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A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

Bill Malchisky  September 21 2016 12:01:00 AM
UPDATE: Wording change on the IBM Notes Template bullet to read "... getting some development love" plus a new appended sentence to indicate more accurately the type of changes that are slated.

Below is the completion of my interview with Barry Rosen, IBM Offering Manager for ICS. Enjoy!

Notes 9.0.2 and Feature Packs

* As indicated in the slide yesterday, the entire feature set of 9.0.2 will not be released into one Feature Pack (FP), but over four. Yes, the next four FPs will introduce what 9.0.2 would have offered. For some, this may be an eternity. Here is how I look at it: If we waited for 9.0.2 to actually be released, we would be looking at a late Q2 '17 release date at the earliest, based upon IBM not even evaluating the build's probability until Q1 '17. Instead, with the FP model we are getting some features now, others in Q1 '17, for starters. So, through the FP model, we are getting needed features faster with a much lower price point for IBM. Point releases are ridiculously expensive to deploy, whereas FPs are very cost-effect, while allowing the deployment resources to stay focused on development and testing. I like this model as it will keep ICS limber and more readily able to release software in a manner akin to the smart phone update release model we all enjoy.

* IBM had an issue with ND9 FP7, initially discovered with iNotes by Ulrich Krause, who created the SPR and then blogged by Daniel Nashed. Then, I provided Ulrich's PMR and correlated SPR data to Barry, who stated IBM will make its resolution a priority.

* The IBM i partners I know are concerned with the lack of attention the more stable and more scalable operating environments receive. In an effort to comprehend this, we discussed how IBM determines what creates popularity for a Domino platform, and the bias the current system introduces. The current metric rewards instability while penalizing stable scalable operating systems and this needs to change. If one can operate 100k mail users on one Power System box running IBM i, and the Windows equivalent would need a server farm, you are going to get more Windows PMRs. It lacks prudence in my opinion and based upon my experience to then say that there exists fewer users/decreased interest on i, AIX, or z/OS boxes simply because they are successful.

Please note this process applies to new offerings only. Existing products such as Domino 9.0.1 and Sametime 9.0.1 will continue to support the IBM i Platform

* How are Feature Packs helping IBM i, for example? With new products being in-scope for the opened PMR metric, existing products keeping their deployment platforms. Thus, with 9.0.1 FP{n}, IBM i will have a build. If IBM actually went to ND 9.0.2, IBM i, AIX, and z/OS would need exceptions and evaluated before a release could be considered, let alone be offered. So, by bypassing 9.0.2, IBM i lives with Domino, Traveler, and Sametime through Feature Packs. Enjoy the longevity.

* To reiterate the IBM product support announcement from mid-September, IBM Notes and Domino is alive and well. People may choose to spin things based upon what they think they know, or want to believe by how they read the prose. Instead, rather than espouse conjecture factually, I prefer to go to the source, learn sans a filter, and draw my own conclusions. I did that here with Barry. Notes has life, it will have life, and will be one of several methods of accessing a Domino back-end for years to come. That is a fact. Others may choose to split hairs based upon what they wanted to see in the announcement and did not. What I want to know is if the products I love and invested so much still have legs, and they do. This announcement confirmation represents more communication than we received in the previous years combined. It clearly is an imperfect announcement, but it is a good starting point--from my perspective and happy to receive it along with the confirmation of the IBM Offering Manager for ICS. Having stated all of this, I know all too well of the current market landscape and that IBM must turn-around the market quickly. Again, your opinion may differ herein and I am happy to hear it.

Image:A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

* Where is the Domino FP timeline? That document is currently being finalized for release. Upon receipt, I will post it on this site.

* Notes Templates are getting some development love. Yes, that is correct! The core templates will all be getting new life in a very near future Feature Pack. Barry is currently building a list of items to include and what needs to be completed for each. From here, he did confirm his commitment to fix what was broken, one step at a time. "Changes correlate to 9.0.2 features and fixes" --Barry Rosen.

Image:A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

Last But Not Least

Auditing process
- as we all know, no one has an issue with IBM ensuring license compliance with paying customers, it is the approach the auditing team takes that creates the problem. A year ago at Social Connections in Boston, the audience via several business partners from three continents offered their take on how the process could be improved and how it is costing IBM loyal customers. Fast forward til September, 2016, the situation's complexity is now better understood by IBM and they want to change it. Happy to learn that Barry and his team understand the problem and seek to address it--despite the fact that it is larger than ICS, you need someone to support the cause.

Part II Summary

IBM knows they have a lot of work to do. With new leadership and management, come the opportunity for positive change. Big Blue understands now, that they made some serious mistakes in 2013-2015, and are now, addressing them. I know the schedule delays, Feature Pack schedule from here, loss of customer base, loss of trust, and increased frustration generated previously may seem like 'too little, too late'. For me, with what I personally witnessed and learned this past week in London and over 2016, I am firmly in the camp of encouragement. IBM should not expect a clean slate from the community, but I personally like the changes I am witnessing and am optimistic for the future of ICS. Thank you to Barry for his candor and being so generous with his time. I would like to hear your opinion.

