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COMMON Americas Advisory Council (CAAC) and RFEs

Dawn May highlights several IBM i client advisory councils.

Hopefully you are aware of the many IBM i client advisory councils, and specifically for this week’s article, the COMMON Americas Advisory Council (CAAC). CAAC represents IBM customers from a variety of industries and sizes, and meets with IBM via conference calls and face-to-face meetings on a regular basis. The group has two primary objectives:
  • Provides feedback to IBM on future product plans
  • Gathers requirements from the COMMON community and submits them to IBM.
With the COMMON Annual Meeting coming up very soon, it’s time to provide an update on how the COMMON requirements process works and the role CAAC has with requirements.

In April 2015, I wrote a blog on COMMON requirements. That blog reviewed the requirements site provided by COMMON and how to submit a requirement to IBM. But times have changed and so has the process.

Quietly last year, IBM i transitioned to using the IBM Request for Enhancement (RFE) tool for IBM i requirements. Recently, information was published to make this transition more widely known. Steve Will wrote about it in his blog, IBM i & RFE – Improving Future Business Value, and Nancy Uthke-Schmucki wrote an article published on the IBM i developerWorks site, IBM Request for Enhancement (RFE) allows IBM i clients to affect the course of the future.

The COMMON requirements site still exists, but the reality is most IBM i clients have been submitting their requirements by opening an RFE.

What does this mean for COMMON requirements and the CAAC?

All successful organizations adapt and change over time, and the CAAC is adapting to this different requirements process. The objective is to ensure the CAAC continues to provide an advisory role on requirements submitted through the RFE tool. The CAAC will review RFEs and provide input to IBM on the value and priority of the RFEs they review via public comments. Everyone will be able to see the input from CAAC with these public comments, which makes the work the CAAC does more visible to the IBM i community.

Anyone can submit an RFE—all you need is an IBM ID to sign into the RFE site. When an RFE is submitted, there is a Source field that can be used to identify where the RFE comes from. The default is none, but there is a value (COMMON) to reflect that the originator is associated with COMMON; however, anyone can use this source value. If you submit a requirement that’s related to what you learn at COMMON, you may want to use this source field. In fact, if you think your RFE is applicable to a broad set of small-to-medium IBM i shops, you may want to consider specifying COMMON as the source.

You can submit an RFE with the source as COMMON prefilled. First, you must log into the RFE / developerWorks site using your IBM ID. Then, use the following URL:

One of the benefits of the RFE process is the ability to vote for RFEs you would find beneficial to your business. This voting mechanism helps IBM and CAAC understand which RFEs are important for a large number of clients.

There is a large backlog of RFEs to review as the CAAC moves to this new process; RFEs are being prioritized for CAAC review, with the ones having a Source value of "COMMON" being the highest priority. The number of votes and the submitter’s priority are also used to rank the RFEs for CAAC review.

If you are at COMMON next week and want to know more about the CAAC or the requirements process, you will be able to find me and the CAAC members at the conference—we’ll be more than happy to talk with you.

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