Getting to Know Your IMS Immersion Instructor: Kenny Blackman

By Manny Veiga

We’re less than two weeks away from SHARE in San Antonio, which will include a full day’s worth of training in IBM’s Information Management System (IMS) database. SHARE Academy’s IMS Immersion track will be led by a team of IBM instructors including Kenny Blackman, who works out of the company’s Washington Systems Center Group. We spoke to Kenny to get a sense of what attendees can expect out of this year’s IMS Immersion track.

What’s the overall goal behind the IMS Immersion track?

For our customers and those in the industry, it’s an opportunity to send members of their team to either learn about the IMS product for the first time or get an update on what’s new. We see a lot of companies send their new hires to these sessions. We find that coming out of university, most new hires are more familiar with relational databases. So this is a great chance for them to see what IMS can do as an all-in-one solution; it includes both database and transaction management systems.

What’s new in this year’s track, and what’s on the roadmap for future sessions?

We come out with an updated version of the product every two years, and this year we’ll cover what’s in the new IMS 14. We’ve added quite a few new technical capabilities and, with each new version, we want to make it easier to administer and manage IMS so the learning curve is even shorter. SHARE Academy is actually the first of several workshops we’ll host around the country this year for training customers on IMS 14.

We’re already planning for the next version and we’re focused on IBM initiatives around cloud, mobility and new hardware. We'll build on what we already offer in the infrastructure to help customers build a hybrid cloud or private cloud, offer ways to support mobile interactions with RESTful APIs, and look at other tools to help customers leverage and manage existing databases. Those are the broad areas. We've still got a lot of fun things to cover in future training sessions.

When did you first get involved with SHARE, and what do you most enjoy about it?

My career started in 1971 and I came to work for IBM around 1983. I first started traveling for IMS training sessions, including SHARE, around 1996.

These types of conferences are really valuable for our customers, because it’s easier for them to send their employees to these major events. And face-to-face training is really the best way to learn. What I like about SHARE is not only the sessions, but after it’s over you get to talk to people, find out what’s going on with their company and have that informal dialogue.

What do you hope attendees walk away with?

When I look at IMS, it’s really a family. Our customers are part of that family so we want to help them make the most of IMS and give them a chance to get answers to their questions. We want attendees to come away invigorated and excited about what we're doing with the IMS product. Hopefully they’ll gain some solutions they can take back to their installation and learn new ways to leverage the system so that they can continue to get a good return on their investment.

For expert training in the IMS database from Kenny Blackman and IBM instructors, click here to register for SHARE Academy. The course will be held in Room 304B on February 28, 2016, as part of SHARE in San Antonio.

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