20 Things I’ve Learned While Running a Business, Raising 10 kids, Staying Married, & Loving Life

20 Things I’ve Learned While Running a Business, Raising 10 kids, Staying Married, & Loving Life

This article was originally published on ChuckFried.com
I’ve always enjoyed writing. From my days in college when I successfully lobbied for an independent study course on advanced fiction writing, to the non-fiction I tend to write about today, it serves as an escape. A cathartic break from my sometimes crazy days.
During those crazy days, I am running a business – a successful IT consulting and staffing company, supporting mostly mid-market and large customers running IBM software. I am usually flying somewhere; attending a conference, meeting with a partner firm, visiting a customer, or putting out fires in the office. Days are hectic.
It’s always been this way, though. My wife runs a social services/child welfare agency. Oh, on top of that, we also have two dogs. Small dogs, so that probably counts as something like four big dogs (if you factor in their attitude).

Oh, and we have kids. Ten kids. Yeah, so things can be busy.

In the interest of full disclosure, most of our ‘kids’ aren’t really kids any longer. Most are in their 20’s. Our oldest is a year away from turning 30 and our youngest are turning 17 this year. Most aren’t at home any longer as a result, but still…lots of kids…
So what’s it like running a business, being a dad, and still having something of a personal life with hobbies, interests, and alone time?  It’s chaotic, but thrilling, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are some lessons learned along the way… You can call it my personal path to sanity (or success), if you will. Though, I do believe it’s a journey, not a destination. Although I can always see it in the distance, true sanity can never be achieved, at least not if you have 10 kids!
I digress. Lets get to that list!

1. Get up early

Get up early… Really early. My alarm usually sounds around 5am, though I’m usually up already. It’s the quietest and most productive time of the day. Get things done early morning, whether they be for professional you or personal you, before the hustle and bustle of your day starts, and (more importantly) before your kids and spouse wake up!

2. Go to bed early

Nothing good ever happens after 10 pm. Nothing. Sorry nightlife, you’re not for me. Going to bed early makes rising early easier. Sure – it means I watch one less show or cut my nightly reading short but, the earlier I sleep, the earlier I rise. My day starts off on the right, productive foot.

3. Find at least one hobby, Netflix show, or something to do regularly with your spouse

It gives you something to look forward to and helps to maintain a common reference point between the always important, and never-ending parenting conversations. My wife and I have always made it a point to have a weekly date night. Beyond those childless date nights, we prioritize spending time together throughout the week to catch up on our favorite TV show. We’ll even read together (though separate books in completely different genres). Reading counts, too.

4. Make your kids live somewhere near you

We failed at this one (one of our sons lives in Europe) but, it’s a good idea if you don’t want to go broke with airfare. And, if you fail like I’ve failed, make it a point to travel (as often as financially possible) to visit!

5. Get a pet, or two

No human will ever be as excited to see me come home as our little dogs are, even if I’ve only just returned from a brief, 10 minute errand. Oh, yeah, and they can be pretty cute too. With most of the kids gone, I don’t like to consider myself an almost empty nester… we always have our dogs.

6. Have a good support team to lean on at the office

I get to hand pick mine, so I’ve been very fortunate, but it’s hugely important to have a team you can delegate to, especially when traveling overseas to visit previously referenced child and their family.

7. Hire slow, fire fast

Enough said. Trust your gut. If it feels right, it is. If it feels wrong, it is. Don’t overthink it. Much like in parenting, your gut is almost always right.

8. Fail fast, try again

This rings true for most things in life. Fail quickly, learn from your mistakes, and repeat as often as you can. In personal matters and in running the business.

9. Read like your life depends on it

I am always in the middle of at least TWO books, typically one non-fiction and one fiction. It doesn’t matter how crazy the days get, reading keeps me sane. Ask me, and I’ll gladly share my reading list!

10. Use some form of automated data backup service

You computer WILL fail you at some point, and it will be when it’s totally inconvenient. Plan for it.

11. Keep your inbox clean and your laptop/desktop almost as clean

Between the family and the constant work involved in running a business, my inbox can become quite clogged. So, to keep organized (for the disorganized) I have sub folders, and categories for everything. I try to end each day with UNDER 50 emails in my inbox (I receive over 400 emails a day mind you, this is no small task). I also rarely have a full desktop of files and folders, and NEVER have more than a few windows open in my browser.

12. Make health & fitness a priority

I’m a foodie, but also an avid workout fiend. I run, bike and swim daily (not each activity every day but at least one of those every day).  If I binge eat – and I do sometimes binge – I just add miles to the run, ride or swim the next day.

