President's Corner

This week, I’m delighted to welcome Jim Michael as a guest contributor to the President’s Corner.  Jim and two SHARE colleagues recently completed our 2nd annual media tour and I thought you’d be interested in hearing about their experiences. The tour coincided with release of the results of our 2008 survey on Total Enterprise Virtualization. The Executive Summary of those results is now available here on the SHARE web site.   Members have access to the complete survey results using their login credentials.

SHARE Vice President, Jim Michael

In late January, I had the pleasure of joining Kristine Neely and Jim Vincent as we represented SHARE on a media tour in New York and Boston where Dave Reiners and his colleagues at Tech Image lined up an excellent set of interviews for us.  The press showed great interest in the results of a survey SHARE just released on Total Enterprise Virtualization (TEV), our upcoming conference in Austin, the work we are doing to support professionals new to enterprise IT and how SHARE members are responding to the current economic situation.

Over the course of two days we had the opportunity to meet with William M. Bulkeley of the Wall Street Journal, Eileen Feretic of CIO Insight and Baseline, Alexandra Barrett of TechTarget, Michael Cooney of Network World, Chris Kanaracus of IDG News Service, Timothy Prickett Morgan of The Register and IT Jungle, Nick Kolakowski of eWeek and John McCormick of SourceMedia.  As we prepared for the tour, we also spoke on the phone with Mark Fontecchio of and Penny Crosman of Wall Street & Technology.

All of the News Directors, editors and reporters we spoke with were interested in the results of the TEV survey and particularly interested in the rate of adoption for virtualization technology and the contrast between a tactical approach to virtualization and the strategic approach represented by TEV.  We discussed examples of each approach and the survey data that shows greater benefits for those pursuing the strategic approach.  There was also significant interest in network virtualization and reporters made note of the fact that SHARE will offer sessions on this topic, and the full range of virtualization technologies, at our conference in Austin, March 1-6.

In considering how organizations can address the most significant issue identified by survey respondents, the need for more training and expertise on virtualization topics, we discussed the opportunity that SHARE provides for participants to gain perspective from colleagues' experience and the deep technical program that we provide.  We also highlighted how participation at SHARE can help participants gain the expertise, and a network of peers with the experience needed to pursue a strategic approach to virtualization and to raise management awareness of the value this technology can provide.

The members of the press were interested in trends associated with the emerging use of cloud computing and the distinctions between how organizations are using internal and external cloud computing resources.  They asked for our thoughts as to the future rate of adoption of this technology and members of the SHARE team commented on how similar the current adoption of cloud computing is to the adoption of server virtualization five years ago.  Some of the media representatives expressed an interest in data from a similar survey next year that would help gauge the rate of adoption for cloud computing and other virtualization technologies.  They suggested that we ask representatives from SHARE member enterprises to comment on where they believe they will reach an inflection point that would lead them to begin more substantial use of cloud computing.

Members of the press wanted to know how SHARE member enterprises are dealing with the economic downturn and positioning for the recovery that will follow the current recession.  They were interested in how the current recession will affect investments in IT in general and, specifically, spending on virtualization technology.  While it seems likely that spending on some IT initiatives may be curtailed, we believe that spending for aspects of virtualization that can help improve efficiency and agility will continue as these can help enterprises control costs now and pursue the opportunities that will emerge as the economy begins to recover.  In a similar way, investments in pursuing service orientation to leverage existing services to deliver new business value will likely continue.

Some of the media representatives that we talked with indicated that they are seeing many of these same trends, including continued investment in improving infrastructure and architecture where there will be a short-term benefit through increased efficiency, effectiveness and agility.  They also observed that recent surveys indicate that IT salaries are up and that IT spending is holding steady or increasing at many firms and, at others, is not down much more than the 2-3% projected by members of the analyst community.

Media representatives were interested in whether we were seeing progress in the effort to ensure an adequate workforce with enterprise IT skills. We discussed how SHARE is addressing the need for key enterprise IT skills by helping newer members of the IT community, and enterprise IT students, obtain these skills at SHARE through registration discounts and our support for initiatives like zNextGen and the IBM Academic Initiative.  We were able to share specific examples where SHARE member enterprises are sending staff to SHARE earlier in their careers to help them develop valuable skills.

I enjoyed the opportunity to join Kristine and Jim as we brought the SHARE message to the media.  It was very gratifying to hear comments from some members of the press on the great depth, breadth and value they’ve observed in our conference programs when they’ve had the opportunity to visit SHARE events.  I look forward to seeing you in Austin as we continue our tradition of excellence."

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