I appreciate David inviting me to discuss Maxava’s launch of iFoundation. As David mentioned in his blog post, there is certainly a component of “enlightened self-interest.”  We hope however that it is enlightened self-interest for all of us that make our livings in the IBM i community.

As you may know, Maxava is exclusively focused on the IBM i and is therefore very committed to the continuing success of the platform.

I recently used a horse racing analogy (although I fully admit to knowing little about horse racing) when talking to Seamus Quinn of the UK IBM i magazine “iNewswire UK.”

If the technology market was a horse race..

The horses would be the various platforms (i, p, Linux, Windows, etc.) as well as outsourced and cloud options that end-users have today.  IBM and some of the largest ISVs have offerings across these platforms – they would be the “horse owners” who have shares in a number of horses.  Really, for them, it is not quite so important which horse wins as long as it is one in which they own a share.  The people who care most about the individual winners are the jockeys and trainers and the people who back the specific horses.  These people’s efforts only get rewarded when their particular horse wins.

Maxava, our staff, and many in the community, are fully focused on IBM i and have invested in building a product, skill set and career on IBM i.  We need the i to win the race.

Maxava aims to help the “i” win

For some time, we have been looking at what we can do to support the IBM i community.  We believe that until there is a more positive perception of i, it will be always be challenging to retain and attract more high quality people in to the community. We believe that this is an important prerequisite to convincing potential new customers that an investment in “i” is a sound business decision going forward.  One of the goals of the iFoundation is to help IBM i regain momentum as a product that is seen to have a great future – not just a great heritage.  We are sure that this is possible. If the IBM i can regain momentum, it will certainly ensure enhanced prospects and security for the ISVs, customers and technical professionals that have, and will, build their businesses, environments and careers in the 400 bloodline.

Yes, the iFoundation will help “not-for-profit” organizations currently working on IBM i initiatives and new organizations that meet the criteria

While there is certainly room for new initiatives, we believe that immediate progress can be achieved by giving more help to the organizations that are already in place and have been working diligently on promoting IBM i for years.  These organizations have the skills, commitment and infrastructure already in place and we believe that they can do an even better job of changing perceptions at the grass roots level if they have a few more resources.

Why the iFoundation grant criteria makes mention of HA/DR

As Maxava is a commercial organization, we do have to be seen to be spending our money for “proper business purposes.” So, I hope we can be forgiven for the necessity of encouraging a grant recipient to have an HA/DR component to their agenda for the year.   We have not made this compulsory nor have we said that Maxava must be mentioned as part of any such agenda item.

We want to hear from you

2011/2012 will be a bit of an experiment.  We could have discussed it, canvassed opinion and surveyed the market.  Instead, we decided to launch the foundation and see whether it was something that people found helpful and made a difference.  I am sure we will learn some lessons and when we do we will take account of them as we go forward. We will certainly welcome feedback from you and your readers over the next 12 months.

At the end of the day, we want the IBM i to thrive and expand for the benefit of Maxava, IBM i professionals and all those who share our “enlightened self interest.”

Allan Campbell

CEO, Maxava

About Allan Campbell:
Allan Campbell is a founder and CEO of Mavava. Campbell previously co-owned and managed a successful international IT service company, and held positions at IBM and Telecom NZ. He is a graduate of Glasgow University in his native Scotland and assists with new business development efforts as a member of the Globalscot initiative of the Scottish Government.