IBM Summit Program: Weeks 15&16 | Alyssa J Freitas: IBM Summit Program: Weeks 15&16

October 11, 2017

IBM Summit Program: Weeks 15&16

Check out weeks 1&2, 3&4, 5&67&89&1011&12, and 13&14 here!

A quick note before jumping into the post. As you know, I’ve been blogging every two weeks throughout my training. After this week I’m going to switch to every three weeks because that will work best with my travel schedule and bring us to the end of my Summit experience nicely. I know it will be incredibly hard to have to wait a whole three weeks to hear from me again, but I have confidence that you’ll make it.

The last two weeks have been mostly landing team focused (more on that in a second!) with some of my formal Summit responsibilities mixed in. I love the way the program is designed to get you started on the team you’re working with in phases, while continuing your general sales training.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! These past two weeks included a data center tour, accepting a position on a landing team, and meeting Pepper! Check out how the IBM summit program is progressing
Last week my partner John and I did a presentation on the book Getting to Yes for our Summit manager. We’re learning about negotiation skills in preparation for our next in person Global Sales School (GSS) role plays. This exercise also helped us to work on a remote team and do a virtual presentation (my first!). It was fun to pick a scenario and discuss how different negotiation tactics would be helpful. When I was in college (back in the day) I took a course where Getting to Yes was the textbook, so it was awesome to dive into the principles again and get an even better understanding of how it can be applied in the professional world.

Next week we’ll be going to Dallas for a course on communication and presenting based on financial research. In preparation each team was assigned a company and had a discussion with the IBM client executive (the person in charge of managing the IBM relationship) on the account. Learning about the organization’s priorities and goals from the client exec was helpful and I’ll be interested to see how it all plays out when it’s our turn to communicate these imperatives next week.

Another GSS task for this week was turning in and presenting the work we did on developing a solution for a client scenario. We had to choose the technical elements to include and create supporting documentation to show the client that we had the best offering for their needs. It’s always good to get a closer look at the technical side that I don’t have as much experience with.

Speaking of the technical side, we went to visit the IBM data center in Poughkeepsie. To say I was impressed is an understatement. First off, when we walked in we met Pepper (although she wasn’t turned on to talk, she was just quietly hanging out) and were introduced to our guides for the day. We got to tour two separate data center buildings, as well as the manufacturing center and the client center.

It wasn’t quite like I imagined a data center to be. In my mind I was going to enter an actual warehouse, with high ceilings and be able to look out into rows of mainframes. Instead, it was a maze of mainframes, with different temperature controls, all humming away. Still impressive, although different than my imagination.

The manufacturing center was my favorite because we got to see exactly how certain elements of our mainframes are produced and I loved hearing about how the process has changed over the years. Our guide, Glenn Podgurski, told us that when he joined over 25 years ago there was a major production line and the process was run by countless people. Now when a mainframe is built, it take a matter of days to assemble by a small team. I also think it’s great that during the busiest month of December, other employees with technical roles in the data center will come back to where they all started in manufacturing to help out with the extra volume.

As part of our data center day, we also got to have a discussion with Jose Castano, the VP of IBM z and LinuxONE. It was great to hear from someone who made a career at IBM in different functional areas and to ask all manner of questions, from career advice to the future of certain solutions. We also participated in quick sessions about storage, cloud, z hardware, and Spark that were great continuations of what we saw during the day.

The big news of the past two weeks is that I am on a landing team and know what market I’ll be selling to after Summit is over! I have accepted a position with the Watson Financial Services team and am very excited to be part of an emerging group in IBM. Looking forward to keeping you all posted on what I learn and experience now that I've narrowed down my focus. Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back in three weeks!

-AJF
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