SHARE President Janet Sun: SHARE is Now a Year-Round Resource for Members

SHARE President Janet Sun: SHARE is Now a Year-Round Resource for Members

The SHARE conference is taking place this week in Orlando. In this interview with 5 Minute Briefing: Data Center, SHARE President Janet Sun outlines what SHARE means to its members, as well as the industry at large.

5 Minute Briefing: This summer's conference has a heavy business focus.

Sun: Our theme is driving business value and reducing costs. We want to help IT deliver value for the business, and manage costs. Our member companies are really interested in this topic. They're also interested in things like cloud computing, service management, IPv6, business intelligence and analytics, and architecture. IBM is responding to the business challenge by delivering new hardware and software that's focused on delivering new value while reducing total cost of ownership.

5 Minute Briefing: How can a new attendee or someone who hasn't been at SHARE for a while get the most out of the conference?

Sun: We have just placed a recorded presentation on the SHARE website, which provides guidance for first-time attendees. We've always had orientation sessions at our event for first-time attendees. But we've actually recorded a presentation with a lot of that information in it for folks that have never been to SHARE before, or maybe haven't been to SHARE recently. That will help them plan for an optimal experience.

When you go to SHARE, you have a chance to interact with experts from a lot of different companies and industries. We want to use sessions as a way to identify others with similar interests and needs, so you can make contacts you can take advantage of throughout the year. SHARE is more about networking than about training, although we provide a lot of good training, as well. But if you share with others, you get a better insight on how to solve problems and avoid problems.

It's all about networking through SHARE, and being able to get to that real-world experience from people who are really in the know.

5 Minute Briefing: At the previous conference in Anaheim, SHARE offered online access to a number of presentations. Will we see more of that?

Sun: It used to be called SHARE Online, now it's SHARE Live. SHARE Live is another component of our year-round theme. One of our strategic goals is to increase year-round participation in SHARE, and give our members an opportunity to engage more than just in our two in-person events each year.

We're also launching a new membership option, called SHARE Select, which will provide on-demand access to previously recorded sessions, training courses, webcasts, and other premium content, including SHARE Live. Members could opt to sign up for SHARE Select, our premium membership option, and get additional access to web-based content year-round.

We're expanding our year-round offerings. Since our live event in Anaheim, we've held at least one live webcast a month. We held a webcast for our members on IBM's z114 system only two days after the announcement. We coordinated that very well with IBM, and we provided that information in a timely fashion. That gives people information at times other than when we have our conferences, and keeps them engaged year round.

IBM usually makes major announcements just before SHARE conferences. When the z10 and the z196 were announced, SHARE had working models on the floor of our trade show. We expect to have the z114 on our trade show, running all of our labs. We're usually one of the first groups to actually to have a working processor available to us.

We're continuing to move forward with our efforts to provide online discussion forums, so that members can engage that way, and exchange ideas and best practices.

5 Minute Briefing: Is SHARE also actively employing social media?

Sun: Yes, we are. We're using a combination of social media tools now and expanding that. We currently are using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and we're expanding out to YouTube. We're very fortunate to have access to IBM's cloud-based collaboration tools, which will help us to better facilitate our web-based meetings. We're hoping that would be the jumping-off point for all of our discussion forums as we move forward.

5 Minute Briefing: You are now starting your second year as SHARE president. What initiatives would you like to see in the year ahead?

Sun: We're already moving our community initiatives forward. I'd also like to see us expand our influence in the enterprise IT space. We have some initiatives that we're launching to do that. Also, we're interested in looking at driving increased awareness in the academic space, to encourage students to pursue careers in enterprise IT. And, we want to recognize innovation in IT from our member companies.

SHARE has a long been a thought leader in the IT industry, and we're going to move our initiatives forward to make sure we stay there. We want to be able to engage our membership, and deliver value to them, even when there may be budget constraints for traveling to our events.

None of these things, by the way, are really new for SHARE. But we really want to add a little bit more focus, and kick it up a notch.

5 Minute Briefing: What kinds of new members is SHARE attracting? Is the mainframe still the dominant platform?

Sun: We actually see a number of people who are shifting careers at all ages within IT. I believe that most of them are probably mainframe-oriented, but we do see folks with other interests. We see a lot of people who have to support multiple platforms; just the mainframe, but they support distributed platforms as well.

We can't be everything to everybody. But we can be everything to the mainframe community, and we can provide a lot to all the other communities, as well.