IBM Z Wins Red Dot, iF Design Awards

Jeff Neely
IBM Design
Published in
5 min readApr 19, 2023


The IBM Z organization—the mainframe segment of the IBM Infrastructure business unit—was an early adopter of design as a practice. For several years now all of our key teams have been led by a “3-in-the-box” of design, product management, and development. This structure, coupled with a dedication to co-creating with our very engaged clients, has resulted in a steady improvement in user experiences across the entire portfolio of products and offerings.

The business results certainly indicate we’re doing something right, and that’s the best metric there is. Yet it’s also gratifying to receive external recognition for excellence in design. Thus I am extremely proud to share that IBM Z recently received awards from two prestigious design competitions, including a Red Dot Design Award and three iF Design Awards. The Z Industrial Design Program won a “Best of the Best” award from Red Dot and the zAIOPs, DPM and Industrial Design teams won iF Design awards.

reddot best of the best 2023

IBM z16 wins “Red Dot: Best of the Best” Design Award

The Red Dot Award is regarded as one of the most distinguished international design competitions, and their highest recognition, the “Best of the Best” is awarded for groundbreaking design and reserved for the finest products in each individual category.

This was the first year an enterprise IT system was entered in the competition, and after being judged by a panel of 43 experts from all over the world, z16 won the prestigious 2023 “Red Dot: Best of the Best” Award, in the Computer and Information Technology category. This award (and the iF award below) recognizes IBM’s decades-long commitment to industrial design excellence.

I want to specifically recognize Camillo Sassano and Baxter Schanze for their outstanding work and acknowledge the significant contributions of the z16 development and mechanical teams in Poughkeepsie, NY.

iF Design Award 2023

Three IBM Z teams win iF Design Awards

iF Design, founded in 1953, hosts the annual iF Design Award competition. A jury of 132 design experts from more than 20 countries selected award-winning designs from almost 11,000 entries. Our IBM Z teams were honored to be awarded three 2023 iF Design Awards.

IBM DPM — Partition link end-to-end experience
Dynamic Partition Manager (DPM) enables system administrators & programmers to easily operate IBM Z servers. Our clients rely on running critical workloads frictionlessly 24/7 to maintain key operations in industries like banking and retail. However, the users — System Administrators and Programmers — are on average younger and less experienced with the technology than they used to be.

Dynamic Partition Manager UI

The DPM Design team replaced long workflows and CLIs (command-line interfaces) with a modern end-to-end experience. Designed in close collaboration with users, DPM fulfills their needs as they keep services up and running. The experience increases user capability and confidence to set up configurations by providing meaningful guidance using smart algorithms. Read more about the award here.

Congratulations to Marie Mader, Maya Eapen, Swapna Patwardhan, Nadia Fendrich, Mayra Bautista-Schillinger, Carl Mayer, Felix Herrmann and Elio Raineri in our Boeblingen, Germany Studio.

IBM zAIOps Platform
zAIOps is built for IT Operational teams working on maintaining healthy IBM Z mainframes. These systems are of critical worldwide importance. A slowdown or outage leads to millions of dollars’ worth of lost business. The teams supporting this infrastructure are shrinking as personnel retire. Yet, the complexity they oversee is growing. This creates demand for more modern maintenance.

the zAIOps Platform

The zAIOps Platform uses AI to process myriad data sources, prioritize alerts, provide just-in-time details, recommend actions, and help users collaborate to solve problems. Designing this solution required the orchestration of sponsor user engagements and alignment among products. We leveraged Carbon Charts, user research, Enterprise Design Thinking, and best practices for visualizations and chat messages. We now have a dashboard and chat platform that embeds AI throughout the journey and modernizes mainframe support. Read more about the award here.

Congratulations to Rita Almusa, Doris Amouzou, Paolo Bocci, Natalie Hatter, Joseph Jabkiewicz, Rebecca Knowe, Katya Malyavina, Rachel McLean, and Will Ryan in our RTP Studio and to Phoebe Cai, Yuanyuan Gong, Yin Hu, Yafei Ma, Lily Yue, Tianyu Wang, and Yu Chun Shi in our Shanghai Studio.

IBM z16
IBM z16 computers are the industry-leading platform for mission-critical workloads with new AI technology and fraud prevention. This mainframe platform is trusted by two-thirds of the Fortune 100 for processing 25 billion secure transactions per day and keeping global business running. The design of the new IBM z16 is optimized to meet the increasing demand for performance, efficiency, serviceability, and sustainability, while delivering a better experience for the users.

The Industrial Design Program created a bold new brand presence that aligns with IBM’s current product portfolio, continuing the heritage of IBM Z product design. Read more about the award here.

Congratulations again to Camillo Sassano and Baxter Schanze. Since 1953, IBM has won 272 iF Awards, and 243 of those have been awarded to the industrial design of IT systems!

Combined, IBM Infrastructure wins five iF DESIGN AWARDS

Our IBM Cloud team was also honored with two iF DESIGN AWARDS 2023: IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers for VPC won in the User Experience category and IBM Cloud Code Engine won in the Apps and Software category. Read more about these wins here.

Jeff Neely is a VP of Design at IBM based in Austin, TX. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.