Change the game. An interview with Marie Wieck, Impact keynote speaker and General Manager, IBM Software Group
Shaku Selvakumar 060001XT47 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  c_suite puresystems change expert_integrated_systems technology customers ceo bizagility ibmimpact huffington_post cio cloud business_partners developers business_agility innovation bodymedia leadership mobile
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Marie L Wieck is general manager for the Application and Integration Middleware business unit in IBM Software. In this role, she leads an organization of more than 7,000 software development, marketing, services, and sales professionals. She has oversight for IBM's WebSphere software portfolio including web application servers, transaction and messaging systems, integration, and business process management solutions. Marie also plays a leadership role in key strategic initiatives for IBM, including cloud and enterprise mobile technologies.
We managed to find time on Marie’s busy schedule to talk about the continued growth of WebSphere, the upcoming Impact 2012 conference and her views on leadership and managing change.
Congratulations, Marie! WebSphere has been growing significantly under your leadership. In fact, Gartner recently named IBM the leader in middleware software with 32.1% of the market share. Can you tell us more about IBM's leadership in this area?
Yes, the WebSphere brand has seen strong continued growth by focus on client success and meeting the evolving needs of the market . This is a true team effort . WebSphere technology is now used in over 200 IBM software products and we have expanded our capabilities to make WebSphere the platform for business agility with SOA at its core. Gartner just named us #1 again in middleware software for 2011, marking the 11th year of leadership. In 1Q, we saw continued market share growth in WebSphere Application Server, Portal and Smarter Commerce initiatives, as well as in Cloud. We also launched our cross-brand mobile strategy with its expanded capabilities from the Worklight acquisition for clients in B2B, B2C and B2E across all major device types and delivery models. Our PureSystems launch has established a new category of integrated, workload aware systems with patterns of expertise that really change the economics of IT. All these capabilities have open standards at the core and reflect a lifecycle view of delivery, making us a great partner for clients technology needs today and into the future.
In your blog on The Huffington Post, you said that The Only Constant in Life is Change . We see change compounded by various external and internal factors. What are the biggest challenges companies will continue to face?
As I mentioned, our clients, all of us really, are struggling with the rate and pace of change today. In our last CEO study, CEOs identified “change” as the major challenge. In what we called the change gap – they identified the difference between the degree of change they expected and their ability to handle it. Coming out of a global recession, CEOs feel more confident about dealing with change. But they have identified a different challenge – the complexity gap. Eight in ten CEOs expect high or very high level of complexity ahead, but less than half feel prepared to handle the degree of complexity. This difference – a 30% point gap – points to the challenge many CEOs today are facing. Agile CEOs have obtained 33% more revenue from new sources over the last 5 years than other CEOs. CEOs we surveyed also said that at least 25% of their revenue over the next 5 years will come from completely new sources and they worry their business don't have the skills to keep up. CIO visionary plans are evolving with 60% of them investing in cloud to speed their time to value and flexibility. 74% are investing in new mobile capabilities this year to extend their reach, but they are struggling to deal with a flood of different devices they need to support and manage.They know that social media is impacting purchase decisions around their products and they want to get greater insight into this sentiment and optimize other decisions they make. They want to deliver these new services, but most businesses are spending up to 70% of their IT budgets on maintaining their existing systems.
We are taking a holistic approach. By helping clients look at technology, not as an island, but as an enabler and a core business process that is essential to competitive success, we can help them better optimize IT and their business results. We need to apply the same analytics on the systems as we do on our other processes. We have focused on best practices and captured them as repeatable patterns as a core of our new PureSystems family. These same patterns can be leveraged for use in our private cloud and SmartCloud services and can dramatically improve time to value and quality of service for a measurable impact on business agility.
I would like to talk about Impact 2012 - your second as general manager. Impact is one of the few conferences that brings together both the business and the IT audience. Why is this a crucial conference to attend?
The theme of this year's Impact conference is innovate, transform, and grow. We continue to invest heavily in making WebSphere the platform that businesses can leverage to address the competitive and rapidly changing nature of business, making it easier to extend their reach to new clients with our new capabilities for mobile, social and cloud capabilities. At this year's conference, we're announcing new products and will showcase how these offerings can help clients optimize business process and decisions for better business outcomes. We'll have extensive coverage of our new PureSystems family of expert integrated systems, so clients can get a hands on look at how this technology can change the economics of IT so they can spend more time on business innovation. Powered by WebSphere, the PureApplication System can rapidly address business needs by capturing patterns of expertise harvested from thousands of successful client engagements. As part of our Forbes Business Track line of business executives can see how these technologies can benefit them in an industry specific context. But most importantly, it is the place to network and share best practices on how technology drives business success. IBM experts, industry leaders and hundreds of our business partners and our clients will be sharing their views and experiences on how our technology is driving better business outcomes.
