We have over 400 IBM Champions in the program, and we are going to use this blog to broadcast news about the program as well as highlight deserving Champions who are doing wonderful things around the world.
There are two ways to find Champions. The first is the 'Find a Champion' tab, that shows you all our IBM Champions across areas of expertise. Today, that link goes to a list of all our Champions and their profile links. Starting tomorrow, you will see a 'Find a Champion' page, that will allow you to narrow down and filter your search both by expertise as well as region. So please browse today, but definitely come back tomorrow as well. Of course if you are reading this on the 15th, then tomorrow has arrived.
In addition, you can start exploring these Champions from this post.
So for now, here's a listing of the Champions by expertise area
Lets start with the IBM Champions for Information Management. A little bit of history. The IBM Champion Program is an extension of the IBM Information Champion Program, which started three years ago. The program got off the ground thanks to the determination of Amit Patel, and then taken on by Beth Flood, who is the current Community Manager. I met quite a few of these folks at IOD and got a few spot interviews with them as well as full recordings of some speaking sessions. Look for upcoming blog posts with that information.
Next are the IBM Champions for Business Analytics. Many of them were at IOD and I must say that they are very approachable and extremely knowledgeable. There's a whole lot of Cognos knowledge amongst these Champions. In particular, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Lack who was honored with IOD IBM Champion Evangelist of the Year.
The first brand to go live with new IBM Champions once the program was expanded out to be a cross IBM initiative was Rational. Community Manager Susan Peich is doing a phenomenal job managing the relationship as well as doing great things with the Rational community on developerWorks. Rational's commitment to their IBM Champions is evident. Gina Poole, VP of Marketing for Rational announced the new Champions at Innovate 2011, to a crowd of thousands at the main tent during the keynote. The recognition was viewed by tens of thousands more, who watched livestreams and replays of the event.
Less than a month later,IBM Collaboration Solutions announced their fifty Champions at the Admin Dev conference in late June. For those stout of heart, here's a clip of Ed Brill doing the keynote. The Champion recognition is at the end of this clip. You have to make your way through it, but its worthwhile to see. Ed did a great job. For those who have questions about the Lotus program or want to reach out to the Community Manager in charge of the show, go find Joyce Davis.
For those of you looking for experts in Social Business, you need look no further. These folks clearly walk the talk. I've met a bunch of them and apart from being wickedly funny, they are very approachable (notice a theme here?) so go get to know them.
In the fourth quarter, we had STG Power Systems and Tivoli both onboard the IBM Champion Program. Colin Parris announced the IBM Champions for Power at Power Tech University on Oct 14, 2011. What was neat is that they got the Champions up on stage to say a few things about themselves. Great recognition for the Champions.
We will be using this blog to deliver news about the program overall as well as highlight great things that individuals are doing within the IBM Champions. If there are particular themes or individuals you want to hear about, or activity from a certain region, drop us a comment and we will do our best to oblige.
Brenny Ganesan (@brenny) IBM Champion Program Manager IBM developerWorks
IOD has come and gone, but the amount of great things that happened there are well worth re-iterating.
Personally speaking, it was my first IOD, as well as my first trip to Vegas. Lots of firsts going into the conference. I was told to wear comfortable shoes, be prepared to walk a lot, and to be ready for all the great things that were going to happen. An attendee put it best as we were both waiting for our shuttle to the Mandalay Bay. 'They [IBM] do a good job, but its big, and its crazy.'
I was going to pull double duty at IOD. Part of my time would be spent manning the developerWorks booth. There were lots of good things that happened there, but thats for another blog post. The second reason I was going was to support the IBM Champion Program activities at IOD, given that starting in April, the program had been expanded across all of IBM. IOD still had the strongest quotient of IBM Champions however, because the program was over three years old for Information Management. So with over 100 IBM Champions in attendance, there was a lot going on.
When you think about experts in an abstract way, its easy to define them from purely a business perspective. Cristian? Oh, he's a DB2 expert. Gonzalo? Oh yea, he does a lot of work with DataStage. Bonnie Baker? Definitely database performance. Rebecca Bond? Well her twitter and developerWorks profile handle says it all. DB2Locksmith. Unfortunately Rebecca wasn't at IOD this year, but I would highly recommend you follow her and go to her with your questions. I walked in thinking of Suresh Sane as a hall of fame IDUG speaker, and Frank Fillmore as the guy who blogged about unseating Oracle at a Fortune 100 Company.
