Derek Robinson 00:00:01 Welcome to Data Points, a podcast by InterSystems Learning Services. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast app. Links can be found at datapoints.intersystems.com. I'm Derek Robinson. And on today's episode, I'll chat with Michelle Spisak and Adam Coppola about the initiatives they're involved in at the 2022 Global Summit.
Derek Robinson 00:00:34 Welcome to the Data Points podcast by InterSystems Learning Services. On today's episode, I'm joined by two of my colleagues in Online Learning, Michelle Spisak and Adam Coppola, to talk about a few initiatives we're involved in at Global Summit, which is next week. It's crazy that the first in-person Summit since 2019 has finally arrived. We'll talk about Experience Labs and other initiatives that are happening at the Learning Services table that customers can look forward to checking out.
Derek Robinson 00:01:03 All right, and welcome to the podcast, Adam Coppola and Michelle Spisak. Thank you both for joining us in the week before Global Summit. We'll start with you, Adam. You want to introduce yourself and let everybody know kind of who you are and what your role is at InterSystems?
Adam Coppola 00:01:14 Thanks Derek. I'm Adam, I'm a Technical Courseware Developer. So a lot of the content on learning.intersystems.com is stuff that I've worked with experts to produce.
Derek Robinson 00:01:24 Nice. Michelle?
Michelle Spisak 00:01:26 Awesome. Yeah, I'm Michelle Spisak. I'm a Senior Instructional Designer with the Online Learning team. So what I do is I basically look at the content that you, Derek and you, Adam, create, from the learner's perspective—kind of to see if each audience that we're creating for can learn from the material.
Derek Robinson 00:01:42 Nice. And of course, more than just Adam and I, we have a whole team of content developers, and you might see some of us, you know, out and about at Global Summit, or in videos and things like that. So, obviously, we're just a few days away now from Global Summit when we're recording this, it is the week before Global Summit 2022, of course, in Seattle. And so the reason we're here is to kind of talk about some of the initiatives that the Learning department is going to be holding at the Summit in what both of you are involved in myself, and kind of what people can expect and how they can get involved. So, I think first we'll start just because Global Summit is a yearly conference typically, and we haven't actually had one now in a couple of years because of the pandemic. And the last one that we had was actually in Boston, the first time we've hosted it in our headquarter city. So just before we get into the kind of content of the Summit, I'd like to just hear from each of you kind of what your experiences are at Global Summit. I know Michelle, you've been here a bit longer than Adam has, but we'll start with you, with your experiences at past Summits and kind of what you're excited about with this one coming up next week.
Michelle Spisak 00:02:45 Yeah, absolutely. So I've been coming to Global Summit since 2014, 2015, somewhere around there. And really the thing that I look forward to the most is the chance to catch up with the people that I've met before and meet new people. We are unfortunately fairly separated from our users in Learning Services, and Online Learning in particular. So at Global Summit, it's the chance to actually get to know people, and see who it is that we're creating for. You know, sometimes we get to hear success stories; sometimes, you know, we get to hear opportunities for improvement. And so, it's really resulted in some actual friendships, which has been fun. And of course there's events like a couple years ago, we went to the Harry Potter World in Orlando. This year, we're going to the Museum of Pop Culture. Those kind of things are a good bonus.
Derek Robinson 00:03:33 Yeah. That's great. Adam, I know you haven't spent as much time here, but you were here during the last Global Summit in Boston. So what are your kind of thoughts, in your experience so far in leading into this one?
Adam Coppola 00:03:43 Right. I was at the Summit in Boston where I got to fulfill my lifelong dream of going on a duck boat <laugh>, and I've been at the Virtual Summits in the two years since then. I totally agree with what Michelle said about it being a chance to connect with our users. I think part of the reason InterSystems products are so successful are, is not only that it has a strong technical base that's scalable and fast, but also that there are built-in use cases, standards such as FHIR®, X12, in the product, and it's Summit that allows us to get so close to our customers and identify how we can bring those use cases into the product. To better serve the people.
