To Attend or Not to Attend – The Value of IBM i Conferences

The 2023 user conference season is here. Companies are contemplating which ones to attend, who to send or whether they should attend at all because budget cuts are in place.  If there was ever a time to advocate for continuing education and networking opportunities for yourself or your IT staff, now is the time.  In a 2–3-day timeline, you will gain more knowledge, insight, and perspective about the IBM i platform than you ever expected.  You don’t know what you don’t know until you attend an industry-specific conference.

You know what they say, “Knowledge is Power”.  For the low cost of attending these conferences, you will learn a lot in a very focused, short period of time. You will hear from educated speakers and industry experts that will teach you about the latest advancements on the platform, ways to improve processes, and how to keep your company safe from security breaches to name just a few. You will discover that you are not alone in experiencing the various difficulties within your business, and will leave the conference with excitement about what you can do to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your current IT responsibilities.  You may leave a little nervous knowing you need to be better about keeping your systems updated and secure.  Either way, it’s all good because you now have more knowledge and a better understanding of what to do to improve your skills and bring something positive back to your organization.

As we all know the IBM i environment is a self-contained eco-system that, at its core, is being maintained by people who have been working in this environment for many years and are nearing retirement.  These conferences frequently host students looking for a career in IT and are anxious and excited to talk with companies who are hiring. In addition, you may find developers, system admins, operators, etc. that are contemplating a job change but want to continue working on the IBM i.

These conferences are a great place to network and develop new industry relationships.  There is a lot to be learned from other players in your industry and from companies working on the same IBM i platform. Networking on any level is beneficial for exchanging ideas, sharing similar experiences, and gathering valuable recommendations and resource information.  On a personal level, networking boosts your confidence and live events with other people are FUN.  The last few years have been tough with everything having to go virtual.  It’s time to get out and about and meet people in person, responsibly.

One last reason to attend a conference.  Most conferences have a vendor showcase area where you can meet with vendors with whom you have an existing business relationship or search out vendors who have a solution you are contemplating.  Keep in mind that a good vendor isn’t trying to sell you something. A good vendor is there to listen to you and understand your current challenges and how and why you need them to go away.  They are there to learn what your future IT goals are and whether they can provide a solution that can help you reach those goals.  Don’t be shy, especially if you need solutions to issues that are causing concern within your department or company.

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1 thought on “To Attend or Not to Attend – The Value of IBM i Conferences”

  1. Conferences are great for total immersion … you eat breathe and sleep the subject for days. It’s like language school or a chess tournament.
    And re: “networking” … the lectures and workshops are great, but ideating with your peers in the hall and at meals is were the real neurons fire.
    Finally, there is “accidental learning”. I was giving a talk at POWERUp 2022. As it ended, I could see 2 attendees somehow had not gotten what they wanted. I chatted with them, and as they asked an obscure Db2 question, an IBM Canada Db2 engineer walked into the room for the next talk, heard their question and answered it!
    Nothing like live conferences!

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