New i Manifest Americas Marketing Director Seeks Volunteers
May 9, 2011 Dan Burger
Shaking off the effects of losing its most effective recruiter and marketing savant just one month ago, IBM i Manifest Americas has found a new volunteer to lead the organization’s efforts to increase awareness and build membership. Last week, during the COMMON 2011 Annual Conference and Expo, it was announced that Jennifer Phillips had volunteered to move into the marketing director position at i Manifest, which includes multiple responsibilities.
Phillips is a veteran of the IBM midrange community and currently has the marketing director position at Quadrant Software, a document management company with its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to joining Quadrant, she was the marketing director at 10ZiG Technology, a thin client design and development company based in Phoenix, Arizona.
The IBM i Manifest Americas initiative, which began in 2009 as a grassroots movement to market the strengths of the IBM i platform running on Power Systems, has sputtered in its attempts to gain members and build marketing momentum. Early on there were financial pledges made by about a dozen ISVs, but widespread support has yet to develop. Along the way, it brought former IBM i chief scientist Frank Soltis into the fold, which considerably boosted the group’s profile. Although retired from IBM, Soltis continues a busy worldwide traveling schedule related to IBM i customers and speaking engagements for organizations such as COMMON, local user groups, and the iManfest initiatives in Japan and in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as the United States.
About five months ago, the i Manifest Americas leaders, which include Jeff Olen and Mike Pavlak in addition to Soltis, brought in Jenniefer Halverson, who–like Phillips–was a marketing pro in the IBM i community. Halverson volunteered to implement organizational steps along with an i Manifest awareness campaign aimed at increasing membership. Her efforts were cut short, however, after she accepted a marketing job with a vendor outside the IBM i community and a rift developed within i Manifest as to whether a volunteer with a job outside the community was right for the job.
“The success of the i Manifest depends on having a strong point person to help facilitate all of the moving parts,” Olen said in press release made available last Thursday. Certainly no one knows this better than Olen, who has had a close-up view of the many moving parts.
Until recently, the glaring weakness at i Manifest Americas was the crippling lack of organization. The reason for this is directly related to the amount of work that needs to be done relative to the few volunteers lined up to assist the efforts. Clearly this is not a one-person job. It’s also not a job for two, three, or four people. More volunteers are required and recruiting them is a top priority.
“It’s crucial to establish structure and focus within the organization before anything else,” Phillips noted in the same press release. “Next steps for the group are to establish a mission statement and actionable goals which will happen quickly, likely within the next couple of weeks. The passion for the platform is infectious, and I’m confident with the help of the community we can achieve great things.”
The organization defines its goals bringing together IBM i business partners, independent software vendors, consultants, and customers in a united effort to revitalize the IBM i market and increase the customer base; assure existing IBM i customers, resellers, and ISVs that the IBM i will continue to prosper; and inform the wider technology community of the unique value proposition of IBM i platform.
Phillips says her number one priority is to recruit individuals willing to participate at the committee level in areas such as membership, reach, technology, marketing, and finance/admin/legal.
And as Olen pointed out, “There’s no lack of enthusiasm for the platform. What we need now are individuals to step up to join our cause to promote the IBM i.”
Those who want to pitch in on this effort as being urged to contact i Manifest at this email address info@iManifest-us.com.