13. Travel often

Life is the stuff that happens to us while we are waiting for life to happen.  Enjoy each day. Find a way to make travel part of your life. Learn a new language, visit different places and cultures. Get out of your comfort zone.

14. Unplug for at least a part of each day

I don’t sleep with my phone on. If I’m unplugged, you can’t reach me, allowing me to be more present and in the moment.

15. Make time to be with family

Make it a priority. When your friends move away, or aren’t around, family always is. Love them or tolerate them, they will always be there for you, and will always be family.

16. Teach yourself a musical instrument, or get better at one if you already play

I am trying to make time to learn to play the guitar. It’s a struggle, but it is a goal. I will get this done. I won’t be the best, but I will accomplish it.

17. Keep a journal

I use day one. It’s not perfect, and far from a diary, but beyond allowing me to look up notes I took when talking to a customer, it’s a gathering place for my thoughts, some of which will be come blog posts like this ones, others will never see the light of day. It’s a good habit to pick up.

18. Live life like you are always being recorded or monitored (because you probably are, especially if you are a dad or a boss)

This one might seem odd, but more times than I can recall, it’s kept me from saying something stupid, doing something stupider, or just hurting someone’s feelings. Pretend a camera is always on you, and that your every action will be scrutinized one day, and you’ll be amazed how easy it is to always do the right thing.

19. Find a mentor, or be a mentor (but probably both)

Help others reach their goal. Nurturing young talent is a reward unlike any other. I was asked once (and accepted) to be a pacer in a half marathon, and that simple act of running a race and helping others to hit their goal time was one of the most rewarding running experiences I have had in a lifetime of runs.

20. Set goals.

A goal or target with no timeline is just a dream. Start small. Call a customer a day, or 5…or better yet, pick a big, fat, hairy goal, or BFHG as we call them, and break it down into attainable pieces, and go for it!

Why Everyone Should Invest In An ITSM Tool

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We’ve all heard the question before: “Should we invest in an IT Service Management Tool?”
The simple answer is yes. There’s really no counterpoint. Small, midmarket and enterprise organizations will benefit greatly from purchasing and then leveraging an IT Service Management Tool (ITSM) tool.
What Is IT Service Management (ITSM)?
At a high level, ITSM is the backbone of your IT organization. It’s the teams, groups and departments that handle the front-facing communication and support of your IT organization. They’re the ones that receive support requests and provide them to your backend teams, developers, etc. Think about them as the face of your IT organization. They need a management tool to do their jobs effectively.
What An ITSM Tool Can Do For You
There are many ITSM tools out there such as HP Service Manager, Remedy, Service Now, IBM Control Desk, C2 Atom and many more. Each offers its own user interface and reporting structure. Some have additional add-on tools and features or different levels of packages to support your unique needs. No matter the tool you select, the majority will at minimum come with a configuration management database (CMDB) as the backend database for your tool, as well as a basic ticketing system. Both of those tools are critical to the business, so you’re already winning, because your requests and your assets are being tracked in one tool. You can easily escalate and assign tickets for support or enhancements and do some basic reporting as well as track your assets. At a minimum you’ve just saved time and resources by streamlining your ticketing process.
Is that enough to write a use case and convince your company to look at investing in an ITSM tool. Maybe not. But it’s doesn’t stop there. We all know that IT changes, software changes and upgrades need to be put in, and service managers need to track these changes and/or obtain approval. We also need to make sure we’ve properly documented backout plans to ensure there are no conflicting changes happening during the same window. An ITSM Tool can do this for you. The change-management system in most ITSM Tools can automate your change-request process with enhanced questions that can assess the risk of the change and send automatic approval notifications to impacted parties utilizing your flashy new CMDB to get information on who owns the system or utilizes the system and who may be impacted by the change.
What’s so great is that it saves your change information and backout plans for future reference and knowledge sharing. Some even have an integrated change calendar that will show you any overlapping changes or maintenance windows that may impact your change. You’ll also be able to relate a change record to an incident ticket if additional support is needed during the change or if the change causes an outage. This is a more effective way to track any trending or knowledge needed for future changes.
Most ITSM tools also offer a knowledge base as on out-of-the-box option, because knowledge sharing and transfer is key to successful service management. The ability for a developer or network engineer to provide relevant information back to the service desk in a searchable format can increase your first-call resolutions (FCRs), or the time it takes to identify how to escalate an issue. The knowledge base can also be utilized to share knowledge to your user community with basic troubleshooting or automated support for frequently asked questions, issues or known issues with workarounds. This will in turn reduce the numbers or reoccurring calls to your service desk for issues that can be easily resolved by the user, and will free up your service desk analysts to handle more technical requests.
The above-mentioned features – CMDB, ticketing tool and knowledge base – are your basic features of an ITSM Tool. But there are other out-of-the-box functions, plus additional add-ons you can purchase to serve other business needs. These can include trending analysis, reporting/metrics, software-asset management, hardware-asset management, project-portfolio management, event-management integration, self-service portal, automated workflows, SMS escalations or phone-calling tree automation, and application-programming interfaces (APIs) that integrate with other systems to read from or write to the ITSM tool.
Why Do We Need An ITSM Tool?
Look at your IT organization and think for a moment of the services you provide. You most likely have some sort of request process for the service desk via email, phone, instant message or even web requests.
How do the service agents handle these requests? How do they document and resolve these requests? What happens if the request needs to be escalated?
The process you have in place probably works as requests are handled, problems get resolved and that guy on the 3rd floor who wanted a new laptop eventually got one. So why would you need an ITSM tool if everything is great and it works? Don’t fix it unless it’s broken, right? Wrong.
Even if your process seems like it’s working, is it really? Are you tracking changes? Can you easily provide trending analysis on common issues? Do you have a CMDB that stores your people, processes, assets and the lifecycle for them? Are your requests being escalated and turned around in an acceptable service level agreement (SLA)? How are work efforts prioritized? What happens when an outage occurs? Are teams notified? Is the outage documented and follow up on? How many different systems/applications are you utilizing to ensure these efforts happen? How much time, effort, support and money are you spending on these systems/applications to provide the basic functionality of requesting IT services?
Investing in an ITSM Tool will almost pay for itself simply by reducing the cost associated with support, time, resources and reoccurring outages. It’ll enable you to streamline your support process and even automate some of your manual tasks, like tracking, metrics reporting, and communicating about the services you provide to the organization.
Purchasing An ITSM Tool Vs. Building An In-House Tool
Let’s say you decide that an ITSM tool will absolutely help your organization. The purchasing cost is now under review, but you have a team of developers on the payroll that might have some availability to take on a project and produce an in-house ITSM solution. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider before building the tool in-house.

