Andreas Bieswanger, Distinguished Engineer, Lead Architect IBM Z Firmware Development, discusses his work with mainframes
“I don’t think of myself as the smartest person in the room,” says Andreas Bieswanger, who credits his colleagues as significant contributors to the success that has led to his being appointed an IBM Fellow. “I look at this significant honor not just as a personal achievement but view this as an important recognition of the broader team. I wouldn’t be here if I weren’t working with the smartest people on the planet.”
Considered a technical innovator and leader across the IBM Systems portfolio, Andreas is recognized for leading critical transformational initiatives. That includes the re-architecting of IBM’s mainframe platform for cloud, enabling IBM Z and LinuxONE hybrid cloud usage scenarios. In doing so, Andreas felt a sense of “standing on the shoulders of giants,” the IBMers who invented mainframes and established a key and long-lasting franchise for the company.
Reinventing the mainframe for a world increasingly focused on cloud, he discovered, didn’t mean adding to the mainframe as much as editing it for an entirely new class of professionals—allowing for faster enablement for users who haven’t spent years working on mainframes. “Making things simple,” Andreas says, “is a really tough job.”
To help drive the continued modernization of the mainframe, Andreas modeled co-creation with clients and championed the widespread use of design thinking sessions focusing on identifying and delivering solutions with differentiated value. “I like it most when we are together in whatever small settings, with no hierarchy,’’ he says. “The best idea wins. Sometimes it’s my ideas. Sometimes my ideas help somebody else come up with an even better idea.”
“Nothing beats standing together at a white board,” Andreas says, humbled by his selection as an IBM Fellow and taking his place alongside the pioneers whose footsteps he’s followed. “To me, IBM Fellows were always these technology rock stars. It never occurred to me I might end up there.”
His advice to IBMers who aspire to becoming an IBM Fellow? Don’t try to do it on your own—exploit the power in your team, your network of colleagues, and the wisdom and experience of the IBMers who carved the path you’re walking on. “No single person could achieve this task,” Andreas says. “We are the stewards of this franchise. We need to work hard and occasionally take a risk.”
It’s been said often, but Andreas says it’s proven true for him: the greatest risk is not taking one.
→ Meet the next IBM Fellow, Cait Crawford.