Wong: BEA Still Has Vision

In an interview with eWEEK, Wai Wong, BEA's newly appointed executive vice president, discusses the company's image as well as its future.

BEA Systems Inc.s new executive vice president of products, Wai Wong, claims BEA is not down and certainly not out despite losing a host of executive and technical talent. In an interview with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft, Wong explained that his goal is to help the San Jose, Calif.-based company stay the course set by its bygone visionaries as well as to help set the companys compass toward greater innovation. Wong comes to BEA from Computer Associates International Inc., where he led that companys Unicenter business unit.

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I want to kind of start from the beginning and get your sense of BEAs image given all the recent defections.

Well, I can only speak personally. But if you look at the organization, there are several very talented people here. And while all that was happening I feel that the fundamentals havent changed. And the folks that left they had a great vision and great influence inside BEA, but a lot of things that theyve done are to the point where theyre going to be productized and brought out in upcoming releases of the technology. So given that the fundamentals havent changed, I personally feel that things are still going strong.

Some people say that the vision of BEA is gone and now youre into the phase of just turning out the products that implement that vision.

I think if you look at Mark Carges, who is the [chief technology officer], Mark is one of the creators of Tuxedo. He was part of the portal group, which is a leading product for BEA right now. So I dont think that BEA lacks vision so much. I dont subscribe to that belief. I think that Mark and I will be a great team in making sure that we enable innovation and continue to execute. And dont forget, Alfred [Chuang, CEO of BEA] as the founder is a visionary, and hes still very much the leader here.

What about the progress on some of the projects that were recently announced like Alchemy and the Liquid Computing strategy?

That is still moving forward. Alchemy, actually, you look at what Adam [Bosworth, who went to Google Inc. in late July,] did with Alchemy. He kind of reached out in a research way into an occasionally connected paradigm, and I believe that that paradigm will come true. At the moment the work that hes done is being productized and being taken over by a product group as a basic tenet of the infrastructure.

So Im going through discovery on a lot of things. Ive been here eight days, five business days, but as far as I can tell everything is moving along. And the things I can add value to are some of the manageability initiatives about the platform and about security, thats absolutely my domain.

What kind of challenge do you see for yourself here in your new role?

I think the No. 1 challenge I have is continuing to encourage innovation, to take execution to the next level and optimize some of the processes and make sure our deliverables have the best quality possible and are timely to the marketplace. I think thats a continuing challenge. So my challenge is to take it up a notch.

Next Page: A message to BEAs customers.