DVD’s),will help an ongoing process of domain based knowledge transfer produce favorable results.

It’s budget time, plan to keep the knowledge flowing for a successful outcome!

Have thoughts, ideas or feedback, I encourage you to write me at
editor@dsxchange.com.