5th December 2023

IBM i Update: November 2023

Welcome to the #IBMi update for November 2023. Your monthly update into what’s been happening in the IBM i community with me, Andy Nicholson.

You can watch the video below or read the full article underneath.

Watch the Video:

Full Article:

This month was the last IBM i event in the UK calendar, the i-UG conference in Wolverhampton. We’ll take a look at the highlights from the event including their education initiative and the keynote speech on AI for business.

The event was hosted by the Mount Country Manor Hotel in the beautiful Wolverhampton countryside.

IUG Wolverhampton

Now, one of the things that i-UG is famous for is its warm welcome to delegates… and the Midlands event didn’t disappoint with the obligatory mountain of bacon butties and pastries available to all during registration.


Educating a new generation of young professionals on the IBM i

Now, the day started with an interesting ‘state-of-the-nation’ address by Mike Ryan. Mike explained that the group continues its commitment to educating the next generation of professionals on the IBM i and the challenges they faced in promoting IBM i against the more ‘well known’ platforms available, and how to encourage both universities and students alike to work and train on IBM i.

So, in collaboration with Wolverhampton University, what Mike and the team at i-UG did was, put together a development project designed for the final year students.


The students would be tasked with developing a beer production application (so, very relatable for students), using modern open source languages to read/write to DB2. To make this attractive to the university, i-UG committed the funds and made a server available in which they could complete their tasks on. All at zero cost to the university.

Finally, if an i-UG member wished to train new users on IBM i, these resources are open to them too! Great stuff.


The Potential for AI for Business

Next up we enjoyed Doug Wilson, IBM Power Technical Sales Manager who provided and insight into the potential of AI for business.


He started his speech by addressing the massive surge of interest in AI by showing a side-to-side comparison between google searches of AI, Covid-19 and ChatGPT from April 2019 to 2023.
As you can imagine, Covid-19 was the most searched in 2020 but only a year latest, this was surpassed by Chat-GPT.

He also explained the problems faced by decision making CEOs in the age of AI. Doug said that over 75% of CEOs believed AI will be necessary to win. While over 80% of CEOs feel under increasing pressure to adopt AI.

With this, 61% of CEOs understood that there are concerns with their sources of data resulting in only 30% of executive believing that their organisations are ready to adopt generative AI responsibly.


Chat GPT is only one part of the block for AI sucess

Doug then moved the conversation along to the current state of play, explaining that a ‘large language model’ based AI such as Chat GPT is only one part of the building block that would make AI a success for business.


Indeed, a ‘transformer’ component would be required that would allow the use of the masses of unlabeled and untapped enterprise data that can be trained and become ever more experienced and nuanced And, with this understanding and intelligence, use this information to create generative AI across all manners of implicit business fields and job functions no matter the complexity or profession.

But (and this isn’t something that Doug said) as the old saying goes, crap goes in, crap comes out.

The same principles apply to AI. Doug was keen to point out that, to tap the potential of AI, your foundation models should be sound. But, should you have this in place, and with the AI tools behind it, you’ll have a very powerful solution that you can put to work anywhere in your organisation.


Watson X for training, tuning and deploying AI

Now, of course, the payoff was that IBM have these tools available and introduced Watson X as a way to train, tune and deploy AI across your business, leveraging critical, trusted date wherever it resides.

And while Watson X is one platform, it has three component to build and deploy, scale workloads and govern your AI lifecycle.


There was more in the packed agenda including ‘Deep Diving into the IBM i New Navigator’ and ‘Hidden Gems of IBM i’ with Steve Bradshaw and Tim Rowe plus Any Youens discussing open source in multiple sessions.

The majority of presentations are available now on the i-UG website, please do go check it out.

And that’s your IBM i Update and November 2023.

I look forward to speaking with you next time for our Christmas special!


Catch our previous October 2023 IBM i Update here. Alternatively, if you’d like to receive the latest IBM i Update hot off the press to your inbox, subscribe to the newsletter version on LinkedIn here.

Posted by Rob on 5th December 2023.