What a fantastic community our IBM Power Systems Users Group is! The success of TEC 2010 was a testament to the partnership between the community of College/University, Users, Vendors, IBM and a dedicated TUG. We had 356 conference registrations, which is more than a 300% increase from the year before and clear evidence that local IBM user communities are alive and well! TEC 2010 took many risks with this new project, including the following:
- All-new location Seneca@York University vs. traditional hotel
- Introduced new topics: Commercial Open Source and Mobile Computing
- Introduced new partners: Kryos, SugarCRM, Zend, RIM, xTuple, Nulogx
New Location: Seneca @ York
The typical feedback was that attendees were pleasantly surprised with the quality and value of Seneca@York and that it exceeded their expectations. We knew that the location is central to the GTA, superbly equipped, modern and scalable. We also recognize the long-term commitment that Seneca has to the IBM marketplace (through the curriculum implemented by Prof. Russell Pangborn) and also the commitment IBM has to Seneca (through Linda Grigoleit at Partners in Education). We were concerned about how expansive the facility is; specifically the distances involved going between TEL and SEQ buildings. We did gain some feedback helping us to make the conference more intimate next year and placing more refreshment stations. We were also concerned about first time visitors being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the York U campus and getting lost finding the appropriate building, but they seemed to be able to manage that.
Typical feedback seemed to indicate that not just did attendees tolerate the change in location, but they embraced it and preferred it:
“Love Seneca location and class rooms. So much brighter and better than at the dark conference rooms at the old hotel”
– Doreen Hannon, Homewood Health Centre.
Other typical feedback was complimentary to the venue:
“The venue at Seneca/York was perfect – modern facilities, educational environment, etc. Volunteers and staff were very helpful – particularly the student assistants in each session”
– John Brenton, Seaway Marine Transport
Both Seneca College and Seneca Professor Russell Pangborn received special recognition from IBM Academic Initiative during the Meeting of Members with Ian Jarman. Ian presented Seneca IT School of Computer Studies Chair Evan Weaver and Dean Laura Jo Gunter with a Tiffany Crystal Recognition Award from the IBM Academic Initiative. This will be proudly displayed in the Seneca showcase. In addition, IBM singled out Prof Russell Pangborn and awarded him a special recognition plaque for his contributions. CONGRATULATIONS!
While we still cherish our past and existing partners, for TEC 2010 we polled our users and community leaders to see what new topics have traction and are interesting to IBM users in 2010 and beyond. Two topics stood out early and often. Initiated by our RIM-sponsored blowout MoM with John DeRoos, we saw early on in 2009 that the TUG community was fascinated with all things BlackBerry and mobile. How do we extend our applications out to BlackBerry and other mobile devices? We topped this off with a visit to RIM DevCon in San Francisco, where we witnessed first-hand the magnitude, momentum and energy behind the mobile app dev market.
The second market, and one that gained traction with the advent of the global recession, was to use open source software in commercial enterprises. The quality of software, amount of traction, size of communities and rapid value to customers, was what stood out. Open source has grown up from its Linux/Apache roots and now contains a colossal application portfolio rooted in PHP and MySQL. In addition, Commercial Open source means that the software is not only good and widely used, but properly supported and licensed, so it can fit any size of enterprise. IBM has nurtured open source on IBM systems through excellent support of LINUX, Apache PHP (Zend) and MySQL.
For the first time, TUG’s conducted and Executive Breakfast done in conjunction with the Schulich School of Business at York University. It was held at the Private dining room in the Executive Learning Center. What a success! Attendees said it was the single most exciting breakfast in TUG history. If missed it, you really missed out. The 55 person capacity crowd was filled with movers and shakers form the investee. We had over 30 registered company IT execs, Software CEOs, local partner firm executives, private investors, Venture Capital fund mangers, Senior IT faculty and more. The session was electric! Schulich offers an spectacular backdrop for executive events, given it is Canada’s top ranged MBA school and has extraordinary modern and lavish executive education faculties. Larry Augustin’s Commercial Open Source message resonated with the Executive Breakfast and TEC conference keynote crowd. Larry is the commercial open source frontiersman and venture fund backer. He set about to convince the audience that the time is right for commercial open source. “Just as no one got fired to buying IBM in earlier days, today nobody gets fired for buying commercial open source”. Larry argues convincingly that Open Source is now widely is now accepted in the enterprise, constitutes very high quality software and has the backing and tail wind of the industry behind it were made. Attendees seeing Larry left inspired and energized and certain they been part of a classic TUG moment!
