The past few weeks have been packed with customer and Partner events. We’ve had an IBM Technical Symposium in Europe, an iBelieve event in Framingham, a few User Group conferences, a couple of customer briefings and the ISV Advisory Council Meeting in Rochester.
It was interesting to talk with customers and also with ISVs and Partners about their customers. One of my “AHA” moments came when talking with an ISV about the new advanced function built into their latest release of their application. This ISV has a very robust solution, to which they have added Web-based interfaces, mobile device support, integration with business analytics software and integration to other technologies used in their industry.
They told me that they determine which enhancements they will include in a new release based on two factors. The first is what their customers request through their requirements process – additional queries, extended business function, updated payroll based on new government legislation, etc. The second is based on what their customers would want to have - if they even knew it was possible. They told me “they (customers) often don’t even know that they want something until we show it to them”.
These words caused me to reflect on the decisions about functionality to be included in each new release or refresh of IBM i. While there are formal requirements processes through the Advisory Councils – COMMON Americas, COMMON Europe, ISV and Large User Group –the IBM i team adds new function to the operating system based on what’s happening in the industry. Experts in various areas contribute their ideas and their evaluations and then the product management team and development team work together to determine our priorities. We look at what customers need today and what they might need in order to support their businesses into the future. This is the case with technologies such as graphical user interfaces, desktop development tools, etc. These were added to IBM i based on where the world was headed and long before our advisory councils requested the function.
Staying current with key technologies and incorporating those that are appropriate to our customers has been a mainstay in the IBM i development process. We believe this approach is the right one for all clients to use in their own environments.
What was your favorite technology to find inside IBM i?