Derek Robinson 00:04:27 Yeah, totally. I think at the Boston Global Summit in 2019, we had a little station in Learning where we were interviewing people, like getting video interviews and just having people share their stories, working with our products. And we're not doing a similar thing video-wise this year, but even just like in the halls and in launching and things like that, you can get those stories and, you know, in a less formal way, bring some of that back and use it in the content that we create. So moving to the first of, kind of two big categories of what we're going to talk about today with Learning's role at the Summit, we'll start with Experience Labs, which are something that we do every Global Summit. We have a few Experience Labs that we hold chance for everybody to get hands on, and do an exercise in some featured technologies that we have that are potentially up and coming or sometimes more stable.
Derek Robinson 00:05:12 So this year we have three labs. We have Embedded Python, InterSystems Package Manager, and InterSystems Cloud Services. So, both of you, as well as myself, have worked on all three of these labs this year in various manners. So let's start with kind of, we'll start with the Python one, I guess, because both of you, I know have had a hand in that one. What do you guys want to share about that lab, and kind of what to expect for learners and, and what the value is in being able to take that Experience Lab?
Adam Coppola 00:05:39 This is the second time we're running the Python lab. We did it at Virtual Summit last year, and the Python lab is focused on the new Embedded Python capabilities. So Embedded Python is a way of writing in Python within InterSystems IRIS, or using Python packages within InterSystems IRIS.
Adam Coppola 00:05:59 So we've built an app that demonstrates several of these ways that Python is now integrated, and the app itself takes in images of receipts, parses them, and adds it to your database, builds a graph using Pandas, which is a popular Python library. So if you like Python and want to figure out how to better use it in your development workflows, that's the session for you to attend.
Derek Robinson 00:06:22 Nice. Yeah, Bob Kuszewski, who we've had on the podcast before for both Python and Kubernetes content, he was one of our main leaders in last year's Virtual Summit Experience Lab on both Python and Kubernetes. So I think he's had a lot of experience in these types of exercises and he's kind of the person to look for as far as the expert goes.
Michelle Spisak 00:06:44 He's also doing a couple sessions on Embedded Python at Global Summit. So it'll all kind of feed into each other. So if, if any of our listeners are attending one of those sessions, it might be a good thing to follow up on, to try out Embedded Python in the Experience Lab as well.
Adam Coppola 00:06:59 Last time we offered this lab, it was on a pre-release version. And so we were actually showing it to customers for the first time, showing the feature to them for the first time. And in the year since, the product has actually been released with a lot of enhancements based off of those conversations from last year.
Derek Robinson 00:07:15 Right. Nice, nice. Yeah. So still could be some good value in people if they did attend the previous one that was virtual, to attend this one in person this year. Definitely. Cool. So that's Embedded Python. The next lab we can talk about is InterSystems Package Manager, which Adam and I have both worked on developing. So I'll kind of open it up to you again, Adam, to kind of give a little debrief of what people can expect in this lab and why this one's important.
Adam Coppola 00:07:41 The Package Manager lab is part of a push recently for InterSystems developers to create better development workflows, better DevOps. And, the Package Manager lab is focused on InterSystems Package Manager, which is a tool for sharing, and doing version control on code. So it's a broadly usable tool, and we have just a couple packages that we're showing off in this lab this year. So we're focusing on unit testing, which is another way of improving development workflow.
Derek Robinson 00:08:26 Yep. Nice, nice. Yeah. And I think some of the things people get introduced to in this lab is also relevant for future enhancements that the product might get. I think there's potential down the road for a lot more use cases with InterSystems Package Manager, and people who may be familiar and active in the Developer Community might recognize ZPM, which is an existing community based tool. And that has sort of evolved into InterSystems Package Manager. So people that are familiar with that, there's certainly some value still in taking this Experience Lab, seeing what it has to offer and seeing the direction that this product and feature is really headed. So that's number two. And then our third Experience Lab is on InterSystems Cloud Services, which will definitely make its way into keynotes and other sessions because of the really InterSystems push in the last year or so to increase its footprint in the cloud space and in the on-demand services space.
