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Spotlight: Matt Roberts, Integration enthusiast and newly named CTO

By Jina K posted Wed September 15, 2021 02:20 PM

IBM Integration CTO, Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts is the new Chief Technology Officer for IBM Integration, expanding his previous role as Senior Technical Staff Member for IBM Cloud Pak for Integration. Matt provides his wealth of knowledge and expertise on the Integration Community as a frequent contributor as he works to ensure that customers can achieve the maximum value from IBM products. You can view his most widely viewed blog here.

I sat down with Matt on September 10, 2021, to ask him a few questions on his new role, his involvement with Integration, where he sees the future of Integration and how the Community is essential. Read on to get to know one of our most frequent contributors!

Q: How did you get involved with Integration at IBM?
Matt: I actually had my 20-year anniversary on Monday - I've worked in the Integration space the entire time I’ve been here!

Q: You recently had an exciting new job announcement, congrats! How will that change what you've been working on? 
Matt: Previous to my new role, I was working on CP4I for 18 months on software offering and the SaaS side of the business; taking lessons learned from IBM running cloud services and bringing it back to software offerings for the benefit of all our customers. 
I recently took over as the CTO for Integration, which is broader than what I was doing in CP4I. My CTO role covers all products and form factors across the Integration portfolio  - MQ, App Connect, Event Streams, DataPower, API Connect, Aspera, and obviously still CP4I.

Q: As the new CTO where do you see the future of CP4I?
Matt: TThe future is exciting; there’s a lot of innovation going into the Integration portfolio as a whole. I think CP4I in particular is great for bringing about customer modernization journeys. A lot of our customers have been using integration products on premises and traditional deployments for many years.
What we’re doing with CP4I is helping to bring those deployments - either modernizing within the context of on premises datacenter but also as they transition increasingly to public cloud deployments, and CP4I is a great way of doing that. We’re also bringing a lot of the new exciting features as part of Integration products are coming to market as part of CP4I. One great example is MQ's native HA feature - which is a game changing feature in terms of high availability for MQ deployments, and that is only available as part of CP4I today.

Q: What drew you to get involved in the Integration Community?
Matt: The primary motivation for me is interacting with customers. The posts that I do on the Integration community take typically one of two forms:
1) A blog post on how to solve some typical or common pain points experienced by customers  
2) Publicizing exciting new product features

Q: If customers were not aware of the community site, where would they typically go to get information?
Matt: There are a range of mediums for our customers - we have the IBM Documentation site and Support portal, but posting on the community is a slightly less formal way of getting info out to customers and quickly. Sharing experiences and lessons learned is another reason why I like to contribute and make the time for it.

Q: You had mentioned working with customers directly but how has your interaction with customers through the Community differed?
Matt: Answering questions via forums has a number of benefits - one of the challenges addressed is the multiple time differences between IBMers and customer. Especially with the current pandemic, I am not able to travel to customers so it's quick and easy to answer questions posted in forums.

Q: How do you make the time to contribute to the community?
Matt: There is no magic bullet for time, but I choose to prioritize these community activities on a regular basis because I think it’s important. It’s a great way to bring more and more success to our customers. Writing up technical blog posts can take a bit of time - it’s something that takes research or writing new pieces of code that we then share on GitHub. But I’m excited to investigate these problems so I’m willing to put in that extra bit of time. One of the greatest benefits is getting customer feedback so quickly. This also hones my own skills, so all around it's a win-win.

Q: What would you like the Integration Community to know about CP4I or Integration as a whole?
Matt: The key thing is there’s a lot of exciting innovation - like MQ Native HA.  A lot of the other themes and trends we’re driving is around using advanced tech, like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, to simplify and automate users’ activity. I hope all our users are already aware of Cloud Pak for Integration, our strategic delivery platform. If not, you should know that we've put integration capability into containers running in OpenShift and you can take a look at what we’ve done there.

Q: Do you have any advice for Community members or curious visitors?
Matt: My number one advice: get involved! Our Development teams are always excited to hear questions and input from the field. Some of them don’t get to interact with customers on a day-to-day basis so it’s exciting for them to hear directly from customers using our offerings; being able to get that input directly is priceless.
I personally also love to see our partners and customers put up their own posts where they describe their own learnings and scenarios. It’s fascinating to see what people are doing with our various products and the community is a great way to socialize that with a broader set of people.
And of course, if any customers have any questions, my team and I are always here on Community standing by and waiting to promote people’s success!

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