Joan Cox - The Response
"The Reality Is..."
The LMMUG user meeting on Nov. 13, 1997 featured
Joan Cox speaking about the future of desktop computers at Lockheed Martin. Prior
to the meeting, Joan was presented a list of questions compiled by Casey Kester (which were posted
here at the Mac Guild site). Below are those questions with Joan's answers. She did
not actually address the questions individually, so the answers are paraphrased from
the meeting and attributed to the appropriate questions. She began the discussion
by showing some slides, and then discussing in depth about her point of view. Later
on, she took questions from the audience.
This information is compiled from my notes, so if you attended the meeting and notice
any mistakes, please let me know.
With transition from platform to platform being a catastrophe in many companies,
as evidenced by the report of the transition in this well run company, what evidence
does EIS offer that this catastrophe and pain will be any less for LMMS?
Aberdeen consulting group did a study
on a large company migrating from OS/2 to Microsoft. Very instructive on the problems
Below is a quote from the conclusions.
The concept of a smooth migration of the scope and size instituted by the Company
is illusionary. Problems always emerge, schedules are delayed, and staff comfortable
doing things "their way" rebel at the change. Thus, IS' first complaints
about the move to Windows NT were taken with a large grain of salt.
But, at considerable risk to their jobs, the IS staff Aberdeen has been talking with
have fully documented their woes, and by any objective measure the migration pain
they are suffering goes way beyond the pale. While this report captures the "plaintive
wail" of frustration emitted by the IS staff who have been planning and implementing
this migration over the past two years, it doesn't capture the level of pain they
feel. .... It is quite possible that this 1995 purely business decision as currently
being implemented will have a material impact on the Company's operations and bottom
line in 1998. For a Company that has been studied by scores of business school students
as a successful example of David beating Goliath with advanced technology, the breaking
of the decision-making balance between its technical and business groups could lead
to a sadder chapter.
This question was not addressed. However, Joan
said at several points that LMMS could not function on the Mac platform as a company.
The belief is that it does not matter how much pain it takes, for the alternative
is to not survive.
I understand that the Mac to PC switch was to be funded mostly or completely by the
Tech Refresh money (overhead).
- With that money going to new hardware, where is the money going to come from
to transfer all the files currently on Mac computers and servers, to oversee the
additional support needed for employees to make a platform switch (they won't be
able to help themselves, which has been substantial in the past) and to retrain all
the Mac users?
The costs were noted, but, again, of no consequence.
The bottom line belief is that if we do not make this move, the company will not
survive. In other words, if we do not spend the money now, we'll lose it all later.
There were no specifics given on where the funding would be coming from, except that
each area would be looked at separately.
- With LMMS under such a tight budget and overhead being cut 25%, Isn't this special
expenditure going to be deferred for several quarters?
I don't recall any specifics on schedules, except
that any new purchases of Macs would require an "Act of God".
With the PC to Mac planned switch to be some time away, why is EIS/purchasing appear
to be curtailing purchase and supply of current Mac productivity tools (OS8, Microsoft
The decision to not approve OS 8 is deemed a separate
issue, and based upon the Standards Committee's study of installation and support.
Rhapsody, with its Mach kernel and excellent security, should be a superior system
for development servers. What steps is EIS taking to evaluate Rhapsody machines for
the network issues that seem to be prompting the switch to PC's?
Rhapsody was mentioned, and has been looked at, but
there is uncertainty of whether Apple will deliver.
Retaining and hiring software engineers is difficult as it is, by becoming a one
horse shop, the EIS proposal for LMMS makes matters even worse. There is no lack
of jobs for engineers and software folks in this valley. If employees are our most
important and by far and away our most expensive resource, how can EIS justify the
cost factors of pushing a single hardware / software choice that is so unpopular,
and less productive when we are hiring less than 60% of our software engineer requirements?
The belief is that everywhere out in the market is
PC, not Mac. It was mentioned that if an employee were to leave due to this switch,
it would be very difficult to find a job where they get to use a Mac.
I use both PC's and Macs. I really want to keep my Mac. Big time. I think there are
lots of other people who feel the same way. How can I get a waiver from this edict
so I can keep working happily on the platform I am most productive on?
