Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Anders Wallgren, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud: Article

An Exclusive Interview With Doug Wilson On SYS-CON.TV

IBM's Lotus Division CTO Speaks Out

WebSphere Journal recently interviewed Doug Wilson, Distinguished Engineer and CTO of IBM's Lotus Software Division in Westford, Massachusetts.

Doug Wilson Speaks About His and Lotus's Background...

WebSphere Journal: Doug, could you please provide our audience with a little bit on your background and what path you took to your current job and responsibilities with the Lotus Software Division.

Doug Wilson: Like many people, my career path is a bit checkered. I started some time ago working at MIT as Director of Systems Operations and Systems Development for Project Athena, which, as you may recall, originated a lot of the UNIX based and X-Window based user interface technology. From there I attempted to work in the venture capital land, started a company to do computer aided mechanical engineering design, worked for a while at Kodak building office automation systems for the legal profession and then joined IBM at that time, Lotus, in 1991, where I worked on versions of 1-2-3.

In particular, I was the chief architect for Windows versions 1-2-3 and Smart Suite which was then being acquired by IBM. I worked on a variety of projects at IBM but many centered around the componentization of functions and Java technology.

WJ: What overall role does Lotus play within IBM today, and specifically within the company on the on-demand initiative?

DW: It's actually quite exciting for Lotus now. Lotus has taken the responsibility, within IBM, is really to build the face of the On-demand operating system. We're responsible for those parts of the IBM portfolio that deal with the interactions between users and systems, the organization and presentation of information. Products like WebSphere Portal are part of the Lotus Portfolio, as you certainly have known in recent months. We've released the Workplace Client Technologies and have the responsibility for marketing and engineering of that product as well. Of course, our history has been in Lotus Notes and Notes Domino, and we continue to be extremely strong there with a large customer base of a hundred million plus users.

WJ: What level of support can corporate buyers, in particular, and users, as well, expect to see from IBM for Lotus and Domino in the coming months or coming years?

DW: I think the first word would be unwavering. Domino is a critical part of the portfolio and obviously it's a critical part of the IBM business. IBM itself has close to 300,000 users on Notes. So along with our own internal interests we continue to drive and work towards the interest of all of our Notes Domino customers. It's also important to note that any system that customers have today is part of every system they will build in the future.

WJ: When you say system, are you referring the ability of Lotus to work across platforms and infrastructures?

DW: Well, certainly it does do that, but more specifically I was suggesting that customers have built up an incredible inventory of business critical systems on Domino, and those systems are always necessary going forward and will be part of the customers' future. And so the Workplace initiatives fully embrace all of that and extend the reach of those systems.

WJ: So you're respecting the vital aspects of Lotus in the Workplace and different vertical markets and applications.

DW: Absolutely. Lotus has always been in the platform business and the tremendous strength in Notes is attributable to a large partner community and we see that continuing as we enhance the Domino story with the Workplace story. About Addressing Customer Needs...

WJ: What specific problems are your customers addressing today to Lotus, and how has this evolved over the past few years?

DW: I think our customers are principally concerned with improving the productivity of their employees. A key differentiation in a market can be driven through the productivity of your people. Once you've driven costs out of as many of your systems as you can, one of the few places you have to make substantial differences is in the productivity of the people. That has been the traditional focus of Lotus products, whether for individual productivity with Smart Suite or team productivity which is a focus of the Notes Domino portfolio. Now with the Workplace initiatives focusing on organizational productivity, we are making people work better and more effectively in the context of the business operations that make up a company.

WJ: You were just talking about because you're always checking the feedback from your customers and responding in terms of product development to their increasing needs and expanding and diversified needs. And that's, I guess, reflected in every subsequent release of Domino. Can you be more specific in how you're meeting those current and anticipated customer needs?

DW: Certainly one of the things that we continue to do with the portfolio is to drive cost out of the operation. Domino now is significantly more efficient and capable than it was before. It is more in-tuned and integrated with modern technologies like Web services, and emerging new standards wherever they're appropriate. We continue to assist customers all the time with business value assessments that help them understand how better to utilize those technologies. Many of our customers are utilizing new capabilities and notes and new platforms to achieve significant cost savings through server consolidation which results in, of course, lower cost of ownership both from hardware acquisition and maintenance standpoint, but also in personnel that it takes to manage and administer those systems.

WJ: So you've seen those numbers actually declining as well on the number of quantity of administrators and support that's required?

DW: Yes, and the numbers are significant: factors of three to five in the reduction of the number of CPUs necessary. That's an accumulative effect of better SMP systems and better utilization of those systems by the software itself.

WJ: Would you say these particular factors have accelerated in the last year, given the current state of our economy? Are you more sensitive to total cost of ownership and cost of management and admin? Is that something that you've always been aware of something that you're trying to reduce?

DW: I think it's always been important but certainly in the last couple of years there's been an increasing focus on IT in driving costs out of the system. Actually, though, as the economy has improved lately, we've seen a swing back to more strategic projects and people really looking for ways to get more capability out of their IT systems and not just driving down costs. And that really leads us to look for new opportunities-and that's the most exciting focus of the Workplace portfolio.

