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.

-Bill Catambay

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 involved.

Below is a quote from the conclusions.

Aberdeen 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).

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.

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 Office)?

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 exception.

What are the Lockheed Martin desktop computer standards?

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 recall.

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 corporate standards?

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.

Not addressed.

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 information?

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 items?

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 something.

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.