Of course, all these things are true. These people are incredibly talented, and intrinsically motivated to succeed. But at the heart of it, they are people. They are very funny, extremely approachable, and very focused on collaborating. That's the part you don't get until you interact with them.
Take Cristian. We show up at his lecture on Monday morning as soon as the keynote was over. He's up at the podium getting his laptop set up. I go and ask about the video taping and get him to sign his consent. He smiles ruefully and says 'Oh. This means I cannot create trouble now, during my talk.' Quite the contrary I told him. Having a camera means that you definitely should create trouble. It makes for better footage. He grins and then goes on to deliver a fantastic session. It's clear he really knows what he's talking about. How? He allows questions in the middle of his pitch. He answers when people go off in tangents. Because he's that good.
They're clearly well known. I suppose you would be if Aravind Krishna announces you and thanks you during the Monday morning keynote, in front of a 10K+ crowd, with tens of thousands more watching the livestream.
The best way to give you a flavor of some of these Champions is to let you hear them. Here is an interview done at IOD by our very own Scott Laningham, with IBM Champion Sheryl Larsen.
The video that we made of Cristian's speaking session at IOD is in the works. We should have it up shortly. If you'd like me to notify you when its up, either leave a comment here or ping me on my profile or tweet me.
In addition to Cristian's session we also captured sessions by Gonzalo Angelieri and Bonnie Baker. I have to say, they are all worth watching, and we will have them all up soon for your viewing pleasure.
I will leave you with a question. When it comes to technology, what content do you prefer on video vs in text form? Are interviews like this with experts interesting, or would you prefer that they cut to it and talk about the technology they know and love?
What happens when IBM Champions talk about their career
paths? Since May, I've interviewed 13
different IBM Champions with my partner-in-crime, David Pittman. We ask
each Champion about their work, their background and what’s shaping their industry.
Inevitably, these conversations turn towards community. Several of our Champions hold leadership roles in their
respective user groups, and nearly all of them mentioned how valuable the
groups are throughout their careers. Champion for DB2 Julian
Stuhler explained, “We’ve got people who are willing to take
their hard-won experience and stand up at conferences and mentor people and
pass on their hard-won skills so that other users and organizations don’t have
to suffer the same kind of knocks and bruises that they suffered going through
Christensen, who helped found the IBM Content Managers OnDemand User Group
(ODUG), heartily agrees, saying that user groups are “a win-win-win for
everyone. Whenever you get organizations together, they’re sharing ideas and
experiences…. How many times do you get three large telecoms who compete
against each other sitting together around a table, talking about how they can
use the product better? That is huge.” User groups also help hurdle language barriers. Miguel
Carbone helped found the Brazilian Informix Users Group
(BRIUG) and is helping develop a similar group for Spanish-speaking Latin America.
Miguel sees BRIUG as a vital link between Brazilian users, IIUG and IBM,
noting, “We are delivering the message better, and the customer can communicate
with IIUG and IBM better.” This enables local users lacking English fluency to
network and access vital ideas and information, while also funneling concerns
to the international group. Communities work both ways: newer users can learn the
lessons of their predecessors, while established users who have moved onto
consulting roles (like many of our Champions) learn from those “in the
Baker invests a lot of time in IDUG, traveling the globe to
present at various conferences where she also takes time to learn. “Gaining
knowledge is so important to me,” she said, admitting that she learns more from
her students than they realize. “They have the day-to-day, hands-on familiarity
with DB2 that I used to have.”
Beyond conferences and user group meetings, communities are
taking new forms, including incredible growth in virtual worlds that we couldn't have imagined twenty years ago. Jim
Harris, the “Shakespearean data quality consultant” I first met
two years ago via Twitter, leverages social media for his daily work, building
an online community of experts from around the world who share best practices.
