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IBM i Survey Time: Let's Hear From You!

Steve Will invites IBM i clients to take part in the annual HelpSystems survey.

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One of the tenets of the IBM i strategy is listening to our community. We have many ways to do this: we have advisory councils, we get Requests for Enhancement (RFEs), we help clients who have issues, we attend conferences, we’re active on social media and so on.
Another way we listen is to pay attention to survey results. As many of you know, HelpSystems has an annual survey. What you may not know is that they treat the survey as a real community resource.  They don’t develop the survey in a vacuum – they include IBM and the community in the process.  And they freely give the results of the survey back to the community.
It’s time, again, for the annual HelpSystems IBM i Marketplace Survey. It started on September 9, and will be open until October 9. The results will be tabulated, and if all goes as usual, HelpSystems will host a webcast early in 2021 to coincide with the release of the results.

Here’s the Link: Please Use It!

Before I go on, I’d like to give you my first enthusiastic encouragement of this post to participate: please fill out the survey! I’ll share some participation data a little lower in this post, but no matter how good that data is, it could be better. I’ve asked people in my conference sessions whether they have taken part in surveys from prior years, and I can tell you that there are hundreds (or even thousands) of you who have not.  Please, please join us!  There are regions that have almost no participation (Japan, some parts of Europe, Southeast Asia, parts of South and Central America) even though I know that there are blog readers and clients in those regions. Please, represent yourselves!

Some Data

  • This survey started in the Fall of 2014, and HelpSystems has collected over 3,500 responses in that time 
  • Nearly 4,000 people have attended the live webinar sessions.
  • Each year’s results are ungated—you don’t need to pay anything, or engage with HelpSystems for other services—and are accessed by over 4,000 people every year through the page. Access last year’s survey results here
 I’ve used survey data about a bazillion times—in presentations for conferences sure, but also in front of executives. In fact, let me go into more detail about that.  

How I Use the Survey 

I mentioned it above, but let me state it again. I often use the results of the survey in my presentations to executives. How?
Well, I’m frequently asked to talk to executives for client businesses. These executives might be re-evaluating what direction to take their IT infrastructure, so if they can see what the community at large is doing, they can be more confident in their decisions. They might see, for example, that clients and partners are using both modern RPG and open source to develop new function. This helps executives realize it’s not an “either/or” decision.  

This topic is so frequent in executive meetings, in fact, that we’ve made some changes to those questions for this year’s survey to help tell the story better. These changes are a result of meetings with executives who really want to use the data.  They don’t want guesses from consultants and analysts who don’t really know the IBM i market – they want to know what other IBM i clients are really doing.
I also use the results of the survey inside IBM when I’m talking to IBM executives. They are constantly amazed at the level of involvement and passion in the IBM i community, and they appreciate the data our clients are willing to provide. And from this data, we can make clearer strategic decisions. I’ll give you an example:

Survey-Top-Concerns.pngWe’ve been using this “top Concerns” chart to show our IBM executives why we’re investing so heavily in security and HA/DR—both in IBM i and in the ISV community. But we also use it to show how critical it is that we give clients and partners the tools which will allow them to modernize their applications and get new professionals involved.  
In addition, we use the survey results to show trends in our part of the market. For example, while cloud applications are on the list, they are not among the top four concerns. Still, cloud applications are growing in importance from year to year, so the work we’re doing to show clients how modernizing their applications can also include putting those applications on IBM i in a cloud is critical.
I’m grateful to all of you who took the survey in prior years, because you’ve given us honest, useful data that simply does not exist for many other IBM products.

Before We Go

One of the key players in this survey is Tom Huntington, executive vice president of technical solutions for HelpSystems. I asked him why his company does this. Tom’s reply:
“The annual IBM i Marketplace Survey gives our community a better understanding of the state of the IBM i platform and how their peers are using the platform, leveraging modern technology, and driving business forward. We are proud to partner with IBM i thought leaders (Partners, IBM, Champions, ISVs, Customers)  all over the world who utilize the survey results to communicate the importance and full potential of our favorite operating system. This past year even Gartner told us they reference this survey when talking to customers.”
That’s a great summary of why they run the survey, and of why we use it.
So, one more time, I want to encourage you to go take the survey. There has never been a better time to make sure that your voice is counted as we take the pulse of the IBM i market and plan for its future.
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