Take The Top Concerns Survey, Ask Others To Do The Same
October 8, 2012 Dan Burger
You work in the IBM i community. That gives you a perspective that is worth talking about. Some of that perspective is shared by others who work on the IBM midrange platform and the overall IT professional community. Some of your perspectives are unique to your own career, the company that employs you, and your geographic location. You’re integrated, but you are also a silo of proprietary information.
This is about sharing your information. It’s about becoming more integrated with the IBM i community and with IBM. I’m talking about feedback. I’m talking about your view of the IBM i landscape. This is your opportunity to toot your horn or shake your fist–or both.
Speak now or forever hold your peace. Well, maybe not “forever,” you’ll have other chances, but I encourage you to speak now.
The COMMON Europe collective, on behalf of the members of the COMMON worldwide user group, conducts an annual survey called Top Concerns. It’s designed to illuminate topics that the users of IBM i on Power Systems–and the previous systems in this lineage if that’s what you work with–believe are important.
This is the “last call” for the users to participate in the 2012 survey. The official deadline is today, October 8, but I have the word of Ranga Deshpande, the tireless promoter and tabulator of the survey, that a grace period will be in effect until the end of this week. So Please give Ranga more work and ultimately give IBM more to think about. Participation is a great indicator that users care about the platform. Bigger is always better when it comes to survey results. And we both know that IBM likes to talk about how well it listens to its customers. It takes about five minutes to complete the multiple choice questions. You can write as much as you like (or nothing at all) in the comments section.
You can access the online survey here. You do not have to be a member of COMMON to take the survey.
It’s a bit embarrassing to note participation from the Americas region could use a boost. It’s lagged behind Europe in recent years, and should have more support.
If you are a consistent reader of IT Jungle, you would have seen an article advocating the 2012 survey a month ago. You would also be familiar with past survey results from articles we’ve published in the past. At the bottom of this story, check out the Related Stories links to fill in some of the history.
If you are wondering who participates in the Top Concerns survey, I can give you one example: Yvonne Enselman. She’s a testing and deployment analyst at Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. I met Enselman at the COMMON 2012 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Anaheim, California, last May. So, out of the blue, I contacted her last week to ask about Top Concerns. She had already taken the survey, which she described as quick and easy.
In the comments section she wrote of her belief that COMMON and IBM need to recognize what she calls the “hybrid professional,” those who bridge the gap between the technical-developer types and the business managers. She believes there should be an outreach program that targets the hybrids to be better educated about the IBM i.
“It is up to individuals who see this need,” she says while implicating herself, “to fill it by championing the IBM i in their own worlds.” Her point, recorded in the Top Concerns survey, was that she could use some help. She’s just one person with an idea about advocating for the IBM i.
“I caught Steve Will’s keynote on the future of the i and its place in the IBM family at OMNI’s user conference a couple of weeks ago,” Enselman told me while discussing limited resources and staffs that are stretched and stressed. “I came away feeling the i team is there for us, and we need to be there for them. I see the schedules Steve, Alison Butterill, Dawn May, and others on the team are keeping. I am concerned that the i team is overworked and might need more support from IBM as a whole, but I would say that about a lot of organizations that are running too lean. I don’t see that as IBM not supporting the i per se, I just hope some new talent can come on board (or rise through the ranks) and supplement the current rock stars.”
Enselman is big on volunteering. She’s been involved with the Omni User group in the greater Chicago area, including a stint on the board of directors and the committee that organizes the annual technical conference.
Her opinion is that the alliance between COMMON and IBM is strong and the information COMMON gets from its membership–including the information gathered in the Top Concerns survey–is organized and communicated by an impressive group of volunteers.
“The responses to surveys don’t languish in a database feeding a couple of reports,” she says. “Real people and professionals take that data and work with IBM to respond.”