Friday, October 30, 2009

On internal recognition

Today it has been announced that the "event processing" activity done over the years in the IBM Haifa Research Lab has been recognized, internally in IBM, as "outstanding accomplishment" in the category of "emerging market".

IBM Research has an annual process, as one of the way it is measured in IBM, for recognizing accomplishment (from various ranks and classes), most of the accomplishments are either helping IBM products or scientific accomplishment; the "emerging market" accomplishment in the "outstanding" level, was given, first time in the history, as far as we know, which made it quite challenging. This is not a personal award, but a recognition for an activity.

We have started working on event processing (not using this name, we called it "active technologies") in 1998, and moved through a long way inside IBM. Getting a big company to get into a new area is not an easy task, Lou Gerstner's book Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? provides some glance on how decisions are being taken in big corporates; I can write a book of my own about the event processing case.

Impact decisions, when you are part of the research part of the corporation, and is sitting in the back part of a big vehicle, is even more challenging. It was not many years ago when I've heard a senior architect in IBM saying about event processing: "this is just a hallucination of research people".

The recognition we achieved today is a recognition that we were critical factor in IBM's decision to get into an emerging market (recognizing that it is an emerging market). Even when this was done, getting official recognition about it is often not trivial.

Is it a reason for celebration --- not really, recall that I have stated that my motto in life is represented by the poem IF by Kipling. Quoting Kipling:

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

Typically I don't tend to become depressed by the many frustrating moments, and also don't tend to be conceited by the few encouraging moments, it is all just a game.

While event processing has gotten over the years from being considered as "hallucination of research people" to an emerging market recognized by multiple analysts and all big software vendors, it still has a lot of challenges, so the work is far from being completed... there are more disruptive technologies ahead to conquer.

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