Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Harry Trott, Yeshim Deniz, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

Software Innovation from the Ground Up

Innovation examples abound at the RedMonk Analyst Conference

One of the things that struck me at RedMonk's Analyst Conference was how much innovation was being driven by very small groups of software developers - and how those innovations are enabling even more innovation by lowering the technical and financial barriers to the creation of new software.

This is one of two articles about the RedMonk conference - "Innovation to Shake Up the Software Industry" gives additional insights into and examples of software innovation at the analyst conference I just attended.

Dr. Innovation from Harvard
There's some very exciting research out there by a Harvard professor I met with a few weeks ago named Dr. Karim Lakhani on the topic of how innovation happens with software development.  He is possibly the world's foremost academic expert on how innovation happens. One of Dr. Innovation's key conclusions is that innovation is driven by a combination of diversity and parallel paths.  By lowering the barrier to entry for the creation, we create both diversity and parallel paths.  Innovation is the result.

Breaking the Traditional Software Mold
There were so many examples of people breaking the traditional software mold and creating some truly excellent software:

One of the guys I met at the conference - I'll call him "Reston Virginia Guy", told me how he and 2 other guys developed some amazing software in the course of only 3 days as part of a competition.  If that's not interesting enough, he had never met the two other guys before.  And the three of them were in 3 different parts of the country.

Another guy, "OCaml Guy" develops sophisticated software platforms for asynchronous communications in his spare time, when he's not developing more mundane web applications using things like PHP.

Zack Urlocker, formerly EVP of Products at open source rocketship MySQL, spoke about how they benefited by an innovative distributed development model - distributing hundreds of developers across 40 countries, with 95% of them working at home.

Greg Avola, a parallel (rather than serial) entrepreneur, building products like Untappd, "When Will I Be Mayor" and others with small teams of like-minded developers.

An Explosion of Junk
Zendesk COO Zack Urlocker and I discussed the implications of this - how the lowering of barriers inevitably means that there will be a lot of "junk" produced (products that nobody wants to buy or use).

Yes, undoubtedly there will be a blizzard of useless junk that will come out.  But so what?  Those products will fade away - the "market" will ensure that.  What will be left is the increased number of good, great or even astonishing products.  The "extreme outcomes" that Dr. Innovation talks about in his research.

Who Wins?  Who Loses?
It's clear that the development community and the consumers will be the big winners.

I don't believe that there have to be any losers.  But there will be.

The losers in this transformation (like in any evolutionary process) will be comprised of those who are not willing to adapt - too slow, too big, too stupid, too arrogant, too afraid, whatever.

The lowered financial barriers to entry, the increasing ability for developers to bootstrap their own new products has the potential to negatively impact angel investors and VC's.

External investors have gone from holding pretty much all the cards to holding slightly fewer of them.  That trend will continue and those investors and VC's who refuse to embrace and enable this trend will lose out.  I'm certainly not predicting the death of the Venture Capital industry.  But it's no longer necessary to go begging in every situation for a few hundred thousand dollars in seed capital (and give up a huge percentage of the company in the process).

Big companies have the opportunity to be huge beneficiaries of this new wave of innovation - or huge losers.  Some will be both.

Certainly, the deluge of new products that will come as a result of all of this will mean that big companies can do some serious shopping for cool new products and technologies.  And given that some of these companies were bootstrapped and had no VC involvement, the transactions cheaper, faster and better for both sides.  Nitobi (creator of PhoneGap,  a product I mentioned earlier that enables mobile application development) - bootstrapped.  No VC involvement. Just acquired by Adobe.

Additionally, the really smart large companies will start to selectively let go of their tightly controlled on-premises co-located development models - management structures and practices which have continued almost unchanged from the dawn of the industrial age (and which stamp out innovation, rather than encourage it).  The forward-thinking ones will embrace the social/tech evolution and take advantage of it.

So Who Is King of Software?
On the front page of their website, RedMonk specifically states, "RedMonk is the first and only developer-focused industry analyst firm. We believe that developers are the most important constituency in technology, which is why we work on their behalf for technology companies large and small."

