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A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Bill Malchisky  September 20 2016 12:02:00 AM
During ICON UK 2016 in London, I took some time to talk with the IBM Offering Manager for ICS covering IBM Notes, Domino, Verse on Premises, and Sametime, Barry Rosen. Our initial Q&A turned into about a 30 minute dialogue, which I found quite informative. With his permission, I am posting the more interesting parts of our conversation, in summary format from my perspective.


Acknowledging Reality to Reset the Norm

IBM recognizes --- as do their customers and BPs --- that over the previous three years, they became a "rudderless ship [drifting]". With Inhi Cho Suh's leadership, ICS is clearing a massive backlog of items needing attention. She is focused on making dates and that mantra is lucid with her team. What we are now seeing is an ICS developing products while committing to release dates and unlike in years past they are making these dates. Project Hawthorn 2.0 (IMSMO) and ND7 FP7 both delivered as promised, along with IBM Verse On-premises definitely on schedule for a year-end release--and with the new internal design structure, the fastest out-the-door release of any product.  In June 2016, IBM stated that ND 9.0.2 would be re-evaluated in Q1 '17 due to resource constraints all focused on Verse on Premises. Then, IBM changed their mind when they switched to the Feature Pack delivery model and started releasing those features sooner than later (more on that Part II).

From here, IBM needs to address the application development side, repairing the perception of disparity with Office 365, Feature Pack quality, commence marketing the brand, and regain trust. With such a backlog, it will take time, and no matter how IBM ordered the list of items to accomplish, many people will say they are doing it incorrectly. For me, it is important that they are getting things done--the order for me is less important than making progress and keeping their word going forward.


Application Development

1. Application development's strategy is gaining momentum and will be released---perhaps later than many would like and I can understand that, but again, this is one of many items in the backlog needing attention. And development is getting attention--both within ICS and in the community. You don't have to go any further than my friend, David Leedy's blog post on features missing on the Dev side to understand the significance of this data point;

2. To address the need, IBM is making a big announcement in Q4 about development. This, I believe, would be a compliment to the September 2016 ICS announcement about Notes and Domino being actively developed, maintained, and supported til at least 2021. Why so long? With the new management changes in ICS, it will take a couple months for teams to learn their new roles, define a vision and execute it;

I'm not being defensive of IBM, just being realistic with how long things can take. I know many of my developer friends will be either irked or perturbed with such a delay, but I would rather receive this information this year when then can commit to it, rather than hearing something now that never happens;


3. Java 8. I know many people wanted to have this feature in FP7, or earlier and they have a fair point. See the rudderless ship comment above to know why it's delayed. The good news is that IBM committed publicly to include Java 8 in FP8, due in January '17.

Image:A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I
Part I Summary

IBM has a new cadence now for releasing items and they will build trust through delivery. Otherwise, in a year, we may all be looking for a new line of work.

See  you tomorrow!

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