System i General Manager Shearer: Integration Man
April 3, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
You don’t get to be a general manager of an IBM division without at least three things: brains, flexibility, and ambition. And to take on the OS/400 platform and to lead the charge in its rejuvenation requires perhaps one other thing: a certain amount of optimism. I sat down for a brief chat with System i general manager Mark Shearer while he was at COMMON last week, and we shot the breeze about a bunch of things.
“I am excited about the new things coming to the platform, and that partners are starting to reinvest in the platform again,” Shearer said. While he wasn’t just talking about the Voice over IP solution that IBM previewed at COMMON with 3Com or the partnership with Zend Technologies to get PHP running natively on i5/OS. But these were clearly on his mind. “The strengths of PHP and the core strength of the System i–the data–is a very potent combination,” he said.
And then he talked about integration, which is what all of this “i” talk is all about with this platform. “I think pre-integration is a big deal for our platform, and I think that in the next decade people are going to realize that simplification translates into cost savings.”
That’s why the 3Com deal, which we outline elsewhere in this issue, is so important. “Today, we can start lowering the cost of telephony. But the real exciting part is the integration work that 3Com is doing to plug telephony into System i applications. When they are done, we will have a level of integration you just can’t get on other platforms.”