Maxava Builds On IBM i Sustainability Efforts
June 1, 2015 Dan Burger
Corporate citizenship benefits the community. It helps create and maintain a healthy ecosystem for companies that are invested in the IBM i platform and the dedicated, career-oriented people with jobs that are tied to the system. Not everyone has to contribute to the community, but those that do improve the environment for everyone. Maxava, the New Zealand high availability and disaster recovery software vendor, is a shining example of a company actively supporting IBM i sustainability.
This will be the fifth consecutive year Maxava has supported the IBM midrange community by offering grants to help fund user group activities that further the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and skills related to IBM i. Through its iFoundation, Maxava encourages not-for-profit organizations to apply for grants up to $2,000. A total of $50,000 was set aside for the benefit of the community. The grants can be used to support activities such as educational conferences and workshops, speaker expenses, marketing and educational collaboration with local colleges and universities, and other similar activities.
The commitment to conscientious citizenship and the significant contribution to improve the sustainability of the IBM i community puts Maxava in a leadership role in addressing the challenges faced by the IBM i community.
Many local user groups have used Maxava iFoundation funding to pay basic expenses related to meeting venues, catering and the travel and lodging expenses of speakers who make presentations at monthly meetings or annual tech conferences. However, grants have also made it possible for activities such as the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association‘s “Women in IT Day” and Southeast Michigan IBM i User Group‘s cloud test sandbox initiative.
SEMIUG president Laura Ubelhor says Maxava grant money also has been used to fund student game activities at the local user group level and acquire access to an IBM i in the cloud through iDevcloud. Next year, SEMIUG will apply for iFoundation funding to support events that will be specifically oriented toward students.
Skip Marchesani, a member of the Vermont Midrange User Group, says the user group has a goal of providing members with “current, quality education for the IBM i.” VTMUG hosts a one-day technical conference in the fall of each year. Marchesani says the Maxava iFoundation grant allows the user group to bringing in nationally known speakers who are the experts in their respective fields. “This lets us offer quality education at a very reasonable price, with the result that many IBM i professionals who can’t necessarily attend the larger IBM i events can still access this kind of expertise locally.”
Funding from the iFoundation has also been applied to student participation in SEMIUG’s annual tech conference and the COMMON Education Foundation, which is involved with bringing students to the Fall COMMON Conference.
More applications for funding were received in 2014 than any of the preceding years, and it is expected that the number of applicants will increase again this year.
“We do expect to see some trimming of grants based on merit,” says Barbara Stuart, director of product management and marketing at Maxava. “In fact we are looking forward to there being more competition for funding because that means that we are in some way succeeding in nurturing real activity and vigor in the community. We want to allocate dollars where they’ll do the most good, in line with our aims of building and growing the IBM i community.”
Groups that are seeking new members and providing education are likely to have an advantage in the grant approval process. Another advantage would go to IBM i groups working with ERP vendors to create initiatives for both new techs to work in the IBM i market and for education of sales and marketing and product development people to appreciate the size and opportunity in the IBM i market.
“It might not be popular to say, but there is a real shortage of good sales and marketing people promoting and selling IBM i applications,” Stuart says. “Without the purchase of new applications that run on i, there will eventually be no need for IBM i systems and we will all be out looking for new jobs!”
“We are delighted to help ensure that a professional and engaged IBM i community has the necessary support to take advantage of new opportunities and flourish into the future,” Maxava CEO Allan Campbell said in announcing the latest funding for the community. “It has been great to see the recently reported improvement in IBM i sales and we hope this might signal a sustained upturn in fortunes.”
For details on the application process and a downloadable application form, visit www.maxavaifoundation.com. The deadline for submitting grant proposals is June 30. Funding decisions will be made by the end of July.