I took a little drive up to Hartford, Connecticut on August 17 to witness the first live-and-in-person New England ECM User Group in three years. Jay Dailey of The Travelers, who leads the group with a steering committee, had lined up some IBM speakers and a customer presentation to fill out an afternoon agenda, followed by a tasty reception, all held in the back room of the Red Heat Tavern just north of the city.
Jay Dailey of The Travelers and User Group Lead with Lauren Mayes, IBM Content Services
The giddiness of being in the same room with a group of Content Management professionals was palpable. Attendees were a mix of New England-based IBM Content and Capture users, Business Partners and some IBMers. Public sector and private sector were both represented and Jay did a great job of ice-breaking and getting conversations going.
Lauren Mayes, Program Director of IBM’s Content and Capture Product Management team, laid out the vision and roadmap and fielded questions on specific features and plans. Tim Pascarella, Senior Automation Technical Specialist for IBM, followed with a conversation about modernization, which was the main topic requested by the group. Most of his discussion focused on migrating Content Services to the cloud, since most of the attendees had cloud migration on their own roadmaps.
Having notched a number of cloud migrations for IBM customers in the past few years, Tim covered Best Practices and Lessons Learned – with some customer stories - and handled all the questions thrown at him. What makes a user group meeting unique is this type of loose interaction, funneling down into the issues important to people in the room, which doesn’t happen in a conference or virtual broadcast. The discussion ranged from data residency and compliance, security issues, encryption, which environments to migrate first, and much more.
Next up was the IBM Client Engineering team, a new division of IBM, which focuses on helping customers discover and map their current processes, identify opportunities for new applications, and develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), as a complimentary service. Matt Sisson and Colin Henderson walked through what an engagement looks like and Colin, knowing that Cloud Migration was one of the prime interests in the room, continued the conversation with additional customer stories, examples on cloud architecture and data migration strategies.
Colin Henderson of IBM Client Engineering runs through some sample cloud architecture diagrams
The afternoon program wrapped with a Roundtable discussion, led by Jay, with special guest Ken Hageman from Mass Mutual, who recounted his company’s journey to the cloud, which like many in the room, was in the early stages. Ken recounted the group’s first project, which was to discover and document the current system transactions, which become chargeable items on the cloud, and develop a business case along with a migration plan. I found his story fascinating. As Ken and his team venture into new territory, they are trying their best to quantify the costs and develop a new paradigm before leaping off the cliff. There was lots of head nodding in the room and the subsequent conversation was lively and illuminating.
Ken Hageman of Mass Mutual shares his team's lessons learned on cloud migration
The gathering wrapped with some spicy comfort food - chicken wings, pulled pork, mac and cheese - and a variety of beverages as the group enjoyed the camaraderie, reflected on the day’s learnings, and savored the special feeling of being able to once again meet in person and talk shop.
Review the deck presented by Lauren Mayes here.
Find the deck presented by Tim Pascarella, Matt Sisson and Colin Henderson here.
Join the New England User Group's Community group here.