An Interview with Danny Mace - New CICS Director
ChrisTaylor 270004SXGX Visits (2359)
An Interview with Danny Mace – New CICS Director
Since Danny Mace was announced in March 2012 as Dave Andrews’ successor as the Director of CICS, there has been a buzz around the Hursley Laboratory and the wider CICS community. We managed to find a little bit of time in their busy schedules to find out a little bit more about them.
Danny has joined the CICS team straight from his role as Director of Rational Client Support Strategy, prior to that he was development leader in Rational Enterprise Modernization tools.
When did you start as the new director of CICS Danny?
It was announced at the end of March, but I still haven’t moved to Hursley yet so I’m still in a transition period. Officially I start at the end of April.
Are your family moving over as well?
Yes, my whole family is moving over, we’re all very excited about that. It’s a pretty big change for us; I’ve been in Raleigh for my whole career, this is the only time that I’ve ever relocated and it’s a big event for us so we’re all looking forward to it. I think they’re looking forward to all aspects of the move, it’s certainly a different culture for us to learn from, and being in close proximity to the rest of Europe is a great opportunity for my daughter who is twelve to see, hear, and experience parts of the world that she wouldn’t be able to otherwise. She appreciates that even at the age of twelve, which is great.
How long have you been in IBM?
I started at IBM in 1990 right out of university and it’s been twenty-two years now that I’ve been part of the corporation. I started in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Research Triangle Park lab. It’s the biggest lab in the world and it’s a great community to have been a part of and I enjoyed all the opportunities that I had there. Now I’ve got the opportunity to work here in the biggest lab in Europe so it will be a good change for me.
What would you say is your best career achievement so far?
I hope I haven’t achieved it yet. I think I’ve got a long career ahead of me and I’ve really enjoyed a lot of the opportunities that I’ve had in IBM. One of the great things about IBM is that it’s a large company so there is a lot of opportunity; you can do different disciplines and work on different products in different areas - I’ve taken advantage of that. I don’t know if I’d call them my greatest achievements, but certainly one of the areas that I’ve enjoyed working on most is when I can be a part of a project from the very beginning, build the team, help set the technical direction, and go through the whole development process to deliver the software and see the success of the customer - that end-to-end point of view. IBM is active in a lot of interesting places and technologies so it’s always fun to go through these processes and be on the cutting edge.
So what new and emerging technologies are you most looking forward to working with in the CICS sphere?
CICS is a great example of a technology that has existed for a long time but that doesn’t mean that it’s stagnant or that the technology is old. It’s certainly not, it’s been modernised over time and continues to be modernized, it helps customers not only run their business but engage in the latest state of the art technologies as well. I’ve worked with the CICS team in the past on the web services piece; I was on the tooling side building the tools from the Rational portfolio in partnership with the CICS runtime organisation. That’s just an example of technology that is new and emerging that’s really important to our customers and they need to be able to take what they’ve done in the past, what runs their business, and integrate it with the latest programming standards, the latest technologies so that they can increase the speed with which their business adopts the changes as well. Since joining the team in the last few weeks I’ve heard about a number of interesting technologies that are already in flight, the CICS Explorer certainly is a new and interesting technology that is going to help our customers use our products more successfully, reduce the skills required, and help them move more quickly as they deploy applications. I think that’s a great technology and it has a big future in front of it. I look forward to participating in that and seeing how it really grows and evolves with our customers over time. A lot of the things that we’re doing to integrate CICS with other emerging technologies in the industry, IBM portfolio technologies, and mobile I think are really interesting, we’re going to do a great demo at IMPACT around using CICS applications with a mobile device and showing how customers can leverage that existing investment but still get this latest and greatest application technology with mobile devices to help them be successful again and adapting to what the customers need and expect of the industry. The integration that we’re doing with WebSphere I think is really fascinating, the products that we have around WXTR and how they can partner with CICS I think is a great example, and is also part of our new CICS Transaction Server V5.1 open beta that is coming out in July 2012, which will have some additional integration capabilities within WebSphere that I’m really excited to talk about at IMPACT.
Is that where our customers can expect to see you first?
Yes, IMPACT will be the first conference that I participate in as the new Director of CICS, I’ll be spending the full week there and I look forward to meeting many of our customers there. Right now I’m looking at going to SHARE in August in Anaheim as well as there are key System z customers there, and I hope to make it to India, China, and other regions in the 4th quarter of this year.
What are your priorities for the next couple of months?
Well certainly I have a lot of education to do, especially with the technologies that we’re focussing on with CICS in the short term, which is all around being successful with our open beta. Making sure where we are, where I can help, where I can accelerate progress of the team. There might be challenges but I want to make that the key focus on getting on board. I’ve been in the system z space basically my whole career and I worked closely with the CICS team about 5 years ago through the Tools space and enterprise modernization area and I learned a lot about the product at that time but it’s continued to evolve and new technologies have come in so I need to get up to speed and focus on that. Also I want to start meeting our customers one-on-one, I had a great opportunity this week in Hursley to meet one of our large customers and I enjoyed hearing how they use the CICS product and what they wanted from it in the future and trying to understand how that aligns with what we’re doing. So that’s really going to be my focus over the next few months, as well as moving to Hursley! That’s quite a big, extraordinary task that I’m learning, to close out one residence and start a new one and all the logistics around that so that’s going to take some time as well.
And finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
Certainly since I’ve been here, I’ve recognised that there is a sense of family and community within the Hursley lab and in particular within the CICS team. So far I’ve had nothing but a good response from the team and welcoming arms to bring me into the family which is something that really distinguishes the CICS team from other parts of IBM and other teams. It’s something I’m very much looking forward to being a part of.