It's been one year now since Sun Microsystems acquired SeeBeyond. What did it mean for SeeBeyond employees like me? What did and will it mean for customers?
What didn't change. First of
all, Sun didn't come in and turn the place upside down. Instead it left
it pretty much untouched. There were no major reorganizations. Nobody
got fired. We didn't change the way we develop software. We didn't
change the plans of the products that we were working on.
Culture shock. The
old-SeeBeyond was a company of secrecy and need-to-know-only. But the
Sun culture is one of openness and transparency. For the first time
ever, employees at all levels now had some insight in plans and
directions. We could find out what other groups within Sun are doing.
We were invited to participate and to share our plans. Even our
openness to the outside world changed. For example, this blog
would have been unthinkable a little bit over a year ago.
Integrating products and what that
means to customers: there's some overlap between SeeBeyond's
product offering and Sun's. We're trying to integrate both offerings as
much as possible. That means that in some cases we'll invest less in
products that have a better counterpart in Sun. It surely makes the
release of a product a lot more complicated: we now need to make sure
that all the parts that we depend on and are produced by other groups
within Sun are all ready at the same time and work together properly.
But for customers it means a better product offering. And it also means
a wider product offering because customers now get easier access to
products that SeeBeyond didn't offer. Big wins for customers.
Information overload. The
interdependencies with other groups within Sun requires us to keep
track of many developments. What are the release plans of the Glassfish
team? What is the road map of the Message Queue? What is the Tools
group up to? What groups are working on NetBeans? And so on. Conference
calls several times a week. Wikis and internal sites by the hundreds.
At times I get a distinct feeling of information overload and wish I
could ignore everything.
Opportunities for SeeBeyond employees.
SeeBeyond has definitely become a more interesting place to work since
it became part of Sun. Also a place with more opportunities: smart
people, cool products and a good environment means more opportunities.
Last week I talked with a long-time Sun employee and he mentioned career paths within Sun. "Career
path" is a word I had not heard for many years.
Changes to come and what it means to
customers: Sun's new approach to software is that of open
source and radically different revenue models. The old SeeBeyond had a
revenue model based on license fees, and a sales model in which the
first contact with the customer was through an RFP. That will change.
Software will be downloadable by anybody and can be used by anybody
free of charge. That should draw developers to try out our software.
The first contact with customers will be right there. Through more open
communication with the end-user, we'll be able to build products that
better meet customers' requirements. Since the developers we are
targeting have the freedom to choose, we'll also be forced to change and improve our
products quite a bit compared with previous versions.