This is Brussels covered with snow from one of the floors at the Sheraton Hotel where the SW IOT Sales and Tech Sales Training was held during the week of 2/8/10-2/12/10. SW IOT is defined as the Southwest region of Europe comprising of countries like Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Subjects covered by this internal sales training include Infosphere, Data Management, Optim, and others. Representing Informix were Terri Gerber for Sales and I for Tech Sales. I presented sessions on the following: 1) Overall Informix business and recent references, 2) Preview of Panther features, 3) Informix Warehousing and ISAO, 4) Informix High Availability features and 5) Informix Embeddability.
The first day consisted of a number of general sessions where Alyse Passerali (WW DM Sales VP) talked about the overall state of business and key plays for DM in 2010. This is followed by general sessions on how to use "White Boarding" for Sales. White-boarding is a new process to get our Sales teams in engaging potential customers in an interactive dialogue to learn their business problems and demonstrate our solutions. I sat through each of the sales sessions that Terri Gerber conducted (Spain/Portugal, Benelux, France, Italy0 and answered questions whereever I could.
My technical sales training sessions were quite well attended, with some dedicated IT specialists from France, Italy, Belgium and Spain. Jose Manuel Gallud has always been a great help in the region. I met others including Mario Rocco Garasto, Stefan Van den Borre and Dr. Simone Moncini. I was able to use a number of public references, e.g. Cisco, Jalisco Mexico, DHL-Germany, China Mobile, Peapod, Hilton Hotels, and others.
One of the keynote session was regarding the new solution offered by Guardiam, a recent acquisition specializing in Data Governance. Their solutions work with any database as they do "sniffing" of SQL operations before they get to the database. Their solution usually involves a hardware component, but a software only solution also exists. I've confirmed with our own in-house security expert (Jonathan Leffler) that this is a solution we should be discussing with our Informix customers.
Besides the presentations, I had good interactions with many of the account teams resulting in possible opportunities in the region. If I do return to the region at their request, I hope it will have better weather. With the snow in Brussels, the airport was temporarily closed. Just walking around the hotel was difficult due to the snow and windy conditions. But there were some fantastic food. Of course, some authentic Belgium waffle and Belgium chocolate. On my way back to the U.S., I was delayed in Washington DC for 6 hours, not due to snow, but due to mechanical problems on the plane. They finally switched plane and instead of getting me back around 7:30pm, I got in at 1:30am. in SFO. Add another hour of driving to get home after that.