And a time to pass the baton

08.03.06 | 3 Comments

To everything there is a season
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to laugh, a time to weep
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time of war, a time of peace

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (or The Byrds/Simon & Garfunkel if you prefer)

Change is an interesting phenomena. Some fear change, some crave change, some flee change, and some embrace change. Ultimately, it is change that enables us to grow and mature. Today brings a big change for Sun, for my team, Customer Network Services, and for me.

Sun has been very transparent about changes the company intends to make in order to achieve and sustain profitability. As a result of these stated plans, we have executed a reduction in force in Customer Network Services today.

Consistent profitability is vital to Sun’s long term survival. As a consequence, many difficult decisions were made to ensure that appropriate focus and investment are channeled into the most important products, programs, and activities. It’s easy to criticize any of the decisions that have been made; the encouraging thing is difficult decisions have been made and executed against for the greater good of the company. Hopefully, this is the last time Sun needs to resort to such measures to achieve stated financial objectives. If you haven’t been through this sort of thing before, I can assure you the selection processes for what to continue, what to dial back, and what to stop are gut wrenching. There is no good answer available, only “less bad” alternatives.

While it is disappointing to be affected by these choices, they are necessary to allow Sun to move forward. That doesn’t mean our work has been in vain or not had an impact. During this era of CNS, we’ve been able to create a platform over which network services can be created, deployed, and operated. We’ve released several new network services including Sun Update Connection, Hosted and Enterprise in production and for sale. In addition Eco Connection, Security Connection, Asset Connection, and Knowledge Connection have been developed and released into Fresh Tools. We’ve also been the key technology provider for Sun’s Services business, with Sun Preventive Services the foremost client therein. We’ve been able to maintain and improve some 50 odd services products and tools as we’ve advanced the overall state of network services. The network services capabilities have either been embedded or are being embedded in all of Sun’s technologies since Solaris 10, Update 1. We’ve successfully acquired and integrated a company into the network services team, and released the first product within the first quarter of joint operations. The financial impact has been impressive in terms of direct revenue, enabled revenue, and efficiencies. I am proud of what our team has accomplished.

There are several messages I’d like to convey in this entry; to our customers and partners, to those team members leaving Sun, and to those team members remaining with Sun.

First to our customers. You are why we’re here. We’ve provided a number of interesting innovations that you can choose to take advantage of by connecting and participating in our network services infrastructure. If you like what you see, provide feedback and lots of it. We’ll continue to support and develop network services in production today. If you see something in Fresh Tools that you really like, let us know. That will help us prioritize and promote the right network services for your benefit.

To our partners, we’ll maintain the same level of engagement with you and continue to provide network services you can take advantage of in your business. Like the advice to customers above, if you like something in Fresh Tools, let us know.

To our team members affected by the reduction, you’ve all done a fantastic job. I am proud of each of you for helping to make the network services business a reality. There’s no way around it, being notified that your job is gone sucks. It’s going to feel bad. However, I hope that with the passage of time you can reflect on what we’ve accomplished and feel the pride of a job well done. Meanwhile, use your packages to craft a new era for yourself: start a company, get a new job, switch careers, go back to school. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you love to do in a place where you are surrounded by good people.

To our team members staying with Sun, you’ve also done a fantastic job. And in some ways, your mission is more challenging now than it has ever been in the past. The scope of the mission has narrowed and you’re left to carry it forward. You can do it. We’ve laid the groundwork to make network services a success at Sun and to help drive and lead the industry in this area. Keep your eyes on the prize and excute with the same intensity and focus and everything will come out right. Roll with the changes, embrace them, and improve upon them. In this way, you can help Sun win.

Finally, a word about me. Like Jay Littlepage before me, I’ve made the decision it’s time to pass the baton to the next runner in the network services race. Steve, get ready, here’s the pass. Go! As for my future, I’ve decided that the time is right to leave Sun and take on a new challenge. Watch my personal blog for details if you’re interested.

Change is inevitable. In every change there is opportunity. Seize your opportunity and make the most of it.

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