Chocolate and Data Integration
During the last two days, I had the privilege of attending the DataStage User Group in Bremen, Germany. I understand the city is the 10th largest town in the country, but my tour guide would say it is the richest in culture. I can attest to the fact that the location was beautiful - surrounded on three sides by both natural and man-made waterways and built with all the architectural charm you would expect of a historic German town. My laptop bag is filled with goodies for the kids and, of course, some chocolates for my wife.
As they have been meeting bi-annually for the past ten years, the user group celebrated their 20th meeting this week. The session opened with a review of topics that they have covered during each of these meetings. As we reviewed those topics, it was a great reminder of how far DataStage, Information Server and the industry as a whole have come. If you have an opportunity to read analysts' reports, you'll see that the market continues to expand as companies recognize increasing value from data integration tooling. For my part, I'm glad we're able to add value for our customers and I'm excited about what the future holds (more on that in a bit).
Our customers spent a good portion of this particular user group session brainstorming ideas for what they would like to see. What would make their everyday life easier, what other technologies would recognize value from integratation, how can we get trusted information to the right users in even more meaningful ways. I have to say that I was both impressed and proud. Impressed by the diversity of ideas and proud that we have such a rich level of data integration knowledge in this group. I was also proud of the IBM development team as many of the items that this group of users deemed as most strategic, are areas where we recently shipped functionality in our 8.5 release or are areas where we are actively investing. While I can't blog about what we are working on in the lab, we were able to have those discussions with these customers under the right legal caveats - and this made for some great dialogue. So, let me say "danke" to everyone who invested their time this week. I hope you received as much value from the time as we did.
As I began writing this blog, I realized that today marks the 100th day since I became the Product Manager for DataStage. A good portion of this time has been spent having these sorts of conversations with our customers. Since my notebook is running out of empty pages, I was curious about just how many of these meetings there have been. So, I poured through my calendar, email and notes and realized that I've spoken with 96 unique organizations (many of them multiple times) and have had the pleasure of meeting more than 60 of them in person. I was a little bummed that I didn't hit 100 unique companies (probably a little Monk of me) until I realized that I hadn't counted the Deep Dive session at the Information on Demand conference in Vegas last month which in itself tops that goal. So, after summing up all that time, I realized something very important - I should probably buy my wife some more chocolate :)
Of course, the number is not the important thing... the relationships and exchange of feedback and ideas are. If you're in my list already, "danke". The dialogues have been very meaningful for me and the team here at IBM. If you're not in that list yet, perhaps we'll meet at a user group. Or, if you'd like, I encourage you to drop me a line. I'd love to hear what you're doing and what you'd like to see in the future.