IBM Fellows

Fellows are the standard-bearers for IBM’s technical and scientific leadership

Eric Herness

IBM Hybrid Cloud
Bachelor of Arts, Management Information Systems, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
M.B.A., Management Information Systems, University of Minnesota

Eric is a key leader in IBM’s move to cloud and in our clients’ evolution to hybrid cloud.

As an IBM Fellow, you’re expected and empowered to influence our business.

Current project that excites you most?

Cloud isn’t a matter of if; it’s a matter of when and how. I’m responsible for the technology strategy for hybrid cloud, and a key part of that is working with WebSphere and existing IBM clients, many of whom I’ve known for a long time. It’s exciting to be able to help our clients move to the cloud and take advantage of cognitive and our other cloud services in this ultra-competitive, fast-moving market. And working with them from a hybrid cloud perspective, I have the breadth of experience to hone in on what they want to target, and then work with them to get more domain-specific technical leads engaged with them to help them through their cloud journeys.

Advice for tackling tough problems?

When faced with a hard problem, I do a combination of things. First, I “go where the code is” — I experience the problem firsthand and see if I can look at the problem from a different perspective. Then I bring in subject matter experts whose perspectives are also different. Both of these things give me fresh eyes on the problem.

What are you most proud of?

I was a chief architect and partner with the other key creators of IBM WebSphere, and we ushered in the era of web application serving. We successfully brought together dynamic web pages and server-side business logic complete with transactions and integration to the backend. That whole middle tier helped the industry start moving more quickly and start tackling the challenges of what was then called e-business.

What does being named an IBM Fellow mean to you?

As an IBM Fellow, you’re expected and empowered to influence our business. It isn’t just about technology — it’s how we take technology forward to deliver value for our clients.

I want to drive the hybrid cloud business and the technical agenda based on clients I know and the directions they’re going. That’s been my approach from the beginning: listening to what clients need and using that as validation to push a feature or capability forward into our products. I’m excited to be able to continue to do that in a way that can be scaled even more.

What’s your passion project?

My wife and I live out in the country near Rochester, Minnesota, and we’re passionate about gardening. I think that comes from my background growing up on a dairy farm. We grow our own vegetables — carrots, beans, beets, squash, cucumbers, onions, asparagus, kale, many kinds of potatoes and lots of peppers and tomatoes. We make lots of salsa. Sometimes the volume almost gets out of hand.

History of the IBM Fellows

An overview on extraordinary achievements by exceptional individuals

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