Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Times of Digital Disruption | @CloudExpo #IoT #AI #ML #DigitalTransformation

IT must become the business

First came Data Processing (DP), as massive, arcane behemoths of computers crunched numbers for select enterprises and government agencies. DP evolved into Information Systems (IS) and in turn, Management Information Systems (MIS). Next up: Information Technology (IT) and its cousin, Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

As the corporate department responsible for enterprise technology evolved, so too did the title of the executive in charge, eventually settling on the Chief Information Officer (CIO) - in spite of the fact that CIOs are rarely if ever in charge of an organization's information per se.

Throughout these changes, the role of the organization we now label IT has evolved, and with it, the focus of the CIO. Today, with digital transformation upending the status quo across the entire enterprise, IT is transforming once again.

Given its history, then, what will the IT organization become as digital transformation works its magic? And correspondingly, what is the new role for the CIO - assuming we'll even need a CIO in the digitally transformed future?

The First Three Roles for IT
To make sense of the role the digitally transformed IT organization must play, it's essential to review the roles that IT has served over its history - not only to understand the past as prologue, but also because each of these roles remains part of the story.

In other words, each role layers on top of the previous ones, adding complexity to an already complex organization. These layers of complexity, of course, are high on our priority list of things we'd love to transform.

The first role for IT - the most universal of all the roles - is IT as cost center.

Of everything an enterprise does, the traditional reasoning goes, some things bring in the bucks and some don't. IT is firmly in the second camp, consisting entirely of overhead.

As a result, the CIO's primary role is cost containment. Do more with less is the mantra - and when times are tight, it becomes do less with less. Little if any of the IT budget is earmarked for innovation.

Layered on top of the cost center role is role #2: IT as service provider. True, IT costs are still overhead, but the CIO's focus shifts from managing costs to serving the business.

Interactions between IT and the rest of the business become service interactions - often leveraging a ticket-based service management system where people ask IT for services and then wait in line to get them.

For the CIO, the service provider role has clear advantages over the cost containment role, as the value IT provides to the business is now quantifiable. As long as the IT organization can innovate in order to provide better service, the reasoning goes, then the CIO is likely to be able to justify the additional expense.

However, CIOs still struggle with the service provider role, because it is entirely tactical. To warrant the ‘C' in the CIOs title - C as in C-level - the CIO must have a strategic role in the business.

That's where the third role for IT comes in: IT as partner with the business. The C-suite finally recognizes that IT is strategically important to the enterprise, and as a result, invites the CIO to join in as a full-fledged member.

Sounds good, right? CIOs who have truly reached the lofty heights of the strategic C-suite may finally feel they have reached the pinnacle of their careers as CIO.

But - and this is a big but to be sure - partnering with the business is no longer good enough. In fact, it's a dot-com era holdover, from when organizations first came to realize that the Internet and the Web in particular were strategic assets.

True, the Internet opened the C-suite door for many CIOs, and today, the enterprises that survived the dot-com boom and bust are the ones that got the Internet right. Kudos to them.

But digital transformation represents the next generation of change. Partnering with the business won't cut it anymore.

The Multifaceted Nature of Digital Transformation
Compared to digital transformation, the Internet revolution was decidedly one-dimensional: either you got the Web or you didn't.

In contrast, the IT-related transformations enterprises are facing today are numerous, complex, and intertwined. Four component transformations in particular are worth calling out.

We have the move to the cloud, transforming how enterprises deploy, pay for, and manage their IT assets.

We have the rise of mobile technologies, changing how customers (and everyone else) interacts with businesses, and as a result, transforming what customers expect from the companies they interact with.

Add to this mix: Software-Defined Everything (SDX). Combining the last decade's principles of Model-Driven Architecture with the technical advances in Software-Defined Networking, we're increasingly able to represent our technology infrastructure as software models. Deploy or redeploy any aspect of our technology, from our network to our applications, with a push of a button.

The Fourth Role for IT
Perhaps most important for understanding the new role for IT, however, is the advent of DevOps. By leveraging the power of Software-Defined Infrastructure, developers, ops personnel, and testers have hammered out entirely new ways of building and deploying software.

And now, the DevOps virus is spreading, infecting the entire enterprise with new ways of organizing itself along horizontal, self-organizational lines.

If we extend these trends into the future, it becomes clear that the entire idea of an IT department as a separate organizational silo within a hierarchically-organized enterprise is becoming obsolete - because hierarchical organizational models themselves do not support the business agility enterprises need to remain competitive in the face of the multifaceted disruption that characterizes today's software-driven business environment.

