Award Ceremony Another Haines Jewel
March 22, 2005 Alex Woodie
IBM pulled out all the stops for the first iSeries Innovation Award ceremony at the COMMON conference in Chicago last week. The 100 or so guests of the invitation-only event–including representatives from the five OS/400 shops receiving awards for their innovative use of the server–were treated to a culinary and operatic ensemble from the brain of iSeries chief propagandist Malcolm Haines the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Dance of the Sugarplum Server at the fall 2000 COMMON in Baltimore.
Haines kicked off the event with a promise not to inundate guests with long-winded speeches, and they never were. Instead of being subjected to lengthy discourse, guests were unexpectedly cast in Haines’ creation, as participants in his play that unfolded around them for the next hour.
As guests munched on salads sprinkled with sugar-encrusted walnuts and sipped quality Cabernet, the evening’s entertainment unknowingly began when the head waiter, who spoke with an Italian accent and identified himself as “Alfredo,” came to the microphone. His seemingly innocent request, was that the owner of a recently found, expensive-looking purse please come forward and reclaim the property. Before stepping away, the confident Alfredo belted out a few impressive chords, and received his due applause.
Barely five minute later, Alfredo was back at the podium, informing the guests that the owner of the purse had been identified. As the story developed, the audience found out the purse belonged to another waiter a Frenchman by the name of Jean-Paul. With Jean-Paul’s purse-loving secret revealed, he felt it necessary to defend himself with a few melodious lines of his own, arguably more soul-felt and stirring than his bosses’. And so began the war of words, vocal chords, and national pride.
Before long, guests were digging into the main course–a complementary ensemble of chicken cordon bleu and filet mignon, served with sides of pilaf and vegetables–as Alfredo and Jean-Paul tried to out-do one another from opposite sides of the room by singing, trading national barbs, and serenading the ladies. Not until a third tenor, an Englishman, made the stage did the Italian and the Frenchman join forces to fight a common foe.
Within the fantasy of fireworks and fine dining, it was easy to forget why the gathering was called in the first place. After dessert–a medley of white and dark chocolate, berries, and pastries–it was time for the main attraction, the Innovation Award ceremony, and the recognition for outstanding real world uses of iSeries and OS/400 technology.
As IBM was getting its new iSeries marketing and incentive plans squared away early this year, it was also gearing up for the Innovation Awards, and it didn’t have a whole lot of time to do it. Less than two months ago, IBM asked its business partners to submit descriptions of imaginative, ingenious, and resourceful client engagements. From approximately 50 submissions, winners in five categories were chosen by a panel of 25 people.
Here are the winners:
U-Bix Konica Minolta, an office equipment manufacturer in New Zealand, won the Industry Solution Award for two iSeries-related projects. The first, called Project PDA, enabled service technicians using Palm Pilots to connect to the company’s iSeries server while out in the field. This implementation of wireless technology allowed them to log and track their work more easily and more efficiently. The other, called Project Sentinel, connected customers’ copiers and printers directly to the iSeries, allowing the company to remotely diagnose equipment problems and even to receive early warnings of impending failures. U-Bix Konica Minolta was nominated by Cosyn Software, and the award was accepted by Tony Day, the company’s general manager of services.
Kingland Systems, an Internet and application service provider based in Iowa, won the Insurance Award for its capability to deliver 99.999 percent availability for clients in the financial services industry. Kingland Systems process millions of dollars worth of financial transactions every day for its customers in 80 different countries, including several stock exchanges, and regularly replicates 40 to 50 million transactions a day between its primary and alternate systems. Kingland uses Lakeview Technology‘s MIMIX ha1 high availability software for OS/400.
GHY International, an international customs brokerage company based in Ottawa, won the Infrastructure Simplification Award for its Good, Better, Best server consolidation project that standardized multiple OS/400, Windows, Linux, and Domino applications running on 14 different servers. Despite an IT staff of just three people, GHY International managed to consolidate those applications and servers onto a pair of iSeries servers running Integrated xSeries Adapters. After the first year of running the new system, GHY was 14 percent under budget, and could directly attribute $100,000 in savings to the consolidation project. Nigel Fortlage, GHY’s vice president of IT, accepted the award.
Scott Klement of Wisconsin won the Intellectual Award for his ScottKlement.com Web site, where he offers an array of RPG tutorials, free RPG tools, and open source software projects for OS/400. Klement was nominated by Partner400.
The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, a private arts college with campuses across Southern California, won the Inventive Award for the creation of an iSeries-powered Web site, www.fidm.com, where industry contacts can post job openings, and which also enables more than 20,000 students and alumni to search for job openings posted across the Internet.
Each award winner received a beautiful Tiffany crystal sculpture, and additional benefits, including: COMMON membership for one year; up to five complimentary registrations to COMMON conferences; one complimentary registration to COMMON IT Executive conference at the Fall COMMON conference in Orlando; and feature articles in COMMON Connect Newsletter and IBM eServer iSeries Edition Magazine.