Derek Robinson 00:09:20 So I've mostly worked on this one. And so I can share a little bit about this lab, which is a little different than the other two labs that we have in the sense that people have been accustomed to Experience Labs being on sort of a tailored exercise environment, like a VM that they have prepared for them that they launch. And this lab is a little different in the sense that they're not exactly using a fully live cloud services portal, but they're using an AWS-based event portal that is launching out-of-the-box versions of these services. So, in this Experience Lab, the students will be launching two services, InterSystems FHIR® Server and InterSystems Health Connect Cloud. Health Connect Cloud will also have quite a bit about it as far as presentations and, focus sessions, and relevance during keynotes.
Derek Robinson 00:10:09 And, and so really the use case in this lab is about transforming HL7 messages into FHIR, which is kind of a tried-and-true use case in InterSystems tech, right? With is the difference here is it being on-demand in a cloud service environment. The real goal being to demonstrate this value-add of discrete Cloud Services, right? You don't need necessarily to have the overhead and cost and every implementation associated with deploying a really large and vast system that includes all of our tech when, in some cases, really what we're trying to enable customers to be able to do, is solve targeted solutions with cloud services that they can then expand, but really in a pay for what you're going to use sense. Get a taste of that via an exercise in this Experience Lab.
Michelle Spisak 00:10:59 See the value there.
Derek Robinson 00:11:00 Yeah, exactly. Right. And so, while this is, while these products aren't yet at a place where you just go kind of sign in and launch, you know, you still have to talk with Sales to be able to get an account, to be able to use Cloud Services for your company, it does have that on-demand element once you are set up, right, and you are just paying for what you use, so this lab will hopefully give people a taste of that, of just deploying on-demand on AWS and sort of seeing the flexibility that you have when it comes to, you know, two different services that you're going to use for one use case.
Michelle Spisak 00:11:31 So yeah, I think that's the benefit of Experience Labs as a whole. We keep, you know, we do them every year. They're very popular. Like what you said, you get a taste of the benefits, the taste of what's possible, in a 45-minute, hour-long session. It's really cool.
Derek Robinson 00:11:47 Yeah. And, and to your point, I think, getting a taste of it, that's one of the things that we sometimes say, even to the groups within InterSystems, when we start working on an Experience Lab project, is this is not traditional learning. Like, we're not going to take you from zero knowledge to full knowledge. Like that's not the goal of an Experience Lab, right? The Experience Lab gives you really a hands-on taste of the technology and should make you excited to go try it more and learn more about it.
Michelle Spisak 00:12:10 Take it back to your team.
Derek Robinson 00:12:11 Right, exactly. And so it's really an action-packed 45 minutes because, you know, you can ask our Classroom Trainers in Learning Services. It takes a lot more than 45 minutes to teach, you know, someone to a level of mastery on a technology. This is really to get you kind of just, you know, a little bit of experience within—no pun intended—to be able to kind of have that and be able to, you know, be really excited about it.
Michelle Spisak 00:12:33 Yeah, definitely.
Derek Robinson 00:12:34 So, anything else either you guys want to add about Experience Labs and, and kind of, you know, looking at that in the 2022 Summit?
Michelle Spisak 00:12:42 Um, I think just that, you know, we are super excited about these technologies. We have really expert presenters, expert helpers who will be there. And it's something that we are excited about. Hopefully our users are excited about it as well.
Adam Coppola 00:12:57 And after Summit we hope to put these online as soon as possible, so they can be more widely available.
Derek Robinson 00:13:02 Yeah, definitely. And we've, we've gotten better at that over the years of making these, you know, much closer to being ready to convert right away into a usable exercise for people that they can use after.
Michelle Spisak 00:13:11 Yeah. Even if, even if people aren't attending Global Summit, they can still get the benefits of it.
