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Friday, August 17, 2012 by Neil Ward-Dutton
One of the most engaging and passionate executives I’ve come across in the BPM technology space is Phil Gilbert. Phil was President and CTO at Lombardi Software, and since Lombardi was acquired by IBM in 2010 he’s stuck around – most recently as VP of BPM, leading product management.
It’s no secret to many people who’ve watched IBM for some years that the arrival of Lombardi within IBM’s software unit has resulted in some really significant mindset shifts: particularly concerning how tools and platforms need to be built to make them more consumable and engaging; and also concerning how tools and platforms can be effectively sold to businesspeople. IBM has continued to push forward using Lombardi’s skills and energy particularly on the first point, and Gilbert has been a major driving force in that.
IBM’s BPM software looks a zillion times better than most of the rest of its software ever has, and it’s really encouraging to see that the company is giving Gilbert a new role that recognises his contribution and passion – he’s now ‘General Manager, Design’; charged with creating a unified design competency across all of IBM’s business units and functions. This is a logical progression of an understanding of the importance of consumability that key IBM execs have had for some years, but we all know that things don’t always unfold logically in business.
If all goes well, then one of the major charges that advisors like me have always been able to lay at IBM’s door when advising clients about shortlisting vendors – “their products aren’t particularly easy to use or live with” – is about to start becoming less of an Achilles’ heel. Clearly things won’t change overnight, but my take is that this is a really good sign of IBM showing smart market and self-awareness. That’s got to be good for IBM’s customers and might make IBM’s competitors need to work harder.
I’d love to know what you think! Have you got experience of using IBM tools? What are the areas you think are most ripe for improvement?