The Community is Open
IBM recognizes the importance of sharing ideas and expertise to foster innovation.
Today's fast-paced technology revolution forces IT professionals to remain intellectually nimble, technically informed and, most of all, connected. No, I'm not referring to the frantic scramble for high-speed Internet the moment a road warrior lands in a new location. Rather, being connected is the ability to reach out and touch the rest of the technical community to share ideas and get fast, practical information from your peers.
According to a recent report from market-strategy consultancy iGillottResearch, Inc., the number of mobile workers was more than 50 million in 2004. Businesses are resolutely watching the bottom line and demanding more productivity from their workers. Companies seeking productivity gains to increase profits and please shareholders encourage workers to explore faster ways to gain answers. Tapping into communities and other self-help avenues support that endeavor and stimulate our thinking as we find ways to interact with our colleagues to share tips, techniques and best practices.
Before the advent of instant messaging, blogs, Wikis and community tools, national and regional conferences were often our main source of technical updates and information exchange. The best-attended sessions often boasted practical applications and best practices with tips and techniques in addition to yearly updates. While face-to-face interaction is still a vital part of technical growth, travel restrictions and budgetary constraints can curtail the ability to attend off-site education and events. Communities and virtual communication are a needed addition for our technical connections.
In addition to the main pSeries*/AIX*/Linux* technical universities offered globally and the yearly UNIX* in Focus conference, IBM is sponsoring technical communities, forums, blogs and Wikis to connect users. In 2005, IBM introduced three AIX technical forums and two blogs in addition to the existing Linux forum and blog. The AIX forums--AIX 5L technical, virtualization and performance tools--have enjoyed tremendous success and activity with more than 140 topics introduced in the first three months and thousands of hits received worldwide.
At the Center of it All
As the technical-community forums and collaboration mature, IBM has introduced the new AIX Collaboration Center (ACC) based in Austin, Texas, to further support the pSeries user. (See "The ACC Wants to Hear What You Think" sidebar.) The goal of the new center is to encourage collaboration with customers, developers, ISVs and academic leaders as well as different divisions across IBM to drive innovation around AIX. The ACC will facilitate the development, testing and adoption of new applications and middleware for the AIX OS. In 2006, several new forums, blogs and Wikis will be introduced through the ACC, including a Linux on POWER* and AIX 5L Wiki, a MOTD blog from pSeries Customer Satisfaction (expected to launch on or around January 20) and a best practices AIX Wiki launching in the first quarter.
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