Derek Robinson 00:13:15 Yeah. And to that point, just the last note on Experience Labs, these are registration-required events. So if what you're hearing sounds very interesting to you and you are attending Global Summit, head right over to the Global Summit app and register for the Experience Lab you'd like to take ASAP because if these do fill up…you know, they are limited to, I think, 60 people per session, so definitely registration's required. Of course, if there is space, you might still be able to get in, but, of course, if you don't want to wait until the on- demand version after Summit, you know, get those registrations in to be able to join. So, so there's Experience Labs kind of, that's one part of what Learning Services is involved in, but, much of this now will shift to you Michelle, where you can guide us through some of the other initiatives that our team and Learning Services as a whole is involved in at the Learning Services table. And the things that are related to that. So this is totally different from the Experience Lab room. I think it might be around the corner or somewhere on site, but tell us a little bit about what people will find there.
Michelle Spisak 00:14:14 Yeah. So we're going to be in the Tech Exchange this year, at the Learning Services table, and what we are super excited to talk about this year with people is, kind of how they experienced learning InterSystems products and technologies. So, I'm going to be sitting at the table along with Janine Perkins, Josh Lubarr from Documentation, as well as Ana Vazquez from Documentation. And what we want to know is basically when you were learning something new about InterSystems, whether it was when you were first getting started at your company, when you were learning a new feature technology, or, I mean, even if you were just fixing an issue that came up, how did you learn what you needed to know? So where did you start? Where did you go next? Did you find things that helped you, were there gaps that you found, you know, we're having really quick conversations. We wanted to help people fit this in between the sessions that they're running to. So just five-to-ten-minute- conversations about where people are starting their journeys with InterSystems.
Derek Robinson 00:15:20 Nice, nice. Yeah, so I think that's, you know, really useful information to gather, and it sort of goes along with that theme, I guess, that has existed in Learning Services for a few years now, which is that we're really trying to prioritize feedback, right? Like, like getting feedback is not, you know, like I know you've been involved with, with plenty of surveys and user interviews and things like that. It doesn't, you know, just disappear once people submit feedback; we like to act on it. So, and this is a great example. People being able to take just a few minutes out of their Global Summit experience, right? And, you know, be able to make a difference and have their voice heard.
Michelle Spisak 00:15:55 Exactly. And what we want to know is basically where people are so that we can meet them there and we can support them.
Adam Coppola 00:16:03 I love that you're working with Documentation on this because I remember when I was learning InterSystems products and technology, I would always have somewhere between two and 200 tabs open on my computer. With learning.intersystems.com, docs.intersystems.com, going back and forth. And now that I'm a little more into it, I realize that the Learning site and Documentation site are created so that they can work together, and I think that's exactly the experience you're trying to improve on—is how do we make more holistic learning journey available to new users?
Michelle Spisak 00:16:42 Yes, absolutely. And I mean, we're realistic, I think, about where, how people learn InterSystems. We know that it's not necessarily going to be learning.intersystems.com. I think we're trying to be realistic about people can come from, they can start at a Google search, they can start at documentation. They can start at, you know, a colleague sending a link to something, or even on-the-job training, job shadowing, something like that. What we want to know is, what form does that journey take? Where does it start and where does it go?
Derek Robinson 00:17:17 Nice. so that's one item at the Learning Services table. What else can people drop by to find out about or take part in?
Michelle Spisak 00:17:25 Yeah. So that's us kind of getting information from our users. <laugh> We also want to be able to provide our users with information. So we're going to be doing, once again, one-on-one consultations and personal training. Personal training is where you can get 45 minutes to talk one-on-one with an expert InterSystems trainer about the topic of your choice. So that can be an overview of a new technology, a solution to a specific problem you may be having, or even a follow-up to something that you learned at Global Summit. We've done this for years and years now. It is always so popular. So we're excited to bring it back again. And then this year we're also going to be doing learning consultations, which, Derek, you're well aware of, because you're going be one of the people providing them, where again, at the Learning Services table in the Tech Exchange, you can sit down with one of our learning consultants and based on what you are looking for, start to develop a customized learning path, just to get started.
