Java IoT Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, IBM Cloud, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, IT SOLUTIONS GUIDE

Java IoT: Article

JDJ Exclusive: The Future Of Middleware & Tools

Q & A with the 5 General Managers of IBM's Software Group

John Swainson, WebSphere

WebSphere Journal: Let's start at 35,000 feet: What's been the main impact of IBM's "On Demand" vision on the Information Technology scene to date?
Let's start by defining "on demand." First, on demand reflects what our customers are doing with their businesses - streamlining their business processes to make them more flexible and adaptive to new markets and opportunities. They use information technology as a tool to integrate these processes, so obviously IT is a critical enabler of on demand. In the case of IBM software, our focus has been on making sure customers can use our products - WebSphere, DB2, Lotus, Tivoli, and Rational - to establish what we call an on demand operating environment, which is a middleware infrastructure that gives our customers a way to build, integrate, and manage their new and existing applications.

 Making it possible for people to do this required that we create a new, standards-based computing model. This model is based on the technical principles of a service-oriented architecture. It is delivered in our products, ones like WebSphere Business Integration, that customers can buy today. However, more and more, we are seeing customers starting to approach this from the business process angle, using our business consultants to define the business processes, and then tying the delivery of those processes to a set of technology models that help them achieve their goals.

Many customers have begun to realize the business benefits of on demand. Charles Schwab has implemented a WebSphere-based solution to allow their financial advisors to deliver portfolio analyses to their clients in near real time. By taking advantage of grid computing features in WebSphere, they have been able to make more efficient use of server resources and reduce the elapsed time to run these transactions from 8 - 10 minutes to just 15 seconds.

WebSphere Journal: How favorably does it resonate with your customers, the fourfold typology of 21st century businesses as needing to be responsive, resilient, variable, and focused? Are there any further attributes that have emerged as being equally important?
On demand resonates very well with customers because it maps to what businesses today are trying to do - find ways to be more flexible and responsive in order to stay competitive. It manifests itself in things like our WebSphere and Tivoli products, where systems become self-monitoring and self-healing, cutting down on system outages and enabling employees to spend more time on higher-level tasks. We're also seeing more interest in business process integration projects geared to specific industries.

WebSphere Journal: How large do SOAs loom in IBM's vision for the future?
IBM has been helping customers build service-oriented architectures for more than 10 years, because SOA is a design pattern, not a product per se. We have thousands of customers who have built these on WebSphere and MQ. Based on this experience, we have worked with the industry to define a set of standards and have codified successful implementations into a set of templates and guidelines for our services teams to use.

We have worked with thousands of customers on Web services and SOA engagements, and we lead the industry in every aspect of SOA, including products, standards, education, services, and experience. Our work includes standards created by the big market share of products like WebSphere MQ enterprise messaging, as well as more formal standards. IBM was a primary driver behind the Web Services Interoperability Organization, and we work with other vendors to introduce specifications for transactions, reliability, management, and grid computing. JSR109 is a recent example.

WebSphere Journal: And grid computing - where does that fit in?
Grid computing is another technical underpinning of an on demand environment. We've been helping our customers develop grids for years, primarily for scientific analysis. Now IBM is introducing technology that can be applied to commercial grid environments to make them easier and less expensive to implement.

WebSphere Journal: In terms of the competitive landscape, since Gartner reported that 37% of all deployed application servers were WebLogic vs. IBM (at 22%), things have changed dramatically. What are the current statistics in terms of market share between you and BEA?
Last year Gartner reported that IBM's share of the application server market rose to 37% in 2002 from 31% in 2001, making us the market leader. BEA dropped to second place, with market share declining 5 points, to 29%. Our goal was to become the market leader, and we think we're extending our lead.

WebSphere Journal: When talking to your customers, what are the key integration drivers from their perspective, and how is IBM delivering on each of them?
Integration is a must, but the integration priorities of customers are unique depending on the size of the business, the industry they compete in, the customer's long-term goals, and the customer's technology capability. There are a couple of key themes that rise to the top. Customers want to link different areas of their business with those of their clients and partners, and they want to leverage as much of their existing infrastructure as possible.

We help them get there with IBM's open, standards-based approach to integration, with WebSphere. We enable customers to automate the flow of information and process transactions to help them become more agile and responsive. We use horizontal end-to-end integration to leverage existing investments to increase business flexibility and efficiency and drive ROI. IBM can tailor integration solutions to best suit the needs and priorities of any customer, no matter the industry. IBM offers 63 industry-tailored software solutions spanning 12 industries. And every one of those 63 solutions is based on WebSphere.