  • Everything’s done in-house
  • You don’t need to spend any money up front to acquire a product
  • There’s no licensing
  • Your dev team knows how to support it
  • It’s customized to your specific needs


  • Your developers are being paid to work on this project when they could be doing other production development
  • As your environment changes, your in-house solution will need to be updated, which will eat up more development time
  • If your solution is web-based and browsers, scripts and other plugins are updated, it may not work as intended and require more development
  • Knowledge transfer of the tool and how it was developed needs to be documented. If your developer leaves, the next developer must be able to support or upgrade the app
  • You may need to write code to integrate other applications such as email or phone into your app. As those systems are upgraded, the code may need to be revised
  • Requirements for the app may change as the organization matures or grows, which will consume additional development time
  • If and when the app reaches the end of its lifecycle, there’s no support or upgrade options readily available
  • There’s no CMDB, unless your team plans on developing one
  • The system of record will not be easily transferrable to another system of record if needed in the future

These are high-level pros and cons, but each organization will have more specific and customized lists depending on the functionality and requirements needed. Given all the cons, why not let someone else who’s already invested time and resources do the work for you? The tools out there are robust, and some are open for additional customization or in-house development to fit your specific needs. There are also additional support options for these tools to assist your organization when issues arise or during implementation.
Don’t waste your resources or time trying to reinvent the wheel when someone’s already invented one and enhanced it.
Original image by Max Max