This question was addressed twice really... once during
her talk, and a second time in response to the final question posed to her from the
audience. Her response to the final question was that it would take an "Act
of God" to be able to purchase a Mac. She wanted it to be clear that it would
be extremely difficult. Earlier in the discussion she mentioned that an employee
would need a compelling reason. She does not believe there is a big difference between
the Mac OS and Windows '95/NT. She also mentioned that graphics artists may be the
What are the Lockheed Martin desktop computer standards?
- Do these standards specify the computer vendor and models allowed or just the
standard features to be supported?
- How and by whom were the standards established?
- What is the purpose of the standards?
- What is the process for obtaining a non-standard computer?
- What is the process by which the standards will evolve?
- How can employees provide input into the process?
There were two people who came to the meeting with
Joan: Ray Kuhl and Steve Hightowers. I believe Ray was representing the Standards
Committee. Joan did encourage input from all computer savvy users to the Standards
Committee. Specifically, she asked that those in the audience should provide input
and feedback to this process. No clear outline was provided for doing this that I
What is the corporation's position on purchase of transitional computers that support
corporate standards while also running legacy applications?
I do not believe this question was addressed.
What is the corporation's position on purchase of Network Computers?
We are looking at Network Computers, but there are
no plans in place.
What is the cost-benefit justification for ending the purchase of Macintosh computers
within this corporation?
From the beginning, she made it very clear that ROI,
Return On Investment, was not an issue; therefore, no justification is required.
It is not an issue because she believes that LMMS could not survive in 3 years trying
to support the Mac platform. She does not believe we have a choice in the matter.
Were the people who decided to end purchase of Macintosh computers at this corporation
aware that it will increase support costs and create large new training costs?
They are aware of many of the costs, but it is unclear
whether they are aware of all the costs.
What funding is the corporation making available to organizations to implement the
I believe she indicated that the "corporation"
would not be funding this migration.
Are you aware of any tendency within EIS programming shops to stop work on updating
any Macintosh database (client server) applications?
This was discussed, but I cannot recall if there was
a direct answer to this question. She mentioned that problems with Exchange and Oracle
on the Mac, but that's from a vendor perspective. Given that one of the reasons OS
8 was not approved was due to PROMIS and other in-house applications not being compatible,
it would appear that cross-platform support is still important.
History will repeat itself and some of the things that have happened at other companies
that have decided to stop buying Macintosh are being repeated here at Lockheed Martin.
The first negative decision was not to allow users to upgrade to OS 8. One would
presume that the next move would be to not allow users to migrate to Microsoft Office
98 for the Macintosh, but allow the Win95 users to do so.
The underlying attitude in some EIS organizations is that since we are going to phase
out the Macintosh why should we spend any money on keeping them running or improve
their utilization? This attitude will have some negative repercussions in that now
all the Macintosh users are considered second class users with little or no priority.
This is a real good way to lower worker productivity and hurt moral. The pain will
be bad enough without adding to the fire. We as EIS should continue to fully support
the installed base of Macintosh or they should all be replaced at once. Bad attitudes
result in bad customer relations.
Should LMMS adopt an OS that is so complicated the the VP of IS can't make a simple
1 digit change in the telecom software?
Joan sited personal experience. She indicated that
when she was on a Mac, her computer crashed all the time. When she switched to a
PC, she found it to be much more stable. She also uses a PC at home. She prefers
the PC over the Mac. She acknowledged that much of Windows '95 was taken from the
Mac OS, but it doesn't matter. The reality is that it happened, and now she believes
that the PC is just as easy to use as the Mac.
How can senior management obtain a good idea of how complicated a system is to use
when when ever they ask for help they get premium service from the local expert but
the average user is stuck with whom ever can spare the time?
The above response could apply to this as well.
Is 2SERV ever going to be useful?
I do not believe she addressed this question.
Should LM force everyone to drive a Buick (which was done at many Aerospace companies
in the 50's)? If not, why force one OS?