WebSphere Journal: How about the breakdown between large enterprises and SMBs - where does IBM see the most growth? What kind of things are you doing for the SMB space?
The SMB marketplace represents a big opportunity for top line revenue growth for IBM. According to AMI-Partners, the overall market opportunity for SMBs last year was $300 billion, and it is the fastest-growing segment of the IT market - growing faster than the IT market as a whole. SMB is also the fastest-growing market segment for IBM. We just announced a strong start to this year with first quarter SMB growth at 15% year to year - thanks in large part to a partner ecosystem that delivers more than half of IBM's total SMB revenue. Local and regional ISVs represent a cornerstone of IBM's SMB strategy - more than half of all mid-sized customer IT investments are based on the application decision.

Also, while SMBs may not have the size, global reach, and revenues of larger organizations, they still have the desire to have a successful, profitable, and growing business. IBM's Express portfolio of middleware, hardware, services, and financing is a comprehensive suite of offerings built from the ground up for SMB customers and priced with their needs in mind.

WebSphere Journal: Jonathan Schwartz went on record in JDJ as saying "middleware is history." Clearly that wasn't meant literally, but he was saying that end-to-end "systems" will supplant it as a focus. Is the IBM view that middleware, on the contrary, is just beginning?
Saying that middleware is "history" is laughable. IBM has tens of thousands of customers who need and use middleware for transactions, data management, development tools, systems management, security, and collaboration in a heterogeneous systems environment. The WebSphere platform experienced 12% revenue growth in 2003 over the previous year. The WebSphere platform grew 24% in 1Q04, marking its twenty-second consecutive quarter of revenue growth

WebSphere Journal: Scott McNealy once said "We're down to three - IBM, Microsoft, and Sun." Does the recent Microsoft-Sun pact change anything as far as IBM is concerned?
Sun is a distant fourth or fifth in middleware market share, depending on which study you're looking at. We haven't heard much about what the deal really means for Sun, Microsoft, and the future of Java, but we haven't heard that Sun is backing away from Java either. I expect that Microsoft will continue to try to convince people to move from Java to their proprietary language environment, and I expect that Sun will continue to strongly support Java.

WebSphere Journal: Some of IBM's moves in the Java space appear to be moving away from Sun - Eclipse tooling rather than NetBeans, SWT instead of Swing, and now a new virtual machine. From one perspective it looks like IBM is trying to break away from having any licensed Sun code in its product offerings. Is this the end game?
IBM created Eclipse because there was no industry standard for building and integrating application development tools. We see Eclipse as very supportive of Java, and it has made a large contribution to Java's success in the marketplace - and with more than 18 million downloads, it is by far the most widely adopted Java development environment. Interestingly, it is also being broadly used in non-Java environments as well, with a great deal of activity in the community now to build C and C++ tools based on Eclipse.

SWT was developed because many of our customers demanded user experiences that the Java Swing code couldn't provide. The whole notion behind Swing is to have a consistent UI model across clients; SWT, on the other hand, allows people to build UIs that are deeply integrated with the look and feel of the host platform. So you can build Windows applications with that look and feel that fully integrate into the Windows desktop, and the same goes with Linux and pervasive platforms. Having said that, Swing is part of the Java standard, and IBM delivers more products using Swing technology than anyone else in the industry.

WebSphere Journal: Scott McNealy told IBM to stop pushing him to open source Java until you do the same with DB2. If Java is not open sourced, how does this affect IBM's licenses with Sun in the future? How serious was the call to Sun to collaborate with you on an open source implementation of Java?
We have been stating for years that we'd like Sun to make Java a true open standard, and we remain optimistic. IBM's long-standing support for open source is based on our conviction that openness creates new opportunities and spurs innovation. Open source also gives customers choice and helps them meet their IT needs more quickly and effectively. An open source Java platform would be good for the industry, good for customers, and good for Java.

WebSphere Journal: What major product announcements is IBM likely to make this summer, or should we be waiting for the fall for the next big additions?
Later this year we'll be announcing the next generation of WebSphere Application Server, Version 6. It will be the foundation for IBM's on demand operating environment and will advance IBM's leadership in things like grid and autonomic computing, security, systems management, application development, and SOAs. We'll also begin rolling out software that will closely integrate IBM's market-leading WebSphere MQ messaging software with high-level integration to form a single Enterprise Service Bus infrastructure.

All these products are part of IBM's effort to help customers compete more effectively in the marketplace. We will continue to help customers solve pain points, such as integrating far-flung silos of information across the enterprise and with trading partners. And we will continue to deliver on IBM's on demand vision through industry leadership in open standards, ongoing investment in research and software development, strategic acquisitions of companies like Rational and, more recently, Trigo and Candle, and our unmatched portfolio of software, hardware, services and financing. That's how we are making on demand a reality for our customers.