Here are some typical comments from the conference evaluation sheets:
- “Unmatched keynote speakers. Both of them. I wish I had more of chance to talk to Larry and Zeev afterwards.”
- “Open Source theme – terrific and timely – but I felt the techies would benefit from more sessions with real life practical examples and how-to instruction/demonstration of the open source.”
- “Top grade ‘traditional’ presenters (Jon Paris, Susan Gantner, Alison Butterill, George Farr, Joel Tendler and the others whom I didn’t get to see) and the group from Kryos – all enthusiastic and encouraging.”
- “The fact that our Commercial Open Source Exec Breakfast and Keynote with Larry Augustin (CEO SugarCRM) – together with our PHP Keynote with Zeev Suraski – were all at capacity, is further testament that we got our topics right.
We had excellent sponsor support from old friends and Gold sponsors, such as Databorough, Silver Sponsors such as Midrange, Lansa, Arcad, IBM Rational and 19 excellent Bronze sponsors. See www.tug.ca/tec/Sponsors.html. But adding new partners creates new energy and excitement, especially if they align with the chosen new themes. We met up with Kryos though RIM at the BlackBerry Developer Conference in San Francisco. Kryos became TEC 2010 Platinum sponsor and conducted an entire track of well-attended mobile enablement sessions. “Kryos was delighted to be a part of the TEC 2010 and the event exceeded our expectations. Our meetings and discussions with the attendees were truly engaging and we very much enjoyed discussing opportunities for applying mobile technology to their business processes. We established new contacts and discovered a number of mutually beneficial opportunities. Congratulations the organizers and supporters of TEC 2010 on a great event.” – Shawn Derby, CEO Kryos Systems
Based on the huge interest and popularity of PHP on IBM i and other environments, we formed close relations with Michael Scarpato, Zend IBM Alliance Director, and were able to entice Zeev Suraski, Zend cofounder and co-author of PHP, to come from Israel to attend TEC 2010. Here is what Michael has to say: “The Toronto User Group’s 17th Annual Technical Education Conference in April was a great success from Zend’s perspective. In service of this year’s focus on commercial open source, we were delighted that Zeev Suraski (Zend’s co-founder and CTO) was able to contribute a keynote session covering Enterprise PHP as well as interactive demos of the leading PHP development and deployment solutions. As a return contributor to the annual event, Zend was impressed by the 3x increase in attendance, the high level of participant engagement, and the insightful questions during/after the sessions. Thanks to the efforts of the TUG leadership and the collaboration with Seneca College at York University, the theme for the conference was indeed realized: ‘The Odyssey Continues.’” – Michael Scarpato, Zend IBM Alliance Director
Special thanks to Linda Cole from IBM Canada Lab. Although IBM has always made a major contribution to our TEC agenda and we have always valued their cooperation, Linda and the IBM Canada crew from Rational did an exceptionally good job this year, providing quality sessions and speakers and hosting the fully attended Open Labs at IBM Canada. Also, we were able to secure extraordinary gifted speakers for our AIX track, including Joel Tendler and Jay Kruemcke. Feedback from AIX-based attendees suggested they were flabbergasted by the quality of our speakers and session and will help us reach out to the broader AIX community next year and do so much earlier. Look for TUG to have TEC 2011 plans in place by September 2010.
It takes incredible energy and commitment on behalf of a dedicated group of volunteer to put an event like this together. Meet our TEC 2010 committee: Kumar Rajendra, Vaughn Dragland, Dale Perkins, Ed Jowett, Russell Pangborn, Tom Zamara, Jay Burford, Ross Howatson, Léo Lefebvre, Glenn Gundermann, Mark Buchner, Wende Boddy, and Aziz Saleh.
Thank you to all involved. We will keep you posted for TEC 2011 plans. Please consider joining the TEC 2011 committee!