“Social media has made my world so much smaller,” Jim explained, noting that he
can access a wealth of thought leaders without needing to leave his Iowa home,
gaining insight into how they solve a variety of data management puzzles. Based in Argentina, Cecilia
Rodriguez-Babino agrees, mentioning that she relies on Twitter to keep her updated
on InfoSphere news and trends, including blogs penned by other Champions. But communities are also about giving back. Julian
explained, “I personally got a big lift up quite early in my career and relied
quite heavily on people who shared their experiences and skills with me, and I've always felt quite keenly that I should be repaying that debt to the DB2
community.” Many of the Champions noted similar “pay-it-forward” reasons for
being engaged with their communities. With the Champions well-integrated into their respective
user communities, users around the world benefit from shared ideas and best
practices, plus a sense of camaraderie that can help a technical challenge seem
much more manageable. Check out our series
of interviews, and subscribe so you’ll see each new edition. We publish
every two weeks. How has your career been impacted by user groups and
UPDATE 1/30/2012: The IBM Champion nomination period for Rational software occurred from January 4-27, 2011! Thank you for nominating such outstanding candidates. We look forward to announcing our 2012 champions this Spring. If you'd like to participate in the 2013 nominations, see our program description below and look for opportunities to share your expertise with your technical peers this year..
ORIGINAL POST: Do you know a fan of Rational software who is telling the world about it? Then they might have what it takes to be an IBM Champion. Our champions actively evangelize our tools and practices by running user groups, managing websites, speaking at conferences, writing books or blogs, or sharing their knowledge through relevant social media, online forums, and communities.
In 2011, we selected 10 champions for Rational software. Hear what a few of them have to say about how being Rational thought leaders has helped them emerge as experts in their communities:
You can nominate yourself or someone else between January 4-27, 2012. Be explicit about how and where your nominee spreads the word about Rational software. A panel of IBMers will evaluate each nominee's contributions over the past 12 months, and will look at their community and social media impact, expertise, and overall community contributions, both in terms of quality and level of participation across a wide variety of activities. Nominees will be notified by IBM if they are selected.
Although IBM employees are not eligible for the program, they are encouraged to nominate deserving partners and clients.
Benefits for being selected as an IBM Champion
IBM Champions retain their title for one year, after which they can apply for renewal. In addition to merchandise customized with the IBM Champion logo, they also receive:
special visibility, recognition and networking opportunities at IBM events and conferences
special access to product development teams
invitations and discounts to events and conferences
online recognition via their Lotus Connections profile on developerWorks, with a special designation of "IBM Champion" and a listing of notable achievements.
As director of data management and information delivery and the chief data architect at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Frank Brooks is in the middle of a world where data, technology and rules are constantly changing. Since joining BlueCross in 1986, when “no one knew what ‘data management’ meant,” Frank has been instrumental in creating and implementing numerous data management strategies.
Today, he heads a team of 125 professionals charged with database administration, data integration, business intelligence, information management (IM) health informatics, enterprise architecture and IM business informatics.
The IBM Champion program recognizes innovative thought leaders in the technical
community — and rewards these contributors by amplifying
their voice and increasing their sphere of influence. An IBM Champion is an
IT professional, business leader, developer, or educator who influences and mentors others
to help them make best use of IBM software, solutions, and services.
Ultimately, IBM Champions advocate for the community of
technical professionals using IBM solutions, services,
or products. In that role, IBM Champions will
collectively represent the spectrum of IBM products
and technologies, including:
Having spoken at an IDUG conference for the 38th time this time around,
Phil is about as old to IDUG as he is to DB2 as a technology. In this
video, he recounts his experience of working with IDUG and talks about
what sets this group apart from the others.
This is a listing of the 2012 WebSphere Champions, and how to find them in prominent social networks.
If you are interested in contacting a Champion personally, please use the "Talk to Us" links provided.
One of the most common questions we get at the Champion program is "What are you looking for that makes a person an IBM Champion?"
This is a more complicated question than it seems.
To begin with, most of the IBM Champions are actually nominated by the community - almost 60% of Champions have their name submitted by one of their peers from an online community or at work. The other nominations are either from people self-nominating, or through IBM recommendations. Generally IBMers support the nominations that have been submitted by the community. The IBM Champion program leads do not nominate or look for Champions on their own - we'd be biased during the selection process if we did.
During the nomination process, the IBM Champion program and the selection committees are looking for exactly that - people who champion IBM when they have the opportunity. This almost always boils down to being active with social media, having gained or developed significant expertise within their specialty area, and/or given back to the community in some way.
