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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!
Comments

1Erik Bors  9/20/16 12:57:53 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Thanx for posting the conversation. We see that a few years ago, that Domino is really not the priority for IBM, and there are only 5 years left. But i have questions, what will happen after 2021? How about security packs? What should i tell all my customers about future of all applications we have developed? Will it be like with all old apps on old versions of Domino - still running and fully fuctional :-)

Thanx

2Bill Malchisky  9/20/16 1:06:10 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Hi Erik - I will cover the five years piece tomorrow and in another blog post I am putting together. We also discussed this at length at the ICON UK "Ask IBM" session. Five years is a good length, as if they went with ten years, then it is viewed as "More of the same," to quote a good friend present at the session. Think of it this way, five years with several options to renew. More later on that soon here.

Thank you for your comment, Erik.

3Thomas Winter  9/20/16 3:46:48 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

The shown Notes client roadmap showcases that the new management - finally - delivers the promises of the previous management. That is great. And "only" with a 2+ years delay. There are no new features on the list. So we'll have to wait for another year or even more for something "new"? And where is Domino on this list?

Also the developers are waiting for this "application modernization" roadmap point. From my understanding IBM hasn't decided yet what this will be. So is it a guess that the announcement will be as big as you say? Or are there already more insights publicly available?

4Darren Duke  9/20/16 5:33:33 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

You say, "developing products while committing to release dates and unlike in years past they are making these dates".

How is this even a reality? In June 2016 IBM committed to release 9.0.2 in Q1 '17 (your own words). This announcement (June '16) was made after 5-6 months under the new "regime". Yet now 9.0.2 has been cancelled. So not only did IBM not "make the date", they moved the goal posts, then changed the rules, and then deported the team. Hardly "committing".

As to the new delivery mechanism, the FP's are not adding many (any?) new features that we haven't already seen/been promised at every LUG/Connect for the last 3-4 years. It looks like a (small) handful of these already stated 9.0.2 features are being sprinkled around the FP's. Oh, and we've go to wait until Q4 '17 to get them *all*? How is this better than rolling out a 9.0.2 and giving me *all* of this in Q1 '17?

IBM have yet to explain their rationale with this move, beyond a few fluff standard IBM blog posts. IBM just need to throw the light of day onto this, and tell customers and partners what the hell is going on. You may have more clarity from this meeting, but I do not from the resulting blog post.

Oh, if you've ever used Office 365, you realize pretty quickly there is no "perception of disparity". There is just "disparity". *cough* OneNote, *cough* Office, *cough* (relatively) simple AD integration.

5Richard Moy  9/20/16 6:48:46 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Darren,

You assume that you can logo into Office 365 in a timely matter.

6Peter Presnell  9/20/16 7:28:45 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Hi Bill, thanks for taking the initiative to publish this information. I had a chance to have a similar conversation with Barry at MWLUG and I think its great that he is allowing you to publish additional information. We can all debate the merits of IBM's plans (thank you Darren), but we can only get to do that if somebody such as Barry is prepared to engage the community and share what he knows. I would hope everybody will appreciate Barry's efforts to be more transparent about IBM's plans for application development and not shoot the messenger. If you have your own ideas or even just want to vent about what IBM is doing I believe Barry is prepared to listen to what you have to say.

7Bill Malchisky  9/20/16 7:54:15 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Great to see some discussion on this topic. Let me address both Thomas' and Darren's input separately.

Thomas, The Domino list is coming. I provided what I had. Thinking that I will have it in a day or two and then I can post it. The new release model allows for hot items to be included as well, so if a new security standard or breach reveals itself, they would be able to include that faster and cheaper, in addition to the items offered on the time-line. On the application announcement, with Barry absorbing much of what Pete Janzen did, he understands the importance of getting the application development piece right and that is why the announcement will be next quarter.

8Bill Malchisky  9/20/16 8:38:26 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Darren, I appreciate your passion and directness very much. Here we go:

1. This post is completely based in reality. I covered the lack of progress over three previous years with candor in the first paragraph by design. Did you perhaps miss that point?

