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GSE UK is here for you

I want to take this opportunity as new GSE UK Region Manager to send best wishes from the entire GSE UK team, and our hopes for a year that’s hopefully so much better than 2020.

More problems lie ahead, but brighter times too. And whatever happens, GSE will be here to provide you with help and support should you want it, to bring us together, a place for education and learning, to help us meet the challenges we face as an IT community. In short, we’re here for you.

And despite all the challenges, we can point to a few positives.

The mainframe continues to confound expectations. I’m still seeing articles on the theme “who said the mainframe was dead?” Not me. One pointed to the fact that IBM has reported that 75% of the top 20 global banks are running the z15 mainframe. This technology is at the heart of financial services, retail, and other key sectors. The same point keeps cropping up, that the mainframe is a key platform to drive DevOps and digital transformations; a “catalyst for transformation” as MIT Technology Review put it. This year’s BMC Mainframe Survey reported that businesses see the mainframe “as a critical component of the modern digital enterprise and an emerging hub for innovation.” We’re in a growth industry.

Of course, a major highlight for the GSE UK team was our online conference in November, “Virtually Unstoppable”. That title took on added meaning as the year progressed and plans changed. Unlike other online events that, unfortunately, fell over, we were delighted with how our conference worked out. It’s not the same, of course: we miss that in-person social dimension, those conversations over lunch, running into old friends in the corridor, and making new friends. But this wasn’t a pale imitation of a physical event, a second-best option – far from it. It worked on its own terms, and worked well. We had feedback from every conference track. Take a look at some of these comments:

·      “A great and informative presentation – I learned a lot.”

·      “Very well presented, with actual tips for changes that can be made.”

·      “An example of brilliance. All executed with a smile and with incredible knowledge of the subject matter and an excellent knack of making complexity sound simple – a wonderful skill and badly needed.”

·      “Excellent presentation and presenter! On such a very technical subject matter… Bravo! Very informative and complete.”

·      “The look back over time was very interesting – it put my own history in the computing industry into perspective.”

·      “This was full of good information and I see the slides hold numerous links for more guides and papers which is great and very useful.”

·      “Good fun. Really well organised. Hope to do it again as it was excellent.”

We can point to many more comments like these. And yes, it was “fun”, which is important. A huge thank you is due to everyone who take part, whether that was behind-the-scenes, presenting or attending. We have brilliant speakers and presenters interacting with a motivated and engaged community. Which begs the question: if you and your company are not part of GSE UK yet, then perhaps you should be?

We’re already planning our 2021 event and, fingers crossed, it will be a hybrid conference that mixes a physical event with the benefits of online sessions. We learned a lot this year. It’s all about accessibility, engaging with as many people as we can, and moving forward together.

It’s so important at times such as these to have something to look forward to. When we do meet again at our 2021 annual conference in November, it’s going to be quite special. I hope to see you there, in person or online; no more tiers is a hope we all share. You can rest assured that between now and then, the GSE UK team will be working constantly on your behalf.

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is GSE UK Region Manager and GSE UK Conference Manager. An international speaker in mainframe security and technology, and a passionate advocate of all things Z, Mark is Senior Director, Consulting Services, BMC Mainframe Services by RSM Partners.

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