SharePoint And Why You're Probably Using It Wrong

So you have SharePoint. You acquired it through a package you purchased with other Microsoft products, or you heard about it from someone and decided to stand it up and see what it can do. Either way you spent some time, resources and much-needed network capacity to put this in place.  Now what? That’s a question many organizations ask, and if you’re not asking this question you’re probably still using Sharepoint wrong. Let me explain why.
Many of the organizations I’ve spent some time with have SharePoint. Most have the Foundations version and have no idea why they would pay for the Enterprise license. Foundations is still a strong version and can be utilized to reduce company expenditures on other vendors for products such as hosting your intranet or conducting surveys, as a few examples. I’ve seen this time and time again.  A company has an external vendor that hosts its intranet. The design elements are minimal and the cost associated with development of a product that can integrate with the organizations email client or other applications can be costly.  Why would you spend that time and money when you have the capabilities and product sitting on your network not being utilized to its minimal potential? SharePoint can be your front-facing intranet/extranet site. It can be your employee daily landing page with links to tools, web-hosted applications, announcements, statistics, documents, pictures, knowledge, reports, presentations, surveys, and more.
Think about it for a moment: You probably have a team portal setup for each department or some of your departments.  It’s probably a basic SharePoint template with an Announcement section, Document Repository, Calendar, maybe a fancy logo and a tab at the top to go to the parent site. If this sounds like you, then you’re using Sharepoint wrong.  Remember, SharePoint’s a tool that has many capabilities.
With the basic features offered through SharePoint Designer and the default page and web part templates, you can customize each portal, page and web part to fit many of your business needs without spending money on development.  You don’t need a web developer to manipulate multiple lines of code to embed a video on your page or customize the layout.  You can assign rights to individual teams and with little training they can be off and running on their own – now designing portals specific to their function and needs. I’m not saying go and fire your web developers.  I am saying you can utilize the functionality of SharePoint so your web developers can focus on other projects. You can code pages in SharePoint and design web applications, custom API calls and external facing sites.  So keep those web developers around.
Now that I have you thinking about what you can use SharePoint for, let’s talk about why you might consider the Enterprise license. The first thing I think of when someone asks about the Enterprise license is Workflows. Workflows can be designed to do many, many, many, many automated things. Let’s say you have a employee-engagement survey.  You want to know how your employees feel about the organization or an application that just went live.  You use SharePoint and create a really cool survey that changes the questions based on the previous answers, then take that information and add it to a live, up-to-the-minute graph on your main page. How do you do that? Answer: Workflow.
Maybe you have a form that needs to be filled out, and when someone submits the form, an email needs to be sent to a group for review. How do you do that? Answer: Workflow.  If you haven’t already guessed why the Enterprise license is useful, the answer is: Workflows.
Another thing that comes to mind when someone asks about the Enterprise License is MS Office integration. Yes, I said it. MS Office Integration. It delivers the ability to collaborate on those projects or documents right through SharePoint, or create awesome Visio diagrams on your main page.  Maybe you really wanted to use an Access Database for something and need to easily query the results in a list. I’m here to tell you that SharePoint Enterprise license has MS Office integration.
A few other features you’ll miss without the Enterprise License include business intelligence, robust search features, custom social-media-style profile pages, more design elements, scorecards, dashboards and a better mobile experience.  All versions of SharePoint have Android and IOS support, however, I’ve found the Enterprise version has more features for navigation that work better with the mobile devices.
If you’re not already preparing a use case for SharePoint, and an argument for why you should upgrade your license, then you really should get out there on the Internet and browse some additional topics.  Check out what other companies are talking about.  Really think hard about why you have this product in your environment you’re not doing anything with. There are many resources available to help you start your SharePoint journey.  Why not start it today?
Art work provided by John Norris

WebSphere MQ v7.5 Security Concerns

Content contributed by Allan Bartleywood – Sr. MQ Subject Matter Expert
WebSphere MQ v7.5 security concerns seemed to be a resounding issue. We heard a lot of concerns regarding it while we were at the IBM Impact 2014 conference last week.

I do not believe it’s actually a concern for security when your organization is doing an upgrade to version 7.5, but more a concern as to whether your organization already has security enabled within your MQ environment.

At a lot of the organizations that I’ve consulted with, I’ve noticed that there is a lack of security actually implemented within the MQ environment.  WebSphere MQ has always had security implemented that was focused at the operating system level where it was running.

With this latest WebSphere MQ v7.5, security concerns, features have been added to meet today’s demands. This includes support for Advanced Message Security where the queue manager actually encrypts and decrypts Messages as they go through the environment on a put an get of an application.

You can actually configure the queue manager down to individual queues so that only certain queues will have messages encrypted.

This feature is providing the capability for messages to now meet compliance requirements like HIPAA and PCI Compliance. While data is in transit, it is in encrypted by the messaging transport without any special requirements being added to the applications.

This will, of course, mean that from the time a message put onto queue to the time a message just gotten off the queue, it has been included. Further security enhancements are provided to ensure that only certain applications will get the message decrypted from a given queue.

Now all of these features are out of the box with no added installs and compatibility issues being encountered.

Going back to whether organizations are actually implementing suitable levels of security within their messaging environment is another matter. What is quite often seen it is that administration and application usage of MQ is left open, that is it has not been unable at all.

This is normally due to a conscious decision or simply a lack of knowledge of the capabilities of the product; or a lack of understanding of the security policies and implications relating to the data that is being sent over the messaging environment.

It is not uncommon to see administrators using client connections to queue managers over the server connection channel with no authentication at all. It is also not uncommon to see the queue manager with channel authority disabled.