 Janet Perna, DB2

QHow does DB2 rate at the moment in terms of the competitive landscape, versus Oracle for example?
For 2004 and into the future, our goal is to continue to be the best at providing exceptional customer value. This means offering the best technology, the best solutions, the best service and support, and incomparable time-to-value for our customers.

Our information management efforts are focused on helping customers manage their growing requirements, enabling them to more easily integrate, manage, and gain value from their business information. Companies today are not only challenged with finding ways to integrate and manage hundreds of different database systems that are scattered throughout their organizations, they are also struggling to manage information based on a wide variety of formats, across different vendor platforms and in silos throughout their enterprise. They want to be able to leverage the information within these systems to improve their operational efficiency, customer relationships, and productivity of their people.

IBM provides customers with the broadest capabilities to meet these requirements, allowing them to streamline business processes, gain deeper insight into their business information, and ultimately gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Q What impact does your division have on IBM's on demand strategy? How are you delivering on this?
IBM's on demand strategy is about enabling enterprises to respond with speed to any customer demand, market opportunity, or external threat by integrating business processes across the enterprise and with key partners, suppliers, and customers. Our information management technology is at the heart of this effort, helping customers build a flexible and responsive information infrastructure that enables them to respond dynamically to changes in their environment, industry, or economy.

Most enterprises have silos of applications and information, which have evolved over the years. Now they want to automate these systems across the enterprise and horizontally integrate them so that they work in a "demand to deliver" environment. Our unique offerings help customers automate the flow of information throughout the enterprise and enable them to analyze it in real-time, placing business information at the core of their business strategies. As a result, they can streamline business processes, improve inventory flows, and boost customer service. And of course, they can protect their existing IT investments. These are all key attributes of our on demand strategy.

Q What are the key factors driving the information management marketplace?
Clearly, there is a dramatic shift occurring in the marketplace to help companies drive more value from their business information. Key factors driving this market include the ongoing data deluge; emerging technologies such as pervasive computing and RFID, which are generating even more amounts of data; and the increasing number of people that need access this information. Additionally, there are also new requirements being placed on companies through compliance mandates. Information such as documents, e-mails, and instant messages needs to now be retained, managed, accessed, secured, and searched to bring business value, and help build a technology foundation for compliance.

Q Why is enterprise content management so crucial for companies and what is IBM's strategy in the marketplace?
As the amount of information continues to grow, it's also being developed in unstructured formats such as e-mail, video/audio, and business documents. In fact, today, more than 85% of business information is being developed in unstructured formats. Customers are looking for ways to harness this information, gain a consolidated view of it, and link it to core business processes. Furthermore, new regulatory compliance mandates like Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA are calling for increased scrutiny of information stored in e-mail and other documents, making an integrated content management solution an essential part of a company's IT infrastructure.

Content management continues to be a major focus for IBM this year. In addition to targeting small- to medium-sized businesses, addressing vertical markets and rolling out industry-specific middleware solutions, we have also upped our investment in research and development, increased our CM sales staff, and made three acquisitions for CM technologies in the past two years. No other vendor can provide the breadth of capabilities that IBM delivers today.

Q What are you doing to better support Java?
Since partnering with ISVs and application developers is strategic for DB2 and IBM's middleware business, we have a rich tradition of supporting developers by providing them with software and tools that are easy to use and easy to develop applications on. DB2 provides the broadest support for open standards, and this approach continues to give DB2 customers and developers maximum flexibility to develop database-driven applications in any programming environment. For example, the next release of DB2 will enable programmers to use the popular Eclipse toolkit to more easily and cost-effectively develop applications that work with DB2. Likewise, the next release of DB2 will take advantage of new .NET development tools well before SQL Server users can.

Q What are you doing to appeal to the developers that cater to the mid-market?
Last year we delivered our DB2 Express and Content Manager Express offerings targeted at mid-sized customers. We have seen strong support from developers for our express portfolio due to its ease of installation and platform flexibility. Specifically, DB2 Express eases application development by delivering numerous tools for automating and simplifying database functions. DB2 Express offers developers maximum flexibility, supporting XML, Web services, and Java, while simplifying development of .NET applications through the delivery of new tools that integrate seamlessly into Visual Studio .NET. Content Manager Express has helped us extend the reach of our CM offerings to the SMB segment, offering smaller organizations and departments a tool for managing digital content such as documents and image files.

