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The Results Are In

The largest IDUG survey ever held a few surprises

Earlier this year, IDUG undertook its largest survey ever. The aim of the survey was to improve our understanding of the DB2 community so that we can deliver education and networking to meet their needs. It will take some time to go through the data, but there are some initial top results that I want to share. No doubt some of this information will be equally valid for Informix readers.

I found many of the results unsurprising, since they mirror my day job. However, there is an odd one that was most unexpected.

The three main concerns of IT business were “availability/reliability,” “reducing cost,” and “improving performance.” I am sure most of us could have named those. “Security” was a strong fourth. With all the news about various companies being hacked, I expect that this concern will increase in importance until it reaches the level of the other three. Because I work in the finance industry, I had expected a stronger showing from “compliance,” but I guess not all industries are as heavily regulated as we are.

We also asked what topics people wanted to learn about. While we might have expected these to directly match the main concerns, they don’t. Not surprisingly, “performance” was number one. “Migration/upgrading” was number two—especially gratifying for IDUG because we launched the DB2 for z/OS migration experiences forum earlier this year, which I mentioned in my Issue 3 column. The forum has been moved to our new site. According to the survey results, the majority of our members are on version 9 of DB2, with quite a few on version 8 (and some still on version 7), so I do recommend that you use this fantastic resource, which is supported by industry experts.

Here’s the surprise: “security features” came in third as the topic that members most wanted to learn about, even though “security” was rated only fourth as a main concern. This result suggests that, while not as big a concern as the top three, security is an area people know less about. It makes me wonder whether conferences should address the main concerns or the areas people want to explore.

Not surprisingly, respondents listed technical presentations as a key reason why they attend conferences. While presentations by IBM lab experts were important, it was clear that those by real users were also important, sometimes depending upon the topic. The user presentation is a real strength of IDUG: the opportunity to learn from fellow users about real-life experiences. It certainly offers opportunities to hear what it is really like at the coal face, without pulling any punches.

Networking with IBM employees and peers also rates highly, which is one reason I like having a single central conference hotel where most attendees stay. One related element that I found most surprising was that the keynote speaker was more important than the hotel cost. While a great keynote is undoubtedly worth listening to, this is contrary to what many people have told me over the last few years. I would love for people to explain why they feel this way. Please look me up at an IDUG conference so we can discuss this.