So are the security concerns about upgrading to version 7.5 related to a lack of understanding and knowledge of what the security capabilities are within 7.5 and pressure being put on IT for tighter security compliance, rather than whether 7.5 is capable of delivering services to these tighter security compliance requirements.

There are also situations where IT sees the requirement for better security compliance but the business doesn’t understand what is compliance are.

If you’re having WebSphere MQ v7.5 security concerns, please feel free to reach out to Wendy at TxMQ, [email protected] and let us answer your questions and guide your upgrade so all the proper security features are in place.

(Photo: Compliments of Still Burning)

What's Worse Than Being Robbed?

What would you say is worse than being hacked? My answer is “not knowing” who hacked you. Without having any idea of From where, By whom or Why, some companies have trouble even determining what was stolen when today’s pirates only copy the information and leave it in place. I have coined these types of attacks as “in-place attacks!” These are hacks where the target does not even know anything is missing so no security measures are taken after the fact.
For example, someone takes your wallet out of your jacket at a party. They copy your credit card and address from your driver’s license. They then return everything back to your coat pocket without you knowing that it was ever missing. Your account could be wiped out without you even knowing you were robbed.
In the case of Target being hacked, authorities are now still trying to figure out who hacked the large retailer. A 17 year old? The Russian mob? They have figured out the how. They know the why. They almost know the location from which it was done. But there are still many questions that remain. Was that the only intrusion? Are there other access points? Are they safe now? The fact that the Target stock price has yet to regain its strength demonstrates that consumers are wondering the same thing.
As embarrassing as this incident is for Target, it gives businesses today a “heads up.” How secure is your online commerce site? Do you truly have a grasp on your vulnerabilities? When was the last time you had a 3rd party assessment done, end to end?  Have you securely closed all of your “windows and doors” in your infrastructure? How long would it take you to know that you were a victim of an in-place attack?
At TxMQ we have specific skills on governance, security and eCommerce that will allow you to build a new system or “harden” an existing one. We also offer assessment services where we can help you identify current gaps.
What do you think?
TxMQ: Learn more!

New Year, New Technology Trends

By: Crystal Miller
As 2011 begins, here are some of the technology trends we’re seeing that business IT Professionals should have an active eye on to increase their value… both for themselves and the companies they work for:
1. Cloud Computing – As Cloud Computing continues to evolve it becomes more of a reality in the investment schedules for 2011. There is the obvious economic business advantage of being able to essentially leverage operations’ expense budgets by reducing the capitalization needed in ASPs. When many sectors are still looking at decreased budgets in 2011 but increased project loads, Cloud brings forward a strategic model that’s both financially compelling to large enterprises and well-timed. Look for utilization of IaaS and PaaS to increase in 2011 – especially PaaS cloud stacks as it allows for a more nimble environment for testing, conversion runs and temporary processing power boosts with less drain on company resources.
2. ‘Business Unit IT’ – Since the 80s, IT has been organized along functional, organizationally-centralized service lines, but times are changing. Look for notable movement to the ‘business-unit IT’ model where IT is more of a business partner for individual business segments within a corporation.  It will act as both a project manager and an analyst that can turn data into information that the business can act on. This movement continues the trend of the ‘business-aligned’ services units that was started by the HR BP replacement of HR Managers in the last decade.
3. Project Management – More than 40% of US companies are looking to add permanent project managers to their ranks this year; many of whom say they’re looking to professionals with PMP certifications first. That being said, this may be the year to invest in your continuing education if project management is an intended notch on your career ladder. Also, as the aforementioned Business Unit IT model grows; new PM hires will also have the added responsibility of increased ‘remote team’ management, off-site data security, and vendor/third-party oversight.
4. Application Development – As mobile enterprise workers continue to increase in number, and the smart-phone and tablet computing continue to gain popularity, the demand for JIT development professionals with rapid programming or agile methodology expertise is high on the ‘must-have’ lists for CIOs, CTOs, and IT HRBPs in 2011. Also, look to an increase in development professionals with experience in security design as the financial sector moves more towards the Cloud, creating additional emphasis is on the emerging trend of 360 security.

IBM discusses DB2 for z/OS security best practices

Security is a main issue for companies and there’s no such thing as too much of it. DB2 for z/OS just released version 10 and it’s one of the most exciting releases in 20 years.
Roger Larson, DB2 for z/OS Technical Evangelist at IBM states that for some situations your basic security is adequate. However, in other instances, you’ll need the absolute best security practices offered.
The tools IBM offer range from very tight system controls to fairly basic techniques applicable even with public information on the web. There are choices when it comes to security and understanding your options is very important.
IBM proposes that enterprises that want to succeed in such a challenging business climate focus on four key areas to ensure that their information infrastructure can support the business goals.
Those key areas include:
– Information availability
– Information security
– Information retention
– Information compliance
IBM information infrastructure will help businesses get the right information to the right people when they need it in a safe and secure manner.
DB2 for z/OS has a very solid reputation for world class security and world class business resiliency, and they have been building stronger encryption solutions on an ongoing basis.
Read more about IBM’s security techniques here.