One might argue (as I have consistently done) that the customer (i.e., the target market) is the most important constituency; however, that's a bit like arguing "who has more influence, the husband or the wife."  As that line goes in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" "If the husband is the head, then the wife is the neck."  I mean, being a head without a neck is not much fun.  And being a neck with no head attached serves little purpose.

So when RedMonk says "developers are the most important constituency", it may rub "Pragmatic Product Managers and Product Marketers" the wrong way, but I don't believe that the two views are inconsistent with each other.

There is logic behind the statement that "developers are the new kingmakers".  Because developers (increasingly in small or self-selected groups) are enabling all this innovation, they are driving "what is possible".

Developers in their ones and twos and dozens and hundreds are creating real value - the kind of value that in prior decades (for example the creation of Visual Basic that allowed a new class  of people to develop on Windows) was created by big corporations or companies backed by big money.  And those developments only impacted a very small number of people when compared to the impact that new software innovations have in today's world of nearly ubiquitous computing.

There's a symbiosis between the development community and consumers - to a much greater degree than there's ever been.  And it's a good thing.  Unless you're too slow, too big, too stupid, too arrogant or too afraid to take advantage of this techno-social evolution.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
The margins of cloud products like virtual machines are still in the 50% range. In essence, price drops are going to be a regular feature for the foreseeable future. This begets the question - are hosted solutions becoming irrelevant today? Boston-based market research firm, 451 Research, has been publishing their ‘Cloud Price Index' for a few years now. The quarterly study looks into the pricing of various offerings in the cloud market to understand the shifting dynamics in the public, privat...
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
"Tintri focuses on the Ops side of the DevOps, which basically is pushing more and more of the accessibility of the infrastructure to the developers and trying to get behind the scenes," explained Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing...
Managing mission-critical SAP systems and landscapes has never been easy. Add public cloud with its myriad of powerful cloud native services and this may not change any time soon. Public cloud offers exciting new possibilities for enterprise workloads. But to make use of these possibilities and capabilities, IT teams need to re-think everything they have done before. Otherwise, they will just end up using public cloud as a hosting platform for their workloads, aka known as “lift and shift.”
There's a lot to gain from cloud computing, but success requires a thoughtful and enterprise focused approach. Cloud computing decouples data and information from the infrastructure on which it lies. A process that is a LOT more involved than dragging some folders from your desktop to a shared drive. Cloud computing as a mission transformation activity, not a technological one. As an organization moves from local information hosting to the cloud, one of the most important challenges is addressi...
The reality of data ubiquity is here—data is buried in operational statistics, machine logs, stacks of overflowing tickets and customer details, among other things. How can any user get valuable information amid this rapid influx of data? Imagine a situation where your firm’s revenue takes a hit owing to an unexpected failure in some business process. It would be a nightmare for IT admins to sift through the interminable piles of data to deduce exactly why and where the problem occurred. To sav...
Hybrid IT is today’s reality, and while its implementation may seem daunting at times, more and more organizations are migrating to the cloud. In fact, according to SolarWinds 2017 IT Trends Index: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization 95 percent of organizations have migrated crucial applications to the cloud in the past year. As such, it’s in every IT professional’s best interest to know what to expect.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
In the decade following his article, cloud computing further cemented Carr’s perspective. Compute, storage, and network resources have become simple utilities, available at the proverbial turn of the faucet. The value they provide is immense, but the cloud playing field is amazingly level. Carr’s quote above presaged the cloud to a T. Today, however, we’re in the digital era. Mark Andreesen’s ‘software is eating the world’ prognostication is coming to pass, as enterprises realize they must be...
A common misconception about the cloud is that one size fits all. Companies expecting to run all of their operations using one cloud solution or service must realize that doing so is akin to forcing the totality of their business functionality into a straightjacket. Unlocking the full potential of the cloud means embracing the multi-cloud future where businesses use their own cloud, and/or clouds from different vendors, to support separate functions or product groups. There is no single cloud so...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
Companies have always been concerned that traditional enterprise software is slow and complex to install, often disrupting critical and time-sensitive operations during roll-out. With the growing need to integrate new digital technologies into the enterprise to transform business processes, this concern has become even more pressing. A 2016 Panorama Consulting Solutions study revealed that enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects took an average of 21 months to install, with 57 percent of th...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...