Q How great a role does IBM see for Linux in combination with DB2?
Linux has always been a strategic platform for our information management portfolio and will continue to be as a growing number of our customers are standardizing on it to run their enterprise applications. IBM was the first major IT company to embrace Linux, enabling our middleware and hardware to run on it for early adopters. For example, DB2 provides the broadest support for Linux in the industry, from handhelds to the mainframe to clusters of mainframes. DB2 was the first database to support Linux, the first to support clustered Linux servers and the first to support Linux for the mainframe.

Last year we introduced, DB2 ICE, an integrated DB2 cluster offering for Linux on our xSeries eServer platform. DB2 ICES scales much higher and deploys faster than anything else available in the marketplace. This year we are extending our database leadership on Linux with specific enhancements to the next version of DB2, that will help database clusters scale higher and perform faster. The new offering will also support the new Linux kernel (Version 2.6) that better exploits DB2's 64-bit capabilities and takes better advantage of servers that use multiple processors.

We also see strong demand for DB2 on Linux in the SMB space with DB2 Express. Nearly 65 percent of solution developers who will use DB2 Express tell us they prefer the Linux platform.

Q What sets you apart from the competition, such as Oracle?
We are the only vendor focused on customers' complete information management requirements - content management, information integration, database management, and business intelligence. One of the unique approaches that set us apart from the competition is the ability to help customers integrate, access, and gain intelligence on data sources from a variety of vendors. While our competitors promote a vendor lock-in, or rip and replace approach, IBM will help companies extend their IT investments by enabling them to leverage their information assets wherever they are.

An on demand business is an information-based business. IBM is providing the framework for the evolution of the information infrastructure, which will be required to deliver information on demand. No other software company is taking this approach to information management.

 Robert LeBlanc, Tivoli

Q IBM invested in Tivoli years ago for its systems management framework. Tivoli struggled in recent years - what changes took place to strengthen the business, and to integrate with the rest of IBM's software offerings?
Since the acquisition of Tivoli by IBM, there have been a number of events and efforts that have helped shape the brand into what it is today.

When I took over as GM in mid-2001, I spent the first 60 days visiting 45 customers. We were right on target with our open standards and cross-platform approach, but had to fine-tune the delivery, so we made changes based on what we learned from these meetings. Essentially, we learned we were confusing customers with our offerings and we weren't taking full advantage of the technology in other brands. We also learned that our customers were looking to reduce the cost of operating their IT systems while maintaining growth. So, we focused on a few key areas and modified our strategy.

First, we grouped the business into a few key segments - core systems management (performance, availability, configuration, operations), security, and storage - while simplifying the product offering from more than 150 products to approximately 50.

Next, we began to leverage key IBM technology, starting with WebSphere, shifting to a modular approach for product delivery. Customers have unique needs. One may need the complete portfolio, another might want to add an identity management component to limit security risks, while a third could require storage software to meet compliance regulations. By using WebSphere, and J2EE, as the underpinning technology, customers had easier to implement, easier to deploy management solutions designed to fit their specific business needs.

Following these steps, we recognized that the broader challenge facing customers was the need to shift away from the costly, inefficient "reactive" method of systems management, and move towards a "proactive," predictive model. So we delivered technology solutions built around business policies and needs. This means that corrective responses to security threats or server crashes are now automated, freeing up resources (people, technology) to focus on the more pressing problems of the business.

It's important, as well, to note that our business has grown organically though acquisition and by partnering with industry and market leaders. We have strengthened our portfolio through innovation - continuing to develop our existing product portfolio and driving the IBM on demand initiative. Acquisitions have bolstered all of our segments; security and storage through Access360 and TrelliSoft, respectively; and the on demand management space with industry-leading technology from Think Dynamics. Finally, partnerships with the likes of Cisco, Citrix, and Siebel help us deliver industry-specific solutions to the broadest set of customers.

This focus on the customers, on meeting our customers' unique needs, is having a positive effect on our business: in the first quarter of 2004 we grew 18%, our fourth consecutive quarter of growth (on top of 12% growth for 2003).

Q Where would you position IBM with respect to CA, Veritas, EMC, and others?
The way in which I perceive us versus the companies you mention is largely based on our heritage and focus. IBM has a broader view of systems management than any other vendor; we provide customers with storage, security, and network management and we integrate with a larger portfolio of products and services that make our offering more cohesive. It's about flexibility and choice. Add to that our integration with the other brands - particularly DB2 and WebSphere - and we have a set of solutions our competitors cannot touch.

