Thursday, May 31, 2012

If You've Got DB2 for z/OS Product Requirements, This is your Online Community

Who makes DB2 for z/OS a great database management system? Well, the IBM DB2 developers, of course. But who else? You, that's who. You, the users of DB2 for z/OS, have provided IBM with a steady stream of enhancement requests since the product was introduced in 1983. There have been various means by which DB2 requirements have been communicated by users to IBM, including an application called FITS. FITS served its purpose pretty well, but one aspect of the application came to be seen as a drawback in light of the growing popularity and importance of social media: FITS is an IBM-internal application. A product enhancement request might be raised by a DB2 user, but it had to be entered and monitored on the user's behalf by an IBMer. What was needed was a new application that would provide a direct link between DB2 users and IBM DB2 developers. That new application is here, and it's called RFE (short for Request for Enhancements).

With RFE, you can enter DB2 for z/OS product requirements yourself, and interact directly with IBMers who evaluate and act on submitted requests. You can track the status of requests you've entered, and you can view -- and vote on, and comment on -- requests submitted by others. RFE is going to be a win-win for the DB2 for z/OS user community and for IBM, spurring increased flow of ideas on how to make DB2 even better than it already is, and contributing to the strengthening of the DB2 user community, across industries and around the world.

I encourage you to learn more about RFE. Here are some links that can get you started:
  • The home page for the RFE community for DB2 for z/OS. What you see at the top of this page is "Information Management." What makes it the RFE home page for DB2 for z/OS is "DB2 for z/OS" in the box near the top of the page, under the heading, "Customize this page for your favorite product."
  • RFE FAQs. You'll find here a long list of questions and answers. Scroll through them if you'd like, or use the links at the top of the page to go directly to FAQs pertaining to a specific area of interest. I recommend checking out the information on RFE groups, a very useful feature of the application. You can create an invitation-only private group for you and your co-workers, or a public group to attract "birds of a feather" DB2 users who share an interest in a particular category of product enhancements.
  • RFE video tutorials. Watch and learn.
  • RFE status definitions. Entries on this page expand on the meaning of request status values such as "Under consideration" and "Need more information."
  • Getting an IBM ID (required for the use of RFE). Lots of you already have an IBM ID. It's free, and if you don't have one you can get one by clicking on the "Need an IBM ID?" link on this page.

The information available on the above-listed Web pages is pretty extensive, but in case you need more help in getting started with RFE, you can send a note to my colleague Janet Figone, at jfigone@us.ibm.com.

I've been on the IBM and the user side of the DB2 community. When those sides come together to make DB2 for z/OS a better product, great things can happen. Use RFE, and become a part of that.

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