Basser Seminar Series

Services Research at IBM

Robert J T Morris
VP Services Research, IBM Thomas J Watson Research Centre, New York

Thursday 25 October 2007, 4-5 pm Note different day

School of IT Building, Lecture Theatre Room 123, Level 1


Now that services had become the majority of the world's economy, the research agenda of industry, academia and government needs to change. A new discipline is emerging referred to as Services Science, Management and Engineering (SSME). It draws heavily on information and computer sciences, mathematics, management and social sciences, etc. I will make a couple of major points:

  1. Services Research is a source of many interesting new problems, and new twists on old ones. Examples will be drawn from digital communities, policy and risk management, human resource optimization, information management, data mining, model-driven development, services software engineering, etc.
  2. Not only are these problems interesting, but technology is becoming the major source of differentiation and competitiveness for IT services companies. Companies that are using technology assets show significantly better financial performance than those that are primarily labor-based.

Speaker's biography

Dr. Robert Morris is Vice President, Services Research, IBM Research, where he is responsible for IBM's worldwide research efforts in services. IBM's revenue is now more than 50% from services, and recently IBM Research has introduced this major new area of services research at labs in New York, California, Austin, Haifa, Zurich, Tokyo, Beijing, New Delhi and Bangalore.

Representative projects include policy and risk management, human resource optimization, data systems management, business mining and insights, model-driven business designs, services software engineering, etc. IBM is also an early proponent of Services Science, Management and Engineering (SSME). SSME draws heavily on information and computer sciences, mathematics, management and social sciences, etc., and combines them in new ways to create global wealth and solve social problems.

From 2004-2006 he was VP, Assets Innovation, IBM Global Services. In this position his mission was to drive innovation in IBM's services through four main activities: the creation and commercialization of intellectual assets (typically technology) that can be used to improve service effectiveness; the creation and management of services methods and tools; knowledge management tools; and talent (professions, communities, etc).

From 1999-2004, he was the director of the IBM Almaden Research Center where he oversaw scientists and engineers doing exploratory and applied research in hardware and software areas such as nanotechnology, materials science, storage systems, data management, web technologies and user interfaces.

Robert was also vice president for personal systems and storage research, managing this worldwide research work within IBM. During this period he managed the creation of variety of new initiatives, including a joint research institute with Stanford on spintronics, a startup business on webscale knowledge mining and discovery, new technologies for distributed storage and client management, and a focused "services science" research effort. Previously, Robert was a director at the IBM T.J. Watson Research lab in New York, where he led teams in personal systems research and was the executive responsible for the Deep Blue chess machine. He began his employment with IBM at Almaden working on storage and data management technologies. Originally from Australia, he began his career at Bell Laboratories where he was involved in developing a number of networking and computing technologies.

Robert was chairman of the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC) from 2002-2005, an organization consisting of the heads of major research institutions in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. He represented IBM on the Government University Industry Research Roundtable (run by the National Academies) from 2001-2006. He has published more than fifty articles in computer science, electrical engineering, and mathematics literature and has received eleven patents. He holds a PhD in computer science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology, and a Fellow of the IEEE. He was an Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Computers from 1986-1991 and is on a variety of advisory boards for leading universities.