Our competitors approach systems management in different ways. Some are focused on specific areas, such as storage, which limits their scope and their ability to look at the entire IT environment. Some of our competitors are not software companies by trade and therefore are in the process of quickly acquiring technologies and learning about the software industry to catch up to the market. Some are reconciling with their customer base while trying to figure out what their role will be in an on demand world.

Our strategy is well based on a solid foundation that revolves around customers needs. We approach systems management as a critical element of a larger ecosystem that we need to keep healthy, lean, and efficient.

Q Tivoli Storage Management Software recently became part of IBM's TotalStorage offering. What drove the decision to join the sales teams? Will the Tivoli brand remain or be assimilated into the TotalStorage offering?
The decision to merge IBM Tivoli storage management software and IBM TotalStorage sales teams was a decision driven by the needs of our customers. Storage management software has become an intrinsic element of any storage strategy. Our research indicated that customers prefer to buy complete integrated storage solutions. We had all the pieces of the puzzle, so it made sense to integrate our sales efforts.

Furthermore, by re-branding the IBM Tivoli storage products under IBM TotalStorage Open Software Family, IBM has been able to strengthen its storage software position by bringing together two key elements of the on demand environment - automated storage management and storage virtualization software. We are now better able to deliver a "TotalStorage" solution that includes end-to-end storage hardware and software while continuing to deliver software that optimizes customers' heterogeneous environments.

Q What is Tivoli's role in the on demand initiative, specifically around automation; why is automation important to customers?
Tivoli's portfolio and technology encapsulates the essential elements of automation - provisioning, orchestration, availability, security, and optimization - that are critical elements of an on demand environment.

So why is it important? Quite simply, our customers are dealing with increasingly complex systems, limited budgets, and dynamic business environments to which they need to respond quickly. We are providing customers with the tools to better respond to market conditions, competitor moves, and regulatory requirements. Their IT infrastructure needs to be designed to proactively keep pace with these changing conditions and put recent and relevant industry trends in the proper business context.

Automation is important because it will reduce the costs and manual efforts needed to maintain and manage complex environments.

Q IBM has been touting identity management as a critical element of on demand. How are you making it easier for developers to integrate identity management into the applications that make up an on demand environment?
Before delving into how IBM has helped developers meld identity management technologies into the on demand environment, I think it's important to first define IBM's view of identity management, which goes beyond traditional user provisioning. From our point of view, access management and privacy management are critical to any comprehensive identity management solution. IBM has made strides in each area to ensure developers are provided with high-integrity, flexible security management offerings that are also easy to implement and integrate into any environment, on demand or otherwise.

This is evident through IBM's role in developing Web services security standards initiatives and our support for bodies such as WS-Security and OASIS. IBM is a leading proponent of Web services and has assisted in the development of widely adopted security standards like SAML. IBM has also developed the first ever privacy programming language, the Enterprise Privacy Authorization Language (EPAL), designed to give developers the ability to extend specific privacy rules across internal business systems and automate compliance to those rules. In December, the specification was submitted to the W3C for continued development and eventual standardization.

In general, IBM Tivoli offerings have long been touted for their interoperability. The security management portfolio is no different - IBM Tivoli security products are Javabased and support XML and different specifications including SAML.

Taking all this into consideration, developers using IBM Tivoli to bring identity management technologies to the forefront of their IT systems are at a distinct advantage - IBM is unique in that it combines industry leadership with comprehensive identity management solutions to create a truly valuable environment for developers.

 Ambuj Goyal, Lotus

Q Lotus remains to most people associated with groupware, its prime invention. What role does Lotus play now in the technology landscape? How does it fit for example into IBM's "On Demand" vision?
Lotus plays a vital role within IBM's on demand initiative. By creating new work environments designed to raise organizational productivity, improve communication, and extend the reach of employees, IBM Lotus software helps organizations to become on demand businesses. Lotus represents the people side of on demand, enabling the greatest resource a company has - its employees - to adapt, act, and turn information into action.

The Lotus Workplace and Lotus Notes/Domino product families are how businesses connect their people with their business processes; they are the collaboration component of IBM's on demand strategy. IBM WebSphere Portal is how businesses provide their people with single, integrated access to the information, applications, and people they need, in the context of their role. Together, they can make organizations become more focused, responsive, and better able to compete in today's ever-changing marketplace.

Lotus Workplace enables people to interact, communicate, and collaborate across diverse computing systems in a single workplace environment. An organization realizes the value of e-business on demand when its people and processes are integrated end-to-end across the organization - and with key partners, suppliers, and customers.

Q How big a driver for Lotus is customer choice?
Customer choice has always been important to IBM. It is why we have created a standards based model for delivering products and services across the on demand operating environment. The flexibility a customer gets with IBM software allows them to decide their future IT investments. We adapt to customers needs; we do not expect them to adapt to our technology.