IBM's key solutions for company growth and success

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Nancy Pearson, VP BPM, SOA, & WebSphere Marketing, SWG at IBM about their solution categories and what it can do for your business.Check out her responses regarding what’s new and exciting with IBM technologies. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.
TxMQ: Can you please give a brief overview of the following IBM solution categories?


  • BPM: The basic operational value proposition of business process management (BPM) is the ability to process more with less effort and higher quality. BPM provides three core benefits – efficiency, effectiveness and agility. We’re continuing to invest in our market-leading BPM portfolio, which includes products many of you may already be using, such as WebSphere Process Server, WebSphere Business Modeler, WebSphere Business Monitor, and WebSphere Lombardi Edition. You can discover, document, automate, and improve revenue-generating processes to drive growth, reduce cost, and optimize execution across your business network. IBM can help you get started with a BPM solution that will help deliver business agility by providing a prescriptive approach based on best practices from more than 5,000 customer engagements.
  • SOA: As business processes evolve, suppliers and regulations change. Organizations need to have seamless integration and connections within the boundaries of the organization and across trading networks. It’s vital to share services across domains to optimize business performance and improve flexibility.  They also need any-to-any connectivity to allow easy integration within and beyond the company – connecting systems throughout their dynamic business network.  In addition, it is also useful to have a federated approach that helps manage complexity – even as they share services across different domains.  We have leading integration and SOA capabilities that include WebSphere Message Broker, WebSphere DataPower, and WebSphere MQ products. We’re improving our capabilities in this area with WebSphere MQ Telemetry, which enables intelligent decision making based on remote real-world events. We’re also enhancing IBM Cast Iron appliances. IBM Cast Iron appliances help integrate on-premise applications with cloud-based apps. And you can build, run and manage an integration between applications and deploy it using a physical on-premise appliance, a virtual appliance, or completely within a multi-tenant cloud service.
  • Cloud: Your company needs to be able to respond quickly to business changes that effect your applications and services, all while managing costs. Virtualization and Cloud are key technologies that enable you to control costs while adding flexibility to the infrastructure that supports your applications and services. With Virtualization and Cloud technologies, you can simplify management of applications and services while optimizing the usage of your infrastructure resources. Given the inherent flexibility of virtualized infrastructure, you can roll out new products and services more dynamically. And you can ensure immediate application response with through elastic scalability. We’re continuing to invest in our core application infrastructure portfolio that includes CICS, WebSphere Application Server, and WebSphere Virtual Enterprise. We are announcing a new Feature Pack for Modern Batch for our WebSphere Application Server, which provides support for a Java Batch programming model for the development and deployment of batch applications. You can also migrate applications developed using the feature pack to IBM’s comprehensive batch platform, WebSphere Compute Grid, without making any application changes.

TxMQ: Can you describe the type of company or the business needs best served by one or more of these technologies?

IBM: Think about today’s business structure. It is a growing network of relationships between employees, customers, suppliers and partners. It encompasses the people, processes and systems inside and outside the organization. It continues to get broader and more complex. Above all, it’s always changing. Suppliers come and go. Regulations change. New relationships emerge. It’s become a truly dynamic business network.
The ideal business looking to integrate these products is businesses is looking to successfully deal with this change and complexity that are using these technologies. The new business environment will favor companies able to execute faster, with more dexterity, across their dynamic business network. That’s why the ability to help deliver agility with these capabilities is so important.
TxMQ: What benefit will be derived from implementing one or more of these integrated technologies?
IBM: Agile businesses have higher EPS growth, ROI and return on capital, with faster revenue growth than their industry peers.
Only IBM has the products and expertise to deliver on the promise of business agility. Using the best practices from thousands of customer engagements, deep industry expertise and market leading products, IBM can deliver a road map to help you achieve profitable growth and enable business agility. To get you started with a project that meets your business objectives, IBM Software Services for WebSphere (ISSW) offers IBM QuickStart services to accelerate the delivery of a deployed solution, helping you realize value quickly around BPM, rules, events, SOA, cloud computing and virtualization. IBM will get you up and running with a high ROI project in just 90 days, delivering great business value you can showcase around your organization. They’ll also set you up with a great proofpoint for taking further steps, should you choose to do so in the future. As business value is realized, you can extend those projects both vertically and horizontally to make your organization even more nimble. Such an integrated approach encompasses your business processes, relationships and infrastructures, helping you fully realize true business agility.
TxMQ: What company officials generally need to be a part of the decision to implement IBM technologies?
IBM: That’s an interesting question, because the issues being solved here are top-of-mind with many CEOs.  Just this year we published our most recent research based on interviews with over 1500 CEOs worldwide.  The full study can be found here:  www.ibm.com/ceostudy
CEOs are clearly interested in the power of these capabilities to transform their business.  More directly involved are the line of business executives that own the outcomes and the key processes used to deliver them.
I started with the business executives because these technologies are very much about aligning IT with the business – so it’s important for that connection to occur, as it makes sense for a project.  When an initial project begins, you typically see the LOB executives, their IT counterparts, and the IT managers in charge of the applicable applications and associated software infrastructure directly involved.
Clearly though, other IT executives, from the CIO to the chief architect, play a critical role in making sure that initial projects can be leveraged down the road , as capabilities are extended for the broader benefit of the organization.
TxMQ: How will the new technology allow companies to strengthen existing customer relationships?
IBM: A Smart SOA approach can help any business manage complexity and improve agility by enabling integration, interaction, and business execution across distributed value chains. With solutions for seamless, any-to-any integration and connectivity, within and beyond the organization, IBM can help you:

