United States, Japan, and EMEA Combine iManifest Efforts
May 10, 2010 Dan Burger
You have to look at iManifest as a never-ending struggle. Whether you think that it is IBM‘s battle to fight or not, the continued progress of the IBM i, System i, iSeries, AS/400, or whatever you like to call it depends on those who truly believe it is something special and should be more than IBM’s best kept secret.
It’s hard to argue with the strategy that employs strength in numbers, especially when building a groundswell of support. So while the iManifest U.S. organization looks to build its ranks from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it most assuredly gets a boost by joining iManifest Japan and iManifest EMEA. The joining of forces was announced at the COMMON Annual Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, last week.
However, rather than forming a single venture that spans international borders, the cooperative venture will be more selective than collective. The common goal at this point is to build a library of 1,000 success stories that can be used to demonstrate the value and the technological advancements that make the i For Business option a smart choice. (Smarter choices make for a smarter planet?) Each iManifest organization will primarily be involved with their own goals and objectives.
“Our focus is to help get those stories,” Jeff Olen told me in Orlando last week. Olen, Frank Soltis, Mike Pavlak, and nine software vendors comprise iManifest U.S. The organization plans to recruit the success stories by placing notices on the iManifest Web site, member Web sites, and emails to IBM i customers. If you want to contribute, www.imanifest-us.com/stories.php has been set up to receive stories. Contributors will be contacted after their stories have been reviewed.
Most independent software vendors already have case studies prepared. Olen says these would be welcome as part of the collection, but the emphasis will be on how the system–the combination of hardware, software, and operating system–solves problems rather than strictly a packaged application emphasis. Many of these vendor case studies could be easily modified to be more i specific.
The IBM i customer base is being encouraged to sound off about individual successes based on business problem solving, developer triumphs, and cost or workflow efficiencies. Olen calls it “a report from the front lines” type of story. (A word of caution, however, get executive approval before assuming your company won’t mind having its name used. It’s better to clear these types of things in advance than get disapproval after the fact.)
One of the leaders in the iManifest Japan organization, S. Kakizawa, attended the COMMON conference. Kakizawa is president and CEO of Sanwa Comtec, a software and services company based in Tokyo. He is a director of the iManifest Japan Advisory Board and among a core group of executives that have made that organization the model for what iManifest U.S. hopes to become. Kakizawa is also the founder of iMagazine, a successful quarterly publication specializing in IBM i, System i, iSeries, and AS/400 content.
There are already more than 100 success stories published on the iManifest Japan Web site.
In the meeting with the iManifest U.S. group, Kakizawa related how the first objective of the Japanese organization was to buy a full-page advertisement in The Nippon Economic Journal, a news-oriented business publication with a circulation of 3 million. Kakizawa says that single ad resulted in a huge increase in visitors to the iManifest Japan Web site: The average number of visitors before the ad was between 100 and 200; after the ad, it was 25,000. The cost to each iManifest member company was approximately $1,000. He predicted the same positive impact would happen in the U.S. if a similar ad was placed in a major financial publication.
Currently the companies participating in iManifest include: LANSA, ProData Computer Services, Raz-Lee Security, DRV Technologies, BCD, New Generation Software, Quadrant Software, Xperia, and Linoma Software.