When the program first began, we were really just hoping to find members of the community who were technical experts - people that could be counted on to give the correct answer when a problem arose. What we found was that the community leaders of the IBM ecosystem were much better than that, and we had to re-think what was really a Champion.
We had Champion nominations who were incredibly social adept - active on Twitter, with developerWorks, or writing blogs and creating podcasts of their own. Many of our nominations were staple figures of the online community, and IBM needed to recognize that through being so dedicated to spreading the word online, they were championing IBM in a very relevant way.
We also had Champion nominations who were absolute technical leaders. Champions who had been using IBM products since their inception, and had developed or helped to develop some of the defining features of those software offerings. These Champions who would give a session that was the equivalent of a master class at a conference - incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. In some cases, these Champions weren't the most socially present - and that was okay. There was a great deal they'd done for the community, and they'd passed on a lot of their knowledge through their work and contributions.
Lastly, we had Champions who just plain-ol' loved to talk about IBM. These were Champions who would go out of their way to make their opinion about IBM known, and that they were impressed with what IBM had done with their offerings. Not being immune to flattery, we definitely felt that this sort of behavior fit the description of being an "IBM Champion". If there were people out there defending IBM against our competitors - then this was almost the definition of "championing" a cause. It wasn't a fanatical zealotry, but just a logical train of reasoning that these people had developed as to their choice of working with IBM. Sp. there also arose a need for us to recognize these members of the IBM community.
With such pools of candidates, it is always incredibly difficult to make decisions as to who is to be selected to be an IBM Champion. To choose one great candidate also means that we have to make sure that all this person is truly a better Champion than the ones not chosen. And that line is constantly shifting as the program grows, expands, and evolves over time.
But there has always been a constant - every year we receive a few dozen nominations that are truly stellar - members of the community who have been consistently advocating for IBM, are connected to the social community, and have gathered a vast pool of knowledge about their work. We have Champions like this already, and each year we find more. Some are Champions who have stepped up their activity in the year, or others who have just learned about the program. Regardless, nominees who have this combination are always considered incredibly seriously.
Maybe that clarifies things a bit for people who are wondering "What makes a person Champion material?". We hope to see many of your nominations in the future!
In a recent episode of the “Talking Big Data” podcast, IBM Champion Jean-Marc Blaise questions IBM big data expert Leon Katnelson on when you need a big data solution and what is the most cost-effective way to introduce technology that will allow you to analyze and pull insights from vast amounts of data.
Operations for most organizations involve complex processes straddling not just the company, but suppliers and partners too. If this isn't complex enough, you can add to that mix the growing market volatility from factors such as shifting consumer demands and global competition. Companies that will win out are those who are most agile and can cope with change.
As James points out, analytics can be helpful in dealing with operations and many organizations are currently missing this opportunity by focusing solely on customer-centric operations and risk management. Analytics can play a pivotal role in uncovering those pernicious "hidden decisions": that is, those decisions made the same way every time because we never stop to interrogate our assumptions by weighing up the data. (I can't help think back to a comment made by Kaggle Chief Scientist Jeremy Howard that most of the folks that win the organization's seminal challenges are not domain experts but rather data scientists with the skill to examine the data with an unbiased eye.)
So which areas can see the benefits from employing business analytics to help with operations? Examples include better scheduling for human resources and better utilization of physical assets. Businesses can achieve new inventory ratios, new fraud ratios and new customer service ratios - all leading to an increase in ROI.
James goes on to provide an overview and recommendations on getting started with an analytics solution to improve operational efficiency.
Last week IBM made a major announcement in the data management space: a technology dubbed ‘BLU Acceleration’ that provides major performance and compression enhancements to the DB2 and Informix line of products.
Many of our IBM Champions were given privileged access to the launch and have shared their views on the implications of BLU:
As Philip Nelson explains, “we are being given a columnar data store integrated into the core DB2 engine, with potentially huge benefits for Business Intelligence workloads." He makes the point that database professionals need to be well versed in all the available storage options, from RDBMS to pureXML and beyond, and understand when it makes sense to implement each. He suggests the same is true of the new BLU technology: "Its obvious that not everything is right for BLU. But some things are absolutely right for it. Getting it right will be our challenge."