  • Maximize service reuse across your enterprise
  • Federate within and across SOA domains, including cloud and smart devices
  • Enhance flexibility and security across your enterprise

New IBM solutions simplify integrating your software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud applications with on-premises applications. With configurable access to today’s most prevalent SaaS and cloud applications, integration takes days versus weeks or months.
IBM, together with Sterling Commerce, helps you gain greater control over, and flexibility with, critical business processes within and beyond the enterprise. Sterling B2B Integration extends connectivity across channels to trading partners so you can:

  • Communicate efficiently across, and extend management of, trading partner communities
  • Eliminate “blind spots” and improve business performance with real-time business transaction visibility and performance metrics
  • Minimize business risk and achieve consistent policy enforcement and compliance

TxMQ: How difficult is the transition into these products and how much downtime can a company expect?
IBM: We continue to invest in making our solutions as simple and effective as possible.  To help our clientele transition to our products, we have introduced innovative new cloud-based offerings that enable you to get up and running quickly with minimal IT investment. Our new IBM Blueworks Live offering is a great example, allowing you to automate simple processes in just 90 seconds! We have also introduced WebSphere Hypervisor Editions for many of our offerings that significantly speed time to value for deploying and configuring environments. WebSphere Hypervisor Editions allow you to install and configure defined standard topology patterns in a matter of hours, and easily manage installation and deployment.
TxMQ: Are there any new and particularly exciting product updates within a specific industry?
IBM: We have delivered a lot of exciting product enhancements across multiple industries.  One of the really exciting announcements we have made is around IBM Blueworks live – a new BPM in the Cloud offering that allows knowledge workers to leverage the benefits of BPM in a cloud environment to capture, understand, collaborate on, and improve everyday processes that drive their businesses. Blueworks Live combines the best of our two previous BPM in the cloud offerings: the community from BPM BlueWorks and the process documentation of BPM Blueprint. On top of that, Blueworks Live adds in exciting new automation capabilities, creating a first-of-its-kind, best in class new offering to improve processes. BlueWorks Live helps turn the unstructured  activities of real business people into automated processes, with the added benefits of visibility, understanding, insight and control.
We also have enhanced our industry accelerators to include updated support for industry standards, more pre-built assets, and an enhanced industry asset navigator tool.  These industry accelerators cover a wide range of industries including Banking, Insurance, Healthcare and Telecommunications.
TxMQ: What’s the best way for a company to choose the right product to fit their needs?
IBM: The first step is to identify your business objectives. With all the complexity of a dynamic business network, starting down the road to business agility can seem challenging. The key to success is to use the right approach, an approach that starts with careful analysis that is focused on business value, and then expands slowly leveraging incremental successes along the way. By first documenting what your business pains and goals are, you can understand which area to focus on first. Are you trying to solve a process issue?  Do you need to establish better linkages across your dynamic business network with customers, suppliers and partners? Are you looking to control costs and add flexibility to your application infrastructure? IBM can help you identify the best solution to meet your business objectives and provide a roadmap for achieving those business goals.
TxMQ: How are the new versions of the aforementioned products better and more efficient than previous editions?
IBM: I’ve mentioned several of the updates already. The bottom line is that we’re bringing forward improved ways to be prescriptive in delivering business agility. With things like the new IBM Blueworks BPM in the cloud offering and new IBM QuickStart services, we’ve brought together the technology and expertise of IBM to engage both business and IT in projects that return real value in the short term, and set the foundation for extended value in the longer term.
TxMQ: Can you share any new and exciting products that companies can look forward to in 2011?
IBM: I can’t provide specific details around our planned announcements for 2011, I can tell you that we have a lot of exciting things planned. I would encourage you to register at www.ibm.com/impact for our Impact 2011 conference, which is being held in Las Vegas April 10 – 15th, 2011. At the conference, you can learn about our new products and announcements across BPM, SOA and Application Infrastructure. Impact 2011 will feature a world-class Technology Program with over 400 sessions on WebSphere BPM, SOA, commerce and cloud technologies. We will also have a Forbes sponsored Business Program with over 40 sessions addressing critical business topics and issues, and a state-of-the-art EXPO and Product Technology Center featuring the latest technologies from IBM and IBM Business Partners.

