Last week, published an interview with Bob Picciano, the new General Manager of IBM Lotus software.  Debbie Lynd takes Picciano through a number of interesting topic areas, including marketing (of course), what collaboration means today, how Symphony is impacting the market, and going green.  I haven't met Picciano yet in the seven weeks he's been on the Lotus team, so even for IBMers this interview is insightful.

One area that Debbie discusses with Bob is any advice that Bob has received from Ambuj Goyal, the General Manager for IBM's Information Management division and former Lotus GM (in his most recent previous role, Picciano was the VP of sales for Information Management).  Debbie's question and Bob's answer both touch on a notion that I've heard recently surprises people -- that Goyal retains his passion for Lotus.

In talking to a former colleague the other day, they said that there was a distinct impression amongst IBMers in the field that Ambuj's tenure at Lotus had very mixed results.  In the discussion, I surprised this person by telling them that actually, Ambuj was in some ways a hero who recognized the value of Lotus Notes, and who made the changes in the organization that have lead to the continued success of the product today.

My own role for the last four years as the sales leader responsible for Notes/Domino was created directly by Ambuj's efforts.  He recognized that the large installed base, and unique technologies in Notes, meant it was a mission-critical platform for customers  -- and acted accordingly.  He put in place the efforts that lead to his announcement of Notes "Hannover" in June of 2005, and he presided over the beginning of the now fourteen consecutive quarters of revenue growth for the Lotus brand (and 13 of 14 for Lotus Notes specifically).  He conceived of Symphony, and recognized the need to make a major investment in Sametime.

Lest anyone think that I'm revising history or only telling the good, it's also true that the Workplace brand came about in Ambuj's first days with the Lotus division, and not everything was perfect at the time.  But the mention of him during this podcast reminded me that I've been meaning to write something like this for a while.  

In listening to this podcast and some interesting ideas, I hope that Picciano will lead to similarly positive milestones during his tenure at Lotus.

Link: Interview with Lotus GM Bob Picciano >

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