For the past several weeks, I have been very busy with customer engagements. I was in Orlando for the Enterprise 2013 conference, where I had the opportunity to talk to a large number of people who work for customers using big Power Systems and IBM i. I also participated in some webinars held in conjunction with some of our partners, and talked to several clients in the Rochester Executive Briefing Center.
But lately, I have been in China and Japan.
In China, I have been working with Power Systems Sales Specialists to help figure out how to better communicate the value of Power Systems to our clients. And, yes, because I am involved, I definitely talk about the directions for IBM i. It’s been an interesting project – a bit different from my typical interactions at briefings and conferences.
In Japan, I joined Ian Jarman and Alison Butterill for the 24th annual IBM System Users Conference. We were in Beppu this year - like COMMON, the location changes each year to cater to the various communities of users around the country. Beppu is a very pretty location, with mountains and ocean right next to one another, and from the conference center we could see both.
I spoke about IBM i Trends and Directions, of course. Ian and I also repeated the IBMi25 “double act” we started at COMMON this past April. Both sessions were very well received.
Equally important, however, were three breakout sessions that were held for specific groups in the Japanese community: iManifest, the Open Source Consortium, and a group of customers called the IBM Users Association. Each had their own unique concerns, but every single group wanted to discuss the future of RPG.
This was great, because the recent announcement of Free Form RPG in Technology Refresh 7 gave us the perfect opportunity to lay out the many modern enhancements IBM has made to the language, as well as to discuss how Free Form came about and what might be coming next. RPG was also on the mind of the customers and IBMers I visited in China. Now, as might be expected, there are still people in these countries (as there are around the world) who have not embraced the newer capabilities of RPG – yet. But the list of powerful capabilities that are available – especially when you include the tools available for RPG in the latest Rational Developer for i – make a compelling argument for looking at improving the way these customers use the language.
Before I close, I want to share a photo with you.
At the conference in Japan each year, the leaders of the conference are easily identified by the special coats they wear. These coats are a tradition in Japan, and are called “Happy Coats.” Ian Jarman has been coming to Japan for over two decades, but he has never had the chance to wear a Happy Coat. This year, one of our friendly IBM hosts allowed Ian to borrow it for a picture or two. As you can see, Ian was quite happy about it.
Well, that’s it for now. As you read this, I will be back in China talking Power Systems and IBM i. Keep following your IBM i Champions on social media to hear the latest news. Twitter doesn’t work in China, so you’ll have to wait a few weeks to hear me tweet #IBMi once again.