An Introduction to WebSphere MQ

Today, most companies rely on the stability of their technology to ensure that the business continually runs smoothly. The problem is, your company’s technology infrastructure is probably comprised of several types of systems. And more than likely, these systems are managed through different departments and quite possibly located throughout the entire country.
Therefore integrating your applications across your company and with key partners, suppliers and customers is the best way to provide security to your business. This is done through service oriented architecture or SOA.
What is WebSphere® MQ?
IBM WebSphere® MQ provides a flexible messaging backbone that allows you to integrate your existing IT programs with SOA. It works across a variety of industries, including banks, telecommunication companies, government agencies and more.
SOA allows your existing IT systems to respond to requests and change faster than ever before by acting as a universal translator between systems. Think of it this way… Each of your IT systems speaks a different language. WebSphere MQ translates all these languages quickly and easily so all your systems can work together quickly and efficiently.
And because WebSphere MQ is supported by almost every IT system, you shouldn’t need to replace your existing hardware or operating systems. This increases the reliability of data that is delivered throughout your systems. They all speak to a central hub, which then disburses the information accordingly.
Benefits of WebSphere MQ
1. Reliable – WebSphere MQ allows for instant, reliable data delivery. Information gets transferred quickly and simply with no delays. In addition, your data is insured if there is a temporary system outage.
The cost and penalties of lost data are severe, especially when the data is critical for your company’s success. Lost information can disrupt your daily processes and cost you dearly in both time and money. If the delay is large enough or severe enough in nature, the loss of customer trust can be detrimental, especially when it comes to the security of personal information such as account numbers or social security numbers.
2. Back-up – WebSphere MQ helps eliminate single points of failure in your system by providing backup to take over if a system failure occurs. It ensures that transported data is logged and up to date so that if failure does occur, the data can be reconstructed easily. It also preserves the integrity of the messages and the applications that are transmitting those messages.
3. Clustering – Clustering allows messages to be re-circulated around system parts that have experienced a network failure. Without this feature the messages may otherwise be undeliverable.
4. Security – Keeping your business information confidential is extremely important. WebSphere MQ makes security a priority addressing areas such as encryption, authentication, authorization, and privacy.
With built-in security features, your data will be protected as it moves throughout your technology infrastructure. In addition, it supports Secure Sockets Layering (SSL). SSL protects your site and technologies from fraudulent activity and keeps your users’ sensitive information secure.
5. Growth – WebSphere enables your business to grow by allowing full access to your IT systems. As your business and services grow, so to do your IT needs. WebSphere continues to allow everything to work together in a cohesive manner. The structure of your IT system is unique to your company alone. WebSphere MQ can be customized to fit your business needs individually.
IBM WebSphere MQ Facts:
– Used by more than 10,000 customers worldwide
– Controls and moves more than 10 billion messages every day
– Has more than 800 IBM Business Partners worldwide supporting it with software, solutions and services
– Supports more than $1 quadrillion worth of business transactions daily
TxMQ offers a full range of WebSphere services. These include:
– Installation
– Systems assessment and architecture review
– Health check
– Upgrades
– Systems monitoring and maintenance
TxMQ, headquartered in Buffalo, NY provides flexible staffing solutions across all divisions and departments within a company. As a leading staffing agency, TxMQ provides placement of permanent and contract professionals within a wide variety of skill sets including Information Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing Operations, Accounting and Finance, Sales and Marketing, Human Resources, and Administrative Management.
Equip your company with the talent your team deserves. TxMQ can begin matching employees to your unique staffing needs today. Contact us today at 716-636-0070 ext 228, email [email protected] or visit us at to find the solution that’s right for you.
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