To meet customer needs, Lotus is delivering flexible, portal-ready collaboration components, built using Web services and the J2EE architecture that can be easily customized to fit a specific industry or business. The modular, on demand design of Lotus Workplace allows customers to pay for what they use, which leads to reduced total cost of ownership.

At the same time, Lotus Notes and Domino can be a big part of a Workplace solution. IBM will continue to support Lotus Notes and Domino. With over 100 million users, it is proven technology that provides value to customers around the world. Investments in IBM Lotus Notes and Domino can be leveraged because they will continue to function seamlessly as an integral part of Lotus Workplace.

The Lotus Workplace collaboration platform is comprised of industry leading software from across the IBM Software Group brand teams. Lotus Domino's rapid application development capabilities will continue to be available, as well as new Workplace Builder capabilities being released in May. We will also provide new capabilities to leverage Domino applications in Lotus Workplace. New tools, for example, are being developed that will help customers bring new and/or existing Domino applications into the dynamic portal environment of Lotus Workplace.

Q How would you summarize the value proposition of Lotus Workplace?
Lotus Workplace integrates people with business processes. We make more people more productive in the context of their work by giving them access to the information, processes, and other people they need in order to move a process forward. Lotus Workplace improves organizational productivity by giving employees an integrated set of collaborative tools that can be tailored to their specific role or work environment. Instead of dealing with several separate collaborative applications, the Lotus Workplace strategy consolidates collaborative capabilities into a single, integrated work environment. As a result, people can quickly collaborate to address customer demands and react to changing market dynamics and competitive threats. Whether a user works from a remote location, in a team environment, or on several projects at once, Lotus Workplace products provide an integrated platform that can help enhance employee productivity and enable collaboration across an entire value chain.

Additionally, Lotus offers customers value through several Workplace business value offerings, such as Lotus Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting, designed to help companies manage processes, controls, and information that may be useful in compliance with the internal-control reporting requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Q What's the reaction of ISVs to the direction that you are moving?
Our ISVs have identified Lotus Workplace as a significant new business opportunity. Because of the open nature and easy integration of Lotus Workplace products, our partners have more time to focus on true value add and do not have to worry about integration. Preintegration of collaborative capabilities on an open, unified infrastructure has made that possible. As a result our partners are quickly deploying, tuning, and customizing workplace solutions for their customers, accelerating their application reach and increasing revenue.

Our Lotus Notes and Domino partners are excited as well. While many of them will continue to develop applications with Lotus Domino, most realize the additional value Lotus Workplace can provide. In the end, it is the customers that win. We are providing a clear path for customers to stay where they are, or adopt the Lotus Workplace model. Either way, their investments in Lotus Domino applications will be preserved.

Now, there are more opportunities than ever for ISVs with our recently announced IBM Workplace Client Technology. With this technology, ISVs in particular will be able to extend the value of existing Web- or Java-based applications, and develops new applications that will provide users with a rich user experience. This includes many rich client functions, including disconnected use, and is still centrally managed just like the network centric applications they are deploying today.

Currently, no other software vendor is offering this type of integrated collaborative platform on which partners can build customized applications and business solutions - applications and solutions that can be deployed on a variety of clients, including rich clients, Web browsers, portals, and mobile devices. At Lotusphere this year, more than 50 business partners announced news, capitalizing on the new Lotus Workplace platform and demonstrating their commitment to working with IBM Lotus software.

Q What's happening with Lotus Freelance Graphics?
Lotus Freelance Graphics continues to be offered as a capability in Lotus SmartSuite. SmartSuite Release 9.8 is the latest edition of the award-winning office suite including Lotus 1-2-3, Lotus Word Pro, Lotus Freelance Graphics, Lotus Approach, Lotus Organizer, Lotus FastSite, and Lotus SmartCenter.

 Mike Devlin, Rational

Q It's now nearly 18 months since IBM's announcement to acquire Rational. What's been the main impact of the acquisition, so far as you are aware, on the world of software tools development?
There are a number of areas in which our customers have and will continue to see dramatic improvements in the software development solutions that IBM provides. Many of these improvements have resulted from the deep integrations between solutions within the IBM software group.

An example of this is the IBM Software Development Platform, a proven approach for business and technology leaders who recognize software development as a key to business transformation.

The IBM Software Development Platform is a comprehensive set of products and proven best practices for teams who build, extend, modernize, integrate, and deploy software. It is a cross-IBM Software Group solution that includes 18 core products and dozens of complementary and technology-specific extensions, enabling clients to choose the optimal solution for their team and technology environment.

