SHARE in Boston 2013 Journal: Tales from the Sessions

My last two blog posts focused on the keynotes for the recent SHARE in Boston conference. And while those were both worthy of coverage, the heart and soul of SHARE’s events are the sessions themselves. A wide range of subjects were covered, each worthwhile. Following are the highlights from a few of the more widely-attended sessions in the early part of the week that was SHARE in Boston.


MVS ( a.k.a. z/OS) keynote:  The Dynamic Data Center – Has IT Lost Control?
Michael Madden, General Manager,  Mainframe, CA Technologies

This session, much like many at SHARE, gave credit to the undeniable fact that the world of all things IT is changing. Just as Greg Lotko noted in his keynote, the consumerization of IT is driving the trends in tech. On a deeper level, this is changing the nature of enterprise IT spend. Mike Madden, General Manager, Mainframe, CA Technologies, asserts that by 2015, 35% of total IT spend will occur outside of the department. That is, IT will be budgeting dollars to handle issues which are not necessarily inherently theirs. Madden attributed this change in spend to “shadow IT” -  technologies users adopt on their own rather than obtaining through corporate channels.

So what is the dynamic data center his session is titled after? According to Madden, it’s what solves shadow IT issues. To explain this, he starts by establishing that he advocates the approach Steve Jobs took with his products for Apple:  Start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology to make it real. Madden then harkens back to his opening message:  The world of IT is changing and you have to change with it. Address changes in people, processes, tools, and technology. Lastly, he says that the mainframe is the catalyst in the world of changing IT. IT must enable innovation and System z will be right there to help.

Madden explained how organizations can put their modern workloads on System z. He highlighted the benefits including cost effectiveness, better performance, reliability, scalability, security and potential help with all things cloud, mobility, and analytics. He closed by saying it’s important to take advantage of technology in a dynamic world and highlighted the following things organizations should be doing:

  • Maximize asset utilization by accelerating mainframe cloud deployment
  • Transform the management paradigm via increased efficiency in managing roles and capabilities
  • Cross-enterprise management and automation born of visibility of enterprise transactions and dynamic resource configuration
  • Mobility for systems management by taking advantage of mobile applications

Honorable mention: Social Media, Privacy and Security
Panel discussion

I only attended this session briefly as I moved about to maximize my exposure to great thought leadership, but the short time I was there involved a rather heated debate.

The subject came up about making it clear that your thoughts and actions are your own and not those of the company you work for when being active in social media. As many individuals were attending SHARE in Boston on behalf of their respective companies, it then got brought up whether or not anything you do or say while wearing a lanyard at an event should/would reflect on just you or your company. The crowd seemed almost evenly divided on the issue.

What do you think? If your company foots the bill for you to attend SHARE in Anaheim (March 9-14, 2014), do your social media actions reflect back on them?

Architecting your Career (Teching your Way to the Top!)
Frank DeGilio, IBM Corp.

The last session I want to call out is another one which didn’t put the spotlight on the mainframe, but on the men and women working with it day in and day out. Frank DeGilio gave an absolutely excellent talk on the different ways in which IT employees can help their careers. Moreover, many of the maxims he shared were something which can offer value for anyone in any industry.

Here’s a taste of what Frank laid down:

  1. If you argue for your limitations, you will keep them.
  2. Know what you’re worth (salary-wise). Know your value to the company.
  3. Consider obtaining certifications to add to your value.
  4. Everyone should be published. Write a blog. You have a vision, a perspective. Share it.
  5. Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t just stay with what’s easy. Take a risk.
  6. Be curious. Be humble. Be flexible.
  7. Remember kindergarten rules. Thank people. It’s the small things that people remember.

Frank had a number of other insights as well, but these stuck out for me. And I’d suggest paying close attention to the first point and the fifth.

The wisdom of the first point is something which echoes through our whole lives. If you find yourself lining up reasons why you can’t do something or why it won’t work out, you’ll always find yourself limited in your actions and possibilities.

Similarly, it’s always a great idea to get out of your comfort zone. I operate by the maxim that the greatest risk is not taking one. If you never take on the project that could be a big success (or an epic failure), you miss chances to make significant jump in your career goals.

DeGilio will surely be on hand for SHARE in Anaheim and I’d highly recommend attending a session of his. Incidentally, he was honored at SHARE in Boston with a SHARE Best Session Award for his excellent presentations at a previous SHARE.

 Ryan Segovich attended SHARE in San Francisco on special assignment. Follow him on Twitter @TIRyan2.  Follow SHARE on Twitter @SHAREhq.

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