2. You mis-quoted me and that unintentional mishap changes dramatically your premise. I never stated "committed to release 9.0.2 in Q1 '17", but used the precise term that Ed Brill offered in Toronto: "Re-evaluated". Which to me, implies they will in Q1 '17 look at whether to even offer 9.0.2, then if a go, look at a release cycle. That puts it out as a Q2 '17 release date at the earliest. Very different time-line than your response.

3. As for the name itself, I could care less whether IBM refers to it as 9.0.2, 9.0.3, 9.0.1.FPN; I want features and quality, not release numbers. They are doing that now--which is great. Previously, they were not. I, like you, am also upset with the 9.0.2 delays, for reasons that I will avoid stating publicly, for clarity. That is not moving the goal posts, but wait til tomorrow on that.

4. I cover the the Feature Pack decision in detail tomorrow, so I ask that you return to read that piece and let me know then, what questions remain for you.

5. Although we did not cover the O365 piece in my discussion with Barry, it was covered in several side conversations at ICON UK, where people seemed to like the feature set. Your three items create a slightly different perspective than discussed; I commence further testing later this month to be better acquainted. On your points, I offered an ICS to O365 critique during the Ask IBM session in London on this very topic. I cited Office and integration in general as reasons why people leave. But with all the damage IBM created through a lack of marketing to keep customers in the IBM camp, the perception created needs to be addressed, and they are aware of that now--where previously the was that disconnect re-appearing again.

Thanks again for the feedback.

9Bill Malchisky  9/20/16 9:28:24 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Spot-on, Peter. Thanks for the comment and perspective.

10Thomas Winter  9/20/16 10:35:11 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Thanks for coming back on this Bill.

I don't see the great advantage with the new release model about security fixes et al. That has been solved quite well with HFs (even if the uninstall process before applying a new FP is cumbersome).

On Twitter I found pics of the roadmap for Domino. It is BAD that things that have been promised for 9.0.2 are partially "under discussion" for delivery in 2017 or later. And I'm saying this as a customer who pays since years for nothing. Please don't argue that we got TLS etc. That should have been done for years.

As you can see I'm not sharing your enthusiasm. IBM left us, customers, alone. I'm not longer going to IBM events or else as there is nothing net new to learn (and for that my CIO doesn't send me). Outlook or Verse on Premises aren't "the big thing" for us.

Tell me - what should I tell my boss to stick with the platform?

11Bill Malchisky  9/20/16 11:30:37 PM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Thomas - I would never argue with you about TLS. Give me some credit here, please. :) Absolutely waited too long to include.

I cover some of your other points shortly, in Part II. Absolutely, I concur that IBM left their customers, along with many partners. As stated in this post, they have to build trust through releases. Anything else is unacceptable at this point. Stop talking and start producing.

To better address your input request, what is your boss' primary concern? Then, I can answer it.

--Bill

12Thomas Winter  9/21/16 1:30:07 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

The main concern is that we're running a platform that got - obviously - no love from the vendor.

We paid maintenance for fixes, but not for features. The foreseeable future (thanks for your 2nd post) doesn't really show any interest by IBM into adding new features. Whatever they may be. No fresh ideas.

The concern is emphasised by the fact that the number of 3rd party solutions is nothing compared to other mail platforms like O365 or GMail. Their ecosystem are way bigger - while the ICS ecosystem seems to shrink more and more. Today I cannot get a sync solution for our CRM. Tomorrow I cannot connect our CTI. Next week I cannot...

13Anonymous  9/21/16 7:42:47 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part I

Bill -- Thanks for your post. While many of us try to remain hopeful about the future with Notes/Domino, it's clear that IBM is (and has been for years) on a different strategic path for application development. I know that's no secret to anyone here but if anyone harbored any lingering doubts this announcement should throw some light on things:

{ Link }

To my mind, this is a huge missed opportunity for IBM in general. Box Relay should have been the solution that IBM came to market with instead of having to go with a third party.

The language used to market Relay is what many of us might use to market Notes/Domino and other ICS products:

https://www.box.com/collaboration/relay-workflow

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