We need to really figure out how to do that business more efficiently. We are embarked on really the first phases of what we see as a fundamental change in the way we approach collaboration in computing systems, and almost all business decision operation kinds of things are collaborative. Very few things are done by people in isolation, and are certainly not done outside of a business context that drives those decisions. We see tremendous opportunity in integrating the collaborative systems with the business systems that provide the context that employees need to make decisions that provide the information feeds all in the context of the particular business operation.

About Customer and Marketing Relationships...

WJ: We understand, Doug, that marketing relationships are critical to the success of all software products in environments today. Could you describe for our audience the extent of IBM's Lotus marketing program today? And how many partners, for example, and can you offer an example of great customer success stories? Those are things that our audiences are always interested in hearing about.

DW: Well, there are great success stores all over the place. One good story involves a major insurance company using our Workplace Client Technology to drive increased productivity in their organizations, handling claims more quickly, handling claims on site without the employees having to be tethered to the IT systems, and providing significant increases, significant improvements, in policy handling. We have customers with many, both internal- and external-facing portal implementations that are providing new sources of information, aggregation and feed to their employees to get them information more quickly. We have customers deploying our new Workplace services in order to provide low cost messaging and communication services between mobile employees, people who have no desks, but move from kiosk to kiosk.

WJ: And your marketing programs?

DW: What I think you'll see from IBM is a focus that is not as much software-brand-led as it's been in the past, but rather focused on the problem of the IT and business organization as a whole. The On-demand initiative from IBM is one that's really had resonance with our customers. It describes a set of ideals for business in terms of business agility responsiveness, flexibility, which are particularly important to businesses in the current market conditions, as things change quickly, as organizations merge and divest, in-source and out-source their capabilities. These are all things that are representative of the needs for a company, and correspondingly its IT organization needs to be very agile. The On-demand initiatives in IBM are about responding to that and providing IT the tools needed to do that.

WJ: So will the tools and software take kind of a back seat to just providing an overall solution or capability of creating greater agility for an organization?

DW: I wouldn't say a back seat. I would say that they are foundational, Right? That those software systems are necessary, that integration is a key to all of this. If you look at IT spending projects, tremendously large percentage of those projects are oriented at integration kinds of activities. Consolidation and acquisition force those issues and expanding opportunities drive new modalities and new channels for delivery of services.

About Lotus Workplace...

WJ: Nearly a year after its launch last June, how would you define the business opportunities inherent in Lotus Workplace? We've been hearing more and more about Workplace. That's part A of that question, and part B is has a full set of APIs now been released for Workplace or is that something we can anticipate?

DW: To the first question, as with any new portfolio, you expect there to be people out on the leading edge of that who are achieving success. We have those customers and they're doing quite well. I think we have a number our customers, in the thousands now, for the Workplace product portfolio. It's a very broad portfolio as well and encompasses both stand-alone offerings from Web content management to one of the very exciting offerings which is Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting which is very relevant to corporations today who are faced with compliance requirements through the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the like.

WJ: Are you offering solutions that are more vertical?

DW: We offer the Sarbanes-Oxley solution as a platform in conjunction with partners who bring the domain expertise on regulatory compliance and the templates and patterns necessary for achieving compliance in an organization.

WJ: Highly specialized...

DW: Yes. So again, we, as IBM, specialize in foundational and platform software. We turn very much to our partners to drive the solutions across all of the domains that they work in.

WJ: Are there any particular vertical industries that are quicker to adopt Workplace versus others that you're seeing any particular uptake in one versus the other, or is that something you can share with us?

DW: It's a very good spread, actually. The financial institutions have been quite responsive. We see very high interest in professional services organizations as well, which, of course, you'd expect because of the high degree of collaboration between individuals there. But it's quite evenly spread. IBM has a strong industry focus solutions team and every one of them is actively engaged with the Workplace technology so it's very good.

To the second part of your question, APIs for Workplace. Yes, there is an API for the Workplace collaborative services, and again I would probably stress that Workplace is a high level brand in IBM. There are a number of products under the Workplace umbrella and I suspect the one you were specifically asking about is Workplace Collaborative Services, and yes, there is an API for all of the service functions coming in the 2.5 release, which is imminent.

Part 2 of this interview will appear in the May 2005 issue of WebSphere Journal. Doug Wilson talks about RFID and retail, Lotus and J2EE, Eclipse, and other topics of interest.

Doug Wilson, CTO, Lotus Product Division, IBM
Doug Wilson is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and chief technology officer for the Lotus Product Division of IBM's Software Group. Prior to this he was responsible for architectural strategy for Domino and WebSphere integration, WebSphere Portal Server and WebSphere content manager, and WebSphere Personalization. He invented and managed the design and development of Lotus InfoBus technology, a data exchange technology for Java components that has been accepted for inclusion in JavaSoft's Java Developer's Kit as a Java standard. Doug holds a degree from M.I.T.'s Department of Mechanical Engineering. douglas_wilson@us.ibm.com

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

Comments (0)

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
18th Cloud Expo, taking place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...