Angus: Wallow in our future.

During this week’s COMMON Annual conference, it was refreshing to see how the IBMi25 campaign, simply by its existence, stirred more of the community to reference the platform by its current branding. The speakers, for the most part, have upped their game, and this too, impacted the community in a positive way. There are still some holdouts, making various (ignorant, IMO) excuses, but that is almost gone from this event. Vendors are slowly getting their act together, and the number of booths with some past branding was reduced from previous events. When confronted about their lack of support for the ~actual~ platform, there was the usual (ignorant, IMO) stable of excuses.

For my part, I talked with several vendors about the difference between marketing a product and marketing to an audience (see my blog titled Marketing in the 21st IBM i century!), and it resonated very well. I think this is a successful approach to having vendors understand that their support for our platform is better served by leading with IBM i and understanding SEO to attract those customers who are as yet, unaware of the incredible combination of IBM i on Power Systems.

Other IBM i pundits, including some of the IBM Power Champions, approached vendors with their own thoughts on modernizing their branding vernacular and supporting the future of our platform. It seems that until vendors realize that their outdated marketing efforts are keeping customers in the dark and causing harm to the future of IBM i, there will still be a need to confront their activities with some strength.

It is true that some vendors either do not understand marketing, or have incompetent or unqualified marketers, or simply trust their marketing to their sales organization. In all these cases, they do not realize that IBM i on Power Systems is a new paradigm – an OS running on the best business hardware in the world, and an OS that will support and run all the applications running on your “old” platform. They seem to be confused when one person utters an old brand name, and being unarmed with the facts of the platform evolution, choose to ignore the obvious fact that with a very small amount of education, they could not only convince the customer or prospect of the value of an upgrade to IBM i, they might engender a solid amount of excitement and passion for our beloved platform.

In my case, I began a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #IBMiStepUp – see more in my blog post titled Step up to IBM i!. When I see a vendor with a particularly abhorrent campaign or website, an #IBMiStepUp tweet will call them out and encourage them to lead with IBM i. One vendor in particular – who does well in support of our platform, has a specific marketing campaign that includes a daily “IBM i” online paper. They informed me I would be excluded from that campaign.. er.. paper, because I was a bully. Since then, none of my tweets from my angustheitchap handle will appear in their “paper”. As it turns out, they have also filtered out (censored?) other IBM i champions and tweeters from their “paper”. This seems to me to be quite wrong – advertising an “IBM i” publication that is nothing more than a marketing campaign for their own company, disguised as support for the community. If it were named for their company, it would not be as heinous, but it is simply one more example of the community having to sort through vendor FUD.

This community deserves more from its leaders, speakers, pundits, and vendors. The first step is realizing that IBM i on Power Systems is a new paradigm, and the one that is our future. No matter your current platform, you will/should soon be upgrading to IBM i on Power. The more leaders, speakers, pundits, and vendors who talk about the old branding, the more our customer base will believe there is no future, and the more will be convinced to leave the platform entirely. If this is not clear by now, the fifth anniversary of Power Systems and IBM i, then it has to become obvious and the focus for our leaders, speakers, pundits, and vendors.

Last week on Twitter, one vendor defended their use of old branding to sell modern technology by claiming they were “Switzerland in the name game”. Ironically, by saying there is a name game, they actually engaged in it – engaging in war is not neutrality.

If you are a leader, speaker, pundit, vendor, customer, developer or any other kind of interested community member, then it is time to stop the noise. Any time you respond to the use of the old branding with the new branding (with no argument needed), you are educating and promoting our future. Any time you respond in a forum that is branded for the past, you have an opportunity to educate and promote the future (with no argument needed). Any time you drop the old vernacular, recognize and respond to the old with the future, you are educating and promoting our platform.

Isn’t it time you stepped up? Stop engaging in a game that should have been put to bed five years ago when IBM upped theirs. Move away from the vernacular of the past, which by its nature supports a mentality of living, developing, and promoting the past. Find the place where you are comfortable in talking about your platform in modern and future terms – which will start when the current branding becomes native to your own brain.

It is time to wallow in our future.

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