Because the problems we have with commercial software
(Exchange, Oracle) are mostly on the Mac, because of the lack of software vendors
supporting the Mac, and because of the lack of strategy Mike Henshaw noted when he
went to Apple and met with George Scalise (she referenced him as the "then"
CEO, but I believe he was the Executive VP).
Can we trust an operating system that has over 15,000 known viruses on it when other
OSs have only a handfull?
There's more viruses because there's more software
and more users. It goes with the territory.
Can we trust a company that releases a text editor with 30,000 known bugs (let alone
how many the OS has?)?
She noted that she is not impressed with Microsoft,
but the reality is that they control the market. She indicated that, given their
dominance, we would most likely pay what we would have to until they hit our breaking
point. There was no indication of what our breaking point is.
I've used both the Mac and the PC, and have found that I am far more productive on
the Mac than on Windows 95. Given the expectations placed on me (all computer related),
I cannot afford to have any drop in productivity. Will Lockheed Martin continue to
support me on the Mac platform given that the Mac is a crucial tool in my work?
Or put another way, does Lockheed Martin recognize the difference between a "desktop"
computer which is mainly used for e-mail, word processing and spreadsheets, versus
a "workstation" computer which is used for crucial development, such as
production system support, web page design, graphics design, etc. ?
As indicated earlier, graphics designer and people
with "compelling" reasons to use a Mac may be able to continue using the
Mac. This would be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
How much attention has been paid to the extensive third party studies performed which
show that using both the Macs and PCs in the work environment is cost effective?
How much attention has been paid to computer support reporting that supporting the
Macs is significantly cheaper than supporting the PCs?
Again, ROI not an issue.
Has Lockheed Martin considered the issues which have been raised in the JSC migration
from Macs to PCs? First, that a large number of employees, mostly engineers, described
themselves as being more productive on the Mac, and secondly, that JSC did not accurately
show the costs involved in migrating to the PC platform. Given that Lockheed Martin
is a government contractor, such a decision invites much scrutiny.
Has Lockheed Martin considered the negative ramifications of performing such a widespread
migration to a platform which is controlled by a monopolistic company? It poses a
threat to the company's integrity as a government contractor, especially given the
lack of evidence that making such a move is cost effective. It also poses a threat
to the future of desktop computing, which, in the long run, can come back and bite
us, as well as the rest of the economy, once all the competition has been removed.
She noted her dislike for the monopoly Microsoft holds,
but the overriding factor is that we cannot survive unless we go PC-only.
What is the LMCO/LMMS direction concerning the web (internet/intranet) for delivering
This is being looked at.
What is the LMCO/LMMS direction concerning the intranet for acquiring (updating)
information? My experience to date is that the web is great for delivering information
that remains static, but that the additional costs associated with developing a 3rd
interface for an application (Mac, Win, Web) is substantial.
This is being looked at.
Given the substantial problems facing EIS, both corporate and LMMS level, in consolidating
and managing the business systems, does the migration to Wintel really offer the
highest payback? Has anyone done the Pareto diagram to determine the highest payback
ROI not an issue.
What is the planned/estimated cost to LMMS over the next 3 years?
Not provided. However, if we don't do this, we would
not be around after 3 years.
How does LMMS plan to allocate funds to transfer the software applications to the
Windows environment? We have a lot of Canvas, utilities, database tools, etc. that
have a sidegrade cost that will have to be replaced. I can see how the hardware will
be replaced, you buy PCís instead of Macís, but how about the software?
The software support may migrate slowly, and on a
case-by-case basis. Funding would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Who will be paying for moving applications to Windows? I know of several applications,
internally developed, that are Mac only. Switching these to Windows will cost somebody
Determined on a case-by-case basis.
What is the schedule for doing this - two years, three years, more?
Given that we cannot survive in 3 years supporting
the Mac platform, it can be concluded that this move must be completed within 3 years.
If one of the major problems is communicating within organizations (passing files)
and with the customer, isnít there a cheaper way to manage these communications rather
than dumping an entire platform? It would seem that establishing standards (that
organizations WILL stick to) and processes for manage the communications would be
more cost effective than increasing the support and training costs.
There is no time for this. We must act now in order
to survive in 3 years.