January 12 2010
A few minutes ago, Steve Mills announced some changes to the organizational structure of IBM Software Group. On the one hand, how we run the organization is a relatively internally-focused set of decisions; on the other hand, it is important for the community around Lotus to know what changes are happening. So, as with Ambuj, Mike, and Bob before, I'm writing an as-it-happens blog entry to capture the moment -- just before Lotusphere, as has also happened before -- and we'll enjoy talking more about this in the next few days.
Taking this from the top down, IBM Software will now have two focus areas -- a solutions group, lead by Mike Rhodin (yes, the former Lotus GM), and a middleware group, lead by Robert LeBlanc (who has been running IBM software sales). Worldwide sales for IBM Software will now be headed up by Bob Picciano. The new Lotus General Manager will be Alistair Rennie, who you all know from his previous positions running our development organization, ISSL, and Lotus marketing; Lotus will be part of the solutions group under Rhodin.
I am sure this comes as a shock to the Lotus community on several levels. Honestly, even with Bob as my 2nd line manager, it does to me as well. But you all have seen this movie before -- IBM makes executive changes frequently in order to innovate, focus on client success, and align for the future. We've even done it the week before Lotusphere in the past, more than once.
A few words about Alistair. I have had the privilege of being on the inside track of the plans for Lotusphere 2010 moreso than in the past, and Alistair has been driving the vision component of what you'll hear in/from Orlando next week. Alistair is, by all accounts, one of the smartest people you'll ever meet (and I'm not just sucking up to my new 2nd line manager). He has an incredible ability to see the big picture and yet understand all the details. Given that he has been through several of the senior executive roles within Lotus, he's also bringing a wealth of market understanding, community relationships, and organizational support into his new role. You are all going to be very impressed, starting today and into next week.
I've been watching the immediate reactions to this news on Twitter, and most are about Bob Picciano's move. For someone who came into Lotus at the top, with no prior connection to the brand, Bob has done an incredible job immersing himself in the business, the marketplace, and most importantly, the community over the last two years. Substantial positive change has taken place for the Lotus brand in that period, even during tough economic times and fierce competitive pressures. As I said in my year in review, when you look at 2009, the Lotus brand team took more actions that were aligned with community feedback and direction than I have seen in a long time -- and simultaneously, we've built an innovation stream that is going to catapult us into mindshare leadership in the market. Bob's "legacy" as Lotus GM can't just be measured by the last 24 months, but also by the wave we are going to ride into Lotusphere next week. You'll see what I mean soon. Meanwhile, for the first time, the sales executive for IBM software overall has Lotus yellow in his blood, and that can only be a good thing for the entire market.
Change is good, and a constant at IBM. It is sudden, it is unexpected, it causes upheaval. On the other hand, with change comes opportunity -- opportunity to set the next step in a vision, to innovate, to make new decisions and challenge old ones. For any one of us on the IBM executive team, we expect change at any time, and the best IBM executives know to react, move on, and keep driving.
As if I wasn't excited enough about Lotusphere already, now I'm on the edge of my seat, and can't wait to get to Orlando. I know that the same will hold for many of you.