Derek Robinson 00:18:25 Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, to your point with the one-on-ones, with the trainers, those have been very popular over the years, and I think these learning consultations represent a little bit of a different angle and that the 45-minute personal training is probably best utilized if you—I don't want to speak out of turn here for the classroom trainers—but I imagine it is best utilized if you know what you'd like to learn about. So I think knowing the topic you'd like to really dive into can help you not waste any of those 45 minutes, to really get the most knowledge from the trainer that is going to be teaching you. I think, conversely with learning consultations, these might be really good fits for people that don't know where to start that have a use case, or a project or a team they're building, and don't know what items they should really be looking at, what things they should be learning, what courses or classroom courses they want to sign up for, or videos they should watch, or, you know, Experience Labs they should attend. I think, all of that sort of takes the focus from, you know, in-the-weeds content learning, and shifts it to kind of a level higher of like, where should I go to get that learning? And so I think that's where both Jenny Ames and myself will be doing these one-on-one consultations. Of course, some of Jenny may be more than I will since I'll be in Experience Labs as well, but, providing these sort of blueprints and really, you know, we're going to have these little sheets where you can actually sort of map out a sample learning path for yourself now that doesn't—if you're familiar with Learning Paths on our website—it wouldn't be an actual kind of Learning Path on the website, but it would be sort of your own kind of blueprint of like, create a path for you that you could share with your own team, assemble those links and resources, and be able to sort of create your own approach to learning, right?
Michelle Spisak 00:20:14 Yeah, absolutely. You come to us and you say, this is where I am, or this is where my team is. This is where we need to get to. And we can help you on that path there.
Derek Robinson 00:20:22 Exactly. So, so yeah, hopefully those will provide really good insight for people and be able to kind of again, have, one of the things that we're hoping to give you versus just gathering the feedback from attendees, like let them walk away with something actionable. To be able to go build their knowledge and build their teams potentially.
Michelle Spisak 00:20:38 Absolutely. Yeah. So people can email gstechexchange.intersystems.com to sign up. That's either before Summit or during Summit, depending on when this goes out. Or really just stop by the main table in the Tech Exchange, and you can sign up for any of those sessions.
Derek Robinson 00:20:56 Yeah. So if there are, so if you're onsite, you can just swing by the table and sign up for something.
Michelle Spisak 00:20:59 Exactly. Yep. There's people there to help.
Derek Robinson 00:21:03 Nice. Awesome. Last thoughts, you know, that sort of covers what we were talking about as far as Summit goes, any final thoughts in both of your excitement for next week and being able to go to Summit?
Michelle Spisak 00:21:12 I think I am just, as I said, excited to see people again. It's been a long couple years since we've been able to do this in person. So I'm really excited about that.
Michelle Spisak 00:21:22 And Adam is, this is new for you. This is your, I guess your second in-person one, but the first one in a while, that's for sure.
Adam Coppola 00:21:30 Yeah. As an online courseware developer, it's actually rare. I get to be in a room with people while we're doing learning. And so that, that's always satisfying. You know, to see those “aha” moments.
Derek Robinson 00:21:40 And to really see them versus on, in the virtual context, you just assume that they're happening sometimes when you don't have cameras on, or you don't have people actively saying, oh, like, wow, that was cool. You know, you can kind of see it in person. It definitely provides a different value.
Michelle Spisak 00:21:54 So people don't really put “aha” in the chat <laugh> you have to see the look in the eye.
Derek Robinson 00:21:59 Yeah, exactly. So, Michelle, Adam, thank you so much for joining us and we'll see you guys at Summit.
Michelle Spisak 00:22:03 Thank you, Derek.
Adam Coppola 00:22:05 Thank you.
Derek Robinson 00:22:08 Thanks again to Michelle and Adam for joining. One other thing you may want to be on the lookout for at Summit this year is our Certification team. Not only is the team looking for beta testers, but they also offer the chance to take one free certification exam for Global Summit attendees. Swing by their table at FOS 504 for more information. And otherwise, we look forward to seeing you at the Learning Services table or in the Experience Lab room for all the different things that the Online Learning team is involved in. That'll do it for our Global Summit episode. We'll see you next week, and we'll see you next time on Data Points.