As a result, digital transformation represents a rethink of enterprise organization from hierarchical and top-down to horizontal and self-organized. DevOps represents early steps to this vision, and SDX is what will make the change practical and cost-effective.

The fourth role for IT, therefore, is for IT to become the business. Every part of the organization, regardless of the nature of the business, becomes software-empowered. Business operations (the role of the COO) and technical operations (the ops part of today's CIO role) become one and the same.

We must still manage technology costs, serve users, and partner with lines of business - but none of these roles alone or taken together tell the story of how fundamentally and comprehensively digital transformation impacts the IT organization and its leadership.

The Intellyx Take
Even though our vision of IT becoming the business is unquestionably bold, don't fall for the straw-man trap of concluding that the digitally transformed enterprise doesn't need an IT effort at all. That fallacious conclusion aligns more with the early, cost center role for IT, reducing costs to zero by extinguishing the department altogether. Clearly, reaching that conclusion is entirely disingenuous.

The reality is subtler and more profound. This transformation, in fact, shakes the C-suite to its core, as the point of the C-suite today is to be the top of the hierarchical pyramid that represents how every large organization structures itself. Do away with the hierarchy, and corporate leadership must transform accordingly - and with it, the role of the CIO.

What will such a digitally transformed enterprise look like? We don't really know, as we only have glimpses as organizations progress along their digital transformation roadmaps.

Remember, however, digital transformation has no end state. For change to become a core competency, today's enterprises will always be in flux - and the ones that embrace that disruption will be the only survivors.

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: Energy.gov.

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
One of the biggest challenges with adopting a DevOps mentality is: new applications are easily adapted to cloud-native, microservice-based, or containerized architectures - they can be built for them - but old applications need complex refactoring. On the other hand, these new technologies can require relearning or adapting new, oftentimes more complex, methodologies and tools to be ready for production. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, Solutions Marketi...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Today companies are looking to achieve cloud-first digital agility to reduce time-to-market, optimize utilization of resources, and rapidly deliver disruptive business solutions. However, leveraging the benefits of cloud deployments can be complicated for companies with extensive legacy computing environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, founder and CEO of Metavine, will outline the challenges enterprises face in migrating legacy solutions to the cloud. He will also prese...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
‘Trend’ is a pretty common business term, but its definition tends to vary by industry. In performance monitoring, trend, or trend shift, is a key metric that is used to indicate change. Change is inevitable. Today’s websites must frequently update and change to keep up with competition and attract new users, but such changes can have a negative impact on the user experience if not managed properly. The dynamic nature of the Internet makes it necessary to constantly monitor different metrics. O...
With the rise of DevOps, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in Enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery for the business. When it comes to adopting containers in the enterprise, security is the highest adoption barrier. Is your organization ready to address the security risks with containers for your DevOps environment? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist, NA West at Red Hat, will discuss: The top security r...
The last two years has seen discussions about cloud computing evolve from the public / private / hybrid split to the reality that most enterprises will be creating a complex, multi-cloud strategy. Companies are wary of committing all of their resources to a single cloud, and instead are choosing to spread the risk – and the benefits – of cloud computing across multiple providers and internal infrastructures, as they follow their business needs. Will this approach be successful? How large is the ...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
Many organizations adopt DevOps to reduce cycle times and deliver software faster; some take on DevOps to drive higher quality and better end-user experience; others look to DevOps for a clearer line-of-sight to customers to drive better business impacts. In truth, these three foundations go together. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 21st Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, industry experts will discuss how leading organizations build application success from all...
Most of the time there is a lot of work involved to move to the cloud, and most of that isn't really related to AWS or Azure or Google Cloud. Before we talk about public cloud vendors and DevOps tools, there are usually several technical and non-technical challenges that are connected to it and that every company needs to solve to move to the cloud. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Stefano Bellasio, CEO and founder of Cloud Academy Inc., will discuss what the tools, disciplines, and cultural...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
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...
The nature of the technology business is forward-thinking. It focuses on the future and what’s coming next. Innovations and creativity in our world of software development strive to improve the status quo and increase customer satisfaction through speed and increased connectivity. Yet, while it's exciting to see enterprises embrace new ways of thinking and advance their processes with cutting edge technology, it rarely happens rapidly or even simultaneously across all industries.
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
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...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
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.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, was first introduced by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991. The initial version HTTP/0.9 was designed to facilitate data transfers between a client and server. The protocol works on a request-response model over a TCP connection, but it’s evolved over the years to include several improvements and advanced features. The latest version is HTTP/2, which has introduced major advancements that prioritize webpage performance and speed.