And what role can IBM, its technology and ecosystem of business partners play in helping clients change the game?
We know that the rate of change is increasing and that the "consumerization" of technology has increased expectations for time to value and ease of use, but that doesn't change the demands on technology for availability, security and performance to provide enterprise reach and Internet scale. I think clients are increasingly looking not just for a technology vendor, but a trusted partner who can help them achieve these goals in an open and flexible way. Together with our certified partner ecosystem, we can provide that expertise in technology, expanded by business and industry insight. We will be enhancing our capabilities in our core application infrastructure, integration, BPM and Decision Management, and we are providing the flexibility to leverage these capabilities for deployment in public or private clouds and with mobile reach.
Take, for example, BodyMedia. This client has a new system that leverages IBM's ILOG JRules technology and IBM business partner Summa's solution that provides personalized analysis and daily advice, tailored to each user’s specific activities, and food consumption to help keep them on track with their weight loss goals. A terrific example of how integrating data and providing insight and analysis of everything from business processes and operations to personal goals can yield remarkable improvement.
Another great example is Wuxi, China - a major center for industry and commerce, ranked in the top fifteen cities in China. Recognizing that start-up companies don't always have the financial capital required to invest in enterprise class IT infrastructure, the municipal government has created a hi-tech business park offering shared resources on a pay-as-you-use basis. To ensure that shared services would be available, not just inside the business park but across the whole municipal area, Wuxi opted for a cloud computing solution. The IBM cloud effectively enables new software development businesses to gain a virtual enterprise class data center, sized perfectly for their requirements and doing it in a matter of minutes, not weeks or months.
Impact has a Day 3 focus on developers. Not only is there the General Session with key leaders, including Beth Smith and Jerry Cuomo, there will be a mini main tent on "The New Development Reality" along with an Unconference as part of the program. Can you tell us more about IBM's developer focus at the conference?
With mobile, social and cloud, new styles of development and new classes of developers are emerging. These range from my fifteen year old daughter programming a robot to enterprise developers who want to extend their business applications to mobile. As I mentioned, almost 3/4 of CIOs are investing in mobile. In fact, our surveys indicate over one third of new mobile apps will be deployed to the cloud so we can see how increasingly important the intersection of different technologies is becoming. We see developers at hundreds ISVs who want to leverage our PureSystems capabilities to create patterns of expertise to allow their applications to be quickly deployed. This highlights another intersection. Speed and success is not just about the developer, but about the technology life cycle linking developers and operations. We have been focused on connecting these dots across roles and technologies throughout the development process, and we are very excited to share many new capabilities in our platform to improve productivity and innovation.
Marie, you are an inspiring role model for women and you will be hosting the Women's Panel at Impact on May 1. What advice do you give the women you mentor on developing their leadership skills?
I'm very excited about the women's panel because I'm always interested in ways we can "pay it forward" to share success stories and help the next group of women leaders progress in their careers. We have a great line-up of women leaders from clients, analysts, partners and IBMers sharing their insights and personal experience. From my own perspective, I have followed a few key rules of thumb in managing my career. I have to say I've never had a clear vision of "what I want to be when I grow up," but I have always been excited by new technologies and learning how to apply them to improve our clients' business outcomes. I generally urge women not to shy away from P&L roles and to embrace technology as an arena where they can differentiate themselves. I also firmly believe that to be successful, you have to be passionate about what you do. So when considering a new role or new company, you have to be able to answer three questions:
1. Are you excited about the role and the difference you can make? 2. Will you learn something new? 3. Do you bring unique skills to the table to advance the business?
If you can clearly answer these, then it is probably a great opportunity. If not, use these insights to focus on building your skills. And always work with your mentors or sponsors to test yourself on these answers and how it can help guide your leadership development.
Thank you so much, Marie, for taking time to share your thoughts with us!
Interested in learning more? Listen to Marie Wieck at Impact 2012. Marie Wieck will join other stellar keynote speakers and kick off the Day 1 opening session on Monday April 30 at 8:15 am.
Meet her at the Impact Social Happy Hour and watch her interview on ImpactTV on Tuesday, May 1 at 4pm.
She will also talk about innovation and leadership at the Women's Panel on Tuesday May 1 at 5:15pm.
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