Academy Highlights

A Path to the Open Organization

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New Academy of Technology President Julie Schuneman shares her background and her thoughts of the direction of the Academy.

Julie Schuneman
President, IBM Academy of Technology
IBM Distinguished Engineer

Thank you to IBM and to the executive leadership for trusting me to lead this amazing organization through the next step in its transformation. President of the Academy of Technology is a role I have dreamed of for years and that I undertake with a great deal of excitement, passion, and gratitude.  

Background and History

I joined IBM in 1979 and my first few years were spent in development in Rochester, Minnesota and then in Austin, Texas. I made the leap to technical sales as a systems engineer for Coca-Cola in 1983, and have remained in client-facing roles ever since. One of my favorite jobs was as the Global Client IT Architect (CITA) Community Leader, a role that was truly a wonderful learning experience. I led my first Academy of Technology study in 2002 and became a member of the Academy in 2007. I was appointed Distinguished Engineer (DE) in 2012, and my first assignment as a DE was in Brazil, and that was probably my second favorite job. I met so many amazing colleagues, with whom I remain friends to this day. When the Cloud business unit was formed, my team moved to that business unit, and I have been there ever since.

Throughout my career I’ve been known for technology adoption. I was one of the original creators of the Component Infrastructure Roadmap and the Assessment Roadmap Tool (CIR/ART), and led the evolution of this approach and tool from e-business on demand through IT optimization and then to cloud. I co-authored the original Cloud Adoption Framework in 2009. I have been a certified architect since 2000 and helped to create TeamMethod, the predecessor to Team Solution Design. I delivered the original training in Europe during a whirlwind 3 week tour of 6 countries, and a few weeks later traveled to Japan and China to deliver the education there. I’ve worked across almost every organization in IBM and I’ve visited and worked in many of the countries where we do business, so I bring a broad cross-organizational and global perspective as I step into the role of President.

Looking to the Future

My focus will be around the goal to be more open. When I say “open”, I don’t simply mean “open source”. I believe that open means open collaboration, open communities, open science, and perhaps most importantly, an open organization. If you haven’t read Jim Whitehurst’s book “The Open Organization”, I suggest you add it to your reading list, or you might find this information about the Open Organization to be a good starting point. I plan to share more about this in the future, but here are the five characteristics that serve as the basic conditions for openness:  

  • Transparency
  • Inclusivity
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Community

As an organization, I’d like to see the Academy of Technology strive to meet these conditions and help the rest of IBM do likewise.

We’ll also be aligning across all the technical organizations in IBM – engaging with IBM’s Strategy, Research and Development, and Sales and Services around the world – for a truly global technical community.  

As I step into the role as Academy of Technology President, now my third “favorite job”, I plan to be an open and collaborative leader. I believe in “leading from behind”, encouraging my team and the Academy members to step into the spotlight in order to build their own careers and opportunities for the future. I can’t wait to get started, and it is an honor to lead this great group of technical leaders. I see a bright future ahead!


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