The IBM Software Development Platform enables customers to embrace software development as a strategic business process like enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and human resource management. This allows customers to automate and integrate their processes across their organization, enabling companies to be more focused, responsive, and resilient, which can yield both top-line benefits and bottom-line results.

Q What's the current status of Rational's approach to software development, Rational Unified Process?
RUP continues to lead the market as the de facto industry standard for iterative software development. In the past two years, RUP has evolved into a comprehensive but flexible process platform that allows for customization for specific customer project needs.

With the acquisitions of both Rational Software Corp. and PwC Consulting, IBM is in the fortunate position of owning two of the leading commercial software methodologies: IBM Rational Unified Process and IBM SUMMIT Ascendant. Each of the commercial methods brings significant and established customer bases. IBM also owns the IBM Global Services Method, which is used by IBM practitioners on engagements and on IBM accounts. These methodologies and offerings are quite complementary, and IBM expects customers will benefit greatly from the combined strength of IBM's full suite of methodologies.

In the short term, IBM plans to continue to support both the RUP and SUMMIT Ascendant offerings, and customers will be able to choose one or more of these methodologies, depending on their project needs and environment. For the long term, IBM plans to examine the best way to leverage the combined strengths of the IBM methods and tools - IBM Global Services Method, IBM Rational Unified Process, and IBM SUMMIT Ascendant - to lead the methodware market.

Q IBM tooling has tended to focus around its core runtimes. Rational, however, is tooled for non-IBM runtimes including .NET, Oracle, etc. What is the future of tooling in this space?
Our customers live in a heterogeneous world. Rational will continue to support non-IBM runtimes, and wherever possible seek to advance standards that allow for maximum interoperability. IBM's work with Microsoft on Web Services, BEA on Simplified Data Objects, and the OMG with UML 2.0 are examples of this effort.

Rational will continue to develop new products that are designed to work in .NET, J2EE, and other runtime environments. One reason that we have kept the Rational brand identity is to allow for some separation between our WebSphere runtime environment and tools specifically designed for it, and more general software development tools, which are appropriate for heterogeneous development.

Q With so much functionality in Eclipse, which is open source, what's the business model that allows IBM to continue make money from its tools? Does "professional open source" resonate with IBM as a useful concept to describe what the new model is?
Organizations will have a choice to make as they move into the next generation of software and systems development. That choice is to place their development information into a closed proprietary information model, or to use an open set of frameworks that they have complete access to, that are completely transparent in their implementation. Eclipse is about openness and competing based on value, not on lock-in.

For the last 40 years, the basic building blocks of software development tools, shells, debuggers, loggers, editing windows, meta-models, etc., have been continually reinvented. So much time has been spent on the basics that the real value to customers can get lost in the shuffle. Eclipse levels the playing field for the basic pieces that make up the development environment. It provides open components for everyone to use as the core of their solutions.

As adoption of those building blocks grows, more attention can be provided to focusing on value at the next level up. There are more than enough customer needs to build a software development business model. The next successful wave of solutions will be those that can take the basic components that are part of the Eclipse framework and put them together in ways that allow teams to go faster, to get closer to their business users, and closer to those that deploy and maintain their solutions.

Q How different is it for you personally, being one of IBM's software GMs instead of Rational's CEO? How do the day-to-day challenges differ from those you faced before?
The past 14 months have been a very exciting time for me personally. Being part of IBM has provided Rational with access to a vast amount of engineering resources and research. This has enabled us to more tightly integrate our software development solutions with those from the other brands of the IBM Software Group. It has also empowered us to continue our long track record of innovation and thought leadership in the software development industry. The acquisition by IBM has truly enabled us to be more successful in achieving our goal of ensuring the success of our customers.

Q Is it the intention that the Software Development Platform you announced last month will be interoperable with all five brands? Is that what will unite you all more than ever, moving forward?
Yes, the IBM Software Development Platform is about treating software development as a strategic business process because it automates and integrates other strategic business processes. It allows our customers to capture knowledge that is unique to their company and use it to sustain competitive advantage.

Over and over, IBM has seen customers use software development as a differentiator, and as a strategic advantage against the competition. By integrating content, processes, and tools from all of the IBM brands, and the services group, Rational is provided access to an incredible wealth of experience, capability, and tooling. IBM brings all of these to bear in the IBM Software Development Platform.

Q If every aspect of what developers want is now covered, from modeling through testing, what will be the future product cycle? How will the platform go on being improved still further?
The focus is on deeper integration; seamless, bidirectional flow of information; and extending the cycle into the business domain and the operations domain. Rational is focused on knocking down walls between the traditional groups in IT.

