Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Automic Blog, Elizabeth White, Dalibor Siroky, XebiaLabs Blog, John Katrick

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Making the Digital Enterprise a Reality | @CloudExpo #DigitalTransformation

Digital transformation has moved beyond a mere buzzword and is getting harder and harder to dismiss as just another fad

Guest post by Intellyx Principal Analyst Charles Araujo

The reason I believe digital transformation is not only more than a fad, but is actually a life-or-death imperative for every business and IT executive on the planet is simple: there will be no place for an "industrial enterprise" in a digital world.

Transformation, by definition, is a metamorphosis from one state to another, wholly new state. As such, a true digital transformation must be the act of transforming an industrial-era organization into something wholly different - the Digital Enterprise.

Digital transformation has moved beyond a mere buzzword and is getting harder and harder to dismiss as just another fad. As it is becoming accepted as a business imperative, however, organizations are struggling to understand what it actually means to execute a digital transformation effort.

For most people, digital transformation is an abstract concept - an idealized rallying cry, but not much more. One purpose of Intellyx's Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap is to represent what transformation actually looks like.

But as you can see when you download it, simple and linear it ain't. So the question remains, how do you actually execute against this thing?

One of the reasons I was so excited to join Intellyx was because I share so many of the beliefs and approaches Jason Bloomberg has been espousing. Still, what fun would it be if we agreed on everything?

One of his points I take issue with (although I'm sure not the last) is this idea that digital transformation has no end (as he described most recently in the Cortex Digital Transformation: Moving Deck Chairs on the Titanic?).

I agree that far too many digital transformation efforts are of the "small," finite variety that Jason describes, and that as a result they will dangerously leave their organizations no better off in the long run than when they started.

By the same token, however, I believe that it is equally as dangerous to attempt to execute a true, large transformational effort without an end-state goal.

Beware, however, of considering digital transformation to be an end unto itself. Simply stating that you are executing a digital transformation may now be sufficient to bolster your standing in the industry, with your peers and your board, to be sure - but the idea that "it's the process that counts" will limit your ability to actually execute a meaningful business transformation.

The Goal of Transformation: Becoming a Digital Enterprise
The reason I believe digital transformation is not only more than a fad, but is actually a life-or-death imperative for every business and IT executive on the planet is simple: there will be no place for an "industrial enterprise" in a digital world.

Transformation, by definition, is a metamorphosis from one state to another, wholly new state. As such, a true digital transformation must be the act of transforming an industrial-era organization into something wholly different - the Digital Enterprise.

The problem is not the act of setting a goal, thereby establishing a digital transformation as a finite change. The problem with the small transformations that Jason describes are that they are not, in fact, transformative. They are driven by a change in state rather than in a change in fundamental capability and orientation - which Jason describes as making change a core competency in the organization.

This problem is akin to claiming that you've "transformed" your military bomber by adding new navigational instruments, versus undergoing a metamorphosis which changes that bomber into a fighter jet - something altogether different with a fundamentally different set of operating capabilities and attributes.

When a true transformation occurs, it becomes almost impossible to compare the new to the old. But that doesn't mean there is no end state. While I do agree that one of the capabilities of the digital enterprise is its ability to remain in a constant state of change, it is still a capability that organizations must explicitly develop.

Designing for Digital: The Roadmap
Establishing a goal of becoming a Digital Enterprise and requiring that it develops a fundamentally different set of capabilities and orientations is critically important, because these steps lay the foundation for how to execute the transformational effort.

The Digital Enterprise is not simply an industrial-era organization with a new layer of technology laid on top of it, but enterprises generally don't have the luxury of starting from scratch either. The reality of executing a transformation requires that the new emerges out of the old.

As a result, your team must come along for the ride, as they must transform their sure and steady bomber into a fast and agile fighter jet - while it's in flight.

Having a goal as transformative as becoming a Digital Enterprise is both important and powerful, because it helps overcome the inevitable resistance to this audacious demand.

Yet, while it is true that defining capabilities of the digital enterprise include its agility and constant adaptability (and in that sense, the constant state of transformation that Jason describes), from a very human perspective the entire endeavor simply sounds overwhelming.

Dealing with the overwhelming nature of digital transformation is why it's so critical to develop a compelling vision of the future that we can break down into digestible morsels. Those morsels may, in fact, be a set of small, finite transformations.

The trick is that we must design them to deliberately create an organization with the specific capabilities we require - to transform the bomber into the fighter jet.

Our Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap helps to map out these capabilities. It shows the transformation from an enterprise suffering under the burden of a siloed operating model and inflexible, legacy applications that poorly align with customer needs.

In its place: an enterprise in which horizontal self-organization is the predominant operating model, where the core principles of velocity and scale drive the business, and intelligent, on-demand software power its business processes - all aligning with the fundamental goal of meeting customer needs and desires.

The Three Dimensions of Transformation

To accomplish these audacious goals, business and IT executives must recognize that digital transformation occurs across three distinct, yet intertwined dimensions: organizational structure, technology, and culture. They must then create an environment which will allow the metamorphosis to occur.

One of the great misconceptions about digital transformation is that it is all about technology. Even when someone refutes that point and proclaims that their digital transformation is really a business transformation, they almost never describe any fundamental change to their business or operating model other than to the technology-centric processes that power it.

In contrast, true transformation into a Digital Enterprise occurs simultaneously across all three dimensions of the organizational model: organizational structure, technology, and culture.

Put another way, you must simultaneously transform the structural (the physical makeup of the plane), the mechanical (how everything is connected and operates together) and the mission (the shared vision of how to operate the plane and to what end).

This three-dimensional change, of course, is much harder than merely transforming any single dimension. It requires that no one part of the transformational process proceed faster than the other dimensions can support, which requires massive amounts of coordination and communication.

But can you imagine the transformation of a bomber into a fighter jet while in flight happening any other way?

The true danger of executing small, finite transformations outside the context of a grander, bolder, strategic transformational effort is having one dimension moving too far ahead of another. The end result: corporate inertia kicks in, and the elements of the organization left behind will claw the transformed dimension back into its "rightful place," ensuring that no permanent business transformation ever occurs.

The Intellyx Take

Digital transformation represents a fundamental shift in how business is done and how technology is leveraged to create competitive advantage. However, such transformation is enormously difficult, and most organizations that believe that they have already transformed are almost certainly mistaken.

Digital transformation, after all, is not an end unto itself. It's not a convenient way to get funding for a pet project, and it's certainly not something to check off the list and then continue with business as usual.

The one and only purpose of a digital transformation effort is to change your organization into something fundamentally different: an organization that moves at velocity, scaling on-demand to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers.

By Charles Araujo, Principal Analyst, Intellyx. Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: Milan Nykodym.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...