1Heiko Voigt  9/21/16 3:55:27 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

Hi Bill, thanks for your two posts that for me clearly address the facts and the plans coming versus a lot of the myth I read on other sides. Now, let's hope IBM can really deliver on the promised timetable.

2Peter Presnell  9/21/16 6:14:26 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

Thanks again for sharing Bill. I would like to point out that many of the concerns raised, largely by developers, are still very valid - they are not "myths" Heiko. The concerns are not that Notes/Domino will live on. The concerns are that we need to be able to do the same things with data held in Notes databases as others can with data stored on other platforms. IBM still needs to explain why Notes/Domino will remain relevant as a strategic development platform beyond 2016 because the vast majority of CIOs no longer see it that way. Barry and others have indicated they have received the message. So lets wait (but not too long) to see what that vision might be.

3Heiko Voigt  9/21/16 6:57:50 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

Hi Peter, I totally agree. It is yet to see, if IBM is able to deliver in a timely manner. Also, until the way forward for development is revealed, that part of the story is somewhat in limbo. But - I would like to see articles based on official announcements and plans like these here instead of speculations. And I also agree that we have to hold IBM accountable for what they promise and I guess a lot of partners and customers will do exactly that.

4Karl Cavallini  9/21/16 12:28:47 PM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

Thanks for the insights. Is the App Modernization announcement in 4Q 2016 with 2017 deliverables additional features/improvements beyond what is documented above in the feature packs for 2017?

5Bill Malchisky  9/21/16 12:47:03 PM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

@1 Glad you like the information, Heiko

@2 Thanks, Peter. Appreciate the support.

@3 Agree on providing substantiated information over conjecture or spiteful rhetoric; thank you for the compliment.

4 Karl - They are finalizing the content for that announcement, so I am unable to provide a substantive response.

6Tinus Riyanto  9/21/16 6:09:41 PM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

Since you mention compliance, I should add that there is still grey areas in the definition of authorized users since the current definition said, unique person with access to system. Is we put that person into deny list or made the internet password blank (he does not have a notes id) is that sufficient to take him out of the authorized user definition ?

7Lars Berntrop-Bos  9/22/16 12:39:34 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

Bill, you continue your excellent tradition as a pillar of our community. Thank you for taking the time to engage with IBM and share the insights with us.

I would love to see this conversation continue, perhaps with the occasional inclusion of Inhi Cho Suh. Id don't expect a high frequency, or trhe amount of content in your two posts. I do think that a solid connection with a weathered field veteran will generate invaluable feedback, and the occasional confirmation to the community that IBM's leadership stays on track. Forgive me, but given the insecurity that the rudderless episode has generated, we need that. Much trust and good will has been lost.

I am glad the Feature Pack direction supports the current OS diversity. We run Domino on i, and enjoy great stability.

8Bill Malchisky  9/22/16 1:30:59 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

@6 - I am not a license expert, but I will have a colleague look at your query

@7 - Thank you for the kind praise, Lars. I appreciate that very much. Seems a few people found these two posts valuable, so I am happy to continue them occasionally. Will state again that I concur on the loss of trust and good will sentiment; but I am liking what I am seeing both outside of and inside of IBM. Let us hope in continues. Definitely wanted to provide support for IBM i, as it is a great OS; good to know you run it.

9Graham Acres  9/22/16 8:54:44 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

Thank you very much for these posts Bill. And thank you to Barry and Ed for understanding that there needs to be communication, and taking the time to fill the void left by the previous regime with meaningful information. We all want more details, but this is a good start, and hopefully the start of a trend of regular communication about the brand.

10Olaf Boerner  9/30/16 11:29:36 AM  A Conversation with Barry Rosen, at IBM: Part II

This is an excellent comment and a great example how IBM should communicate their ICS announcements in a positive proactive way. 👍

It is a defensive but positive message. ;-)

I understand that you are not caring about Release Numbers if IBM is delivery new features via FP. However imho it is not a smart decision and which will cost IBM more money due to loosing customers revenue than saving on "packaging and testing" efforts.

MS had released new Office releases every 3 years; Apple is providing new iOS and MacOS releases every year. I never heard them complaining about expensive "software delivery".

We all know that software is a "good" with special economical attributes (high first copy cost) but but almost zero marginal costs. A software company should avoid cost related arguments regarding the software delivery cycle. It just give you an understanding about the enormous short sighted cost pressure inside IBM.

As IBM CEO or IBM GM i would move forward

1. packing FP into Releases and try to learn from Apple how to make big announcement for small enhancements.

2. focusing on selling new releases instead of wasting time trying to defend FP delivery strategies which are tough & time consuming to explain

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