For example, how long does it take to fix a bug that is discovered in production? A week? A month? Perhaps longer? By focusing on automating the processes behind the point tools, customers can start to solve the real problems that have prevented them from becoming more responsive and flexible - problems of process, communication, and information accuracy. With IBM, we have the ability to approach this problem from all angles, and by moving our tools onto Eclipse, we now have a common, open framework at the point where these efforts meet.

Q What will be the impact of UML 2.0 when the specifications are finally complete?
UML 2.0 will provide an industry-standard modeling language that is specifically designed to support model-driven development. When UML was first proposed in the mid-90s, the primary focus was to raise the level of abstraction so that both problems and solutions could be expressed using concepts that were much closer to the problem domain than the technology domain.

UML 2.0 has gone even further in this regard with enhanced capabilities to model complex system architectures, Web services, and business processes. However, with its more precise semantics, UML 2.0 also adds a much greater potential for increased levels of automation; things such as executable models, extensive automatic code generation, and formal verification and validation. After all, automation has traditionally been the most effective technological means, by far, for dramatically improving productivity and reliability.

Q What is IBM's take on the dichotomy between high-end enterprise developers and what one might call the "business developer" - what does IBM offer those who are not members of the technology elite and for whom model-driven development isn't a must-have, but who can create GUIs, write HTML and JavaScript, build workflows, execute services, make maintenance changes, etc.?
It's IBM's view that there is a spectrum of developers, and that no one approach can meet the needs of every developer. We provide solutions for code centric, visual, model-driven, technical, and corporate developers. These tools are migrating to a common meta-model that will allow them to interoperate and seamlessly share information. This will allow developers on the same team to use a mix of development skills and styles yet all work in the same project context with the same lifecycle tools.

Steve Mills was appointed Senior Vice President and Group Executive, IBM Software, in July 2000. In this capacity, he is responsible for shaping IBM's overall software strategy and directing IBM's $14 billion software business.

IBM's industry-leading middleware products power the e-business infrastructures of virtually every mid- to large-size company in the world, and IBM holds the number one or two position in marketshare in all major software markets in which it competes according to industry analysts.

 Today, Mr. Mills is leading the next phase of IBM's software strategy, through which IBM is delivering industry-specific middleware solutions to customers in 12 key industries. This includes the development and marketing of new industry-specific offerings as well as aligning IBM's software salesforce (the world's largest direct sales and support team, with more than 13,000 people) along technical and industry lines. In addition, Mr. Mills is leading a series of programs for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to help them deliver industry-vertical applications running on IBM's middleware.

Mr. Mills has played a leading role in the growth of IBM Software Group since its inception in 1995. He was General Manager of IBM Software Group Strategy and Solutions, responsible for IBM's strategy for middleware and software solutions for e-business, as well as managing business units for Business Intelligence Solutions, Pervasive Computing, e-Commerce Solutions, and Solution Technologies

He joined IBM in 1974 as a sales trainee in New York City and was a marketing representative until 1980. In 1981, he joined the business planning staff of the Data Processing Division and became manager of that function a year later. In 1984, he was named Administrative Assistant to the IBM Vice President and Assistant Group Executive of Plans and Controls in the Information Systems Group.

He became Director of Planning in the Information Systems and Communications Group in 1985. In 1986, he was one of the executives responsible for starting IBM's Publishing Systems Business Unit. He became Director of Financial Planning at Corporate Headquarters in 1988.

He joined the Programming Systems line of business in 1989 as Programming Systems Director of Operations. He was named Assistant General Manager, Finance and Planning, for that organization in December 1990, and in December 1992 became General Manager of the division's Santa Teresa Laboratory. In 1993 he became General Manager of IBM's Software Solutions Division.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (12)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Moroccanoil®, the global leader in oil-infused beauty, is thrilled to announce the NEW Moroccanoil Color Depositing Masks, a collection of dual-benefit hair masks that deposit pure pigments while providing the treatment benefits of a deep conditioning mask. The collection consists of seven curated shades for commitment-free, beautifully-colored hair that looks and feels healthy.
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
We all love the many benefits of natural plant oils, used as a deap treatment before shampooing, at home or at the beach, but is there an all-in-one solution for everyday intensive nutrition and modern styling?I am passionate about the benefits of natural extracts with tried-and-tested results, which I have used to develop my own brand (lemon for its acid ph, wheat germ for its fortifying action…). I wanted a product which combined caring and styling effects, and which could be used after shampo...
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.