Meanwhile, Dave Beulke points to the key features of this new offering:
A new level of data compression using in-memory columnar table data store technology
Actionable Compression that preserves the data value order of information while compressed
Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) technology which takes advantage of the latest manufactured microprocessor chipsets and “is like a drill sergeant issuing a command to entire platoon instead of to each individual serially”
Data skipping for unnecessary or irrelevant data not needed for a SQL answer
James Taylor live blogged all sessions at the launch event but in one post centered around BLU Acceleration he explains the technical improvements announced: “10TB of data is compressed to 1TB in memory. The use of a column store means that only 10GB is accessed and data skipping focused on 1Gb. This is spread across many cores so each only handles 32MB and the single Instruction Multiple Data processing means that even this is handled more quickly."
Mike Martin from BTRG live-tweeted the event, and pointed to how the announcement dovetails to the current industry trends: “IT Mega trends: growing scale/lower barrier to entry, increased complexity/consumabilty, fast pace, contextual overload”
BP3's Scott Francis recently shared his perspective on the latest Forrester Wave report for Business Process Management (BPM). Among his observations are the realization by Forrester that BPM has a strong role to play in that topic du jour in the business/technology space: building better customer experiences.
Scott points out that the cloud model greatly simplifies installation and deployment and so opens the door for more widespread adoption of BPM in the enterprise. He sides with Forrester on their assessment of the IBM acquisitions in this space: "It was nice to see recognition from Forrester that IBM really has stitched together its many technical components into a unified experience. Hats off to Phil Gilbert and Lombardians and IBMers for pulling this off."
We’re only hours away from launch of the 2013 IBM Impact extravaganza showcasing the latest innovations in enterprise technology. Given the current state of the industry, you can be sure there will be a lot of content around enterprise mobility and how this is impacting (excuse the pun) the tech space.
We’ll have a number of IBM Champions featured throughout the conference and we’ll be highlighting many of those contributions here on this blog. If you are at Impact, visit the Champions Corner in the Client References Lounge and look out for a special promotion of Champions during the opening session on Day 3.
In this interview, IBM Champion Scott Francis explains how their BPM solution helps make software “a background issue rather than a foreground issue”.
He suggests that when it comes to considering the development of a mobile BPM solution, you should look at the value this will bring, rather than looking at it as a problem. IBM Worklight, IBM BPM and BP3 work well together for the creation of mobile BPM applications.
As an example of the advantages of a mobile BPM application, he suggests that field engineers could be assigned work based on their location. Another example is that claims processing could be done from any location: not just from the office.
On IBM’s MobileFirst strategy, Scott points out that this ties together all the elements required for the development of an enterprise mobile strategy into one composite story.
In this interview, IBM Champion Franclim Bento from Banco Espirito Santo explains the value of their BPM program.
In terms of the value a BPM solution can bring, Franclim illustrates how they were able to take complex paper-driven processes with huge amounts of data and create a BPM and ECM solution that reduced processing time from hours to minutes.
On the question of how you best implement a BPM solution, Franclim suggests starting small and demonstrating value on quick wins.
IBM Champion Johannes Bohm-Mader explains how through banking he developed an interest in WebSphere MQ. He talks about the complexity of creating secure messaging services in high-availability environments.
IBM Champion John Capriotti from TBC Corporation talks about how the service component of automotive maintenance is being transformed by technology.
On the one hand associates that work across automotive brands always need the latest information on every model. Creating better point-of-sale applications for the associates helps them provide a better level of service.
On the other hand, cars now have many more sensors and the ability to maintain a record of their telemetrics that can be transferred to a service associate at the point of service. Car owners can receive better service whilst having to know less about their vehicles.
In this interview, IBM Champion Laks Sundararajan explains how more of his clients are looking to develop applications that can service customer interactions that take place across multiple channels, including mobile and the desktop. Customers are also looking to automate processes in order to realize efficiencies.
Laks points out that tools such as Worklight and WebSphere Portal are key for designing these kinds of multi-channel applications that can securely connect with backend processes.
In this interview at IBM Impact, Rene Crozier from Kaiser Permanente, the US healthcare provider, explains that IBM WebSphere Application Server provides stability and a manageable solution when dealing with large-scale topologies. For a healthcare provider like Kaiser, security and uptime is a key goal. One of the areas she is currently looking into is the development of mobile apps for healthcare.