Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Aruna Ravichandran, Cameron Van Orman

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Silos Are Dead! Long Live the Silos! | @CloudExpo #DX #Cloud #Agile #DevOps

The problem is that in spite of the all the posturing, no one really wants to kill silos

Silos Are Dead! Long Live the Silos!
Guest post by Intellyx Principal Analyst Charles Araujo

Nothing unites any group of people like a common enemy. And since the move toward digital transformation began - and IT transformation before it - a favorite common enemy has been organizational silos.

It has been an oft-repeated mantra that in order to execute a successful transformation of any kind, the organization must break through the silos that have been the source of dysfunction and obstruction.

Everyone could agree that silos created unnecessary separation, protectionism, and bureaucracy. No one would dare argue that having rigid silos were somehow good for the organization.

Silos were, therefore, the easy target. They became the mantle onto which leaders could lay all past transgressions, and, in so doing, they became a convenient artifice to allow the leader to proclaim the dawn of a new era of integration, collaboration, and communication.

Silos are dead!

Except they never quite died, did they? In spite of all the talk, silos have persisted. They now just have different names. But the danger remains just as real, and their negative impact grows more significant every day.

All New, Old Silos
The problem is that in spite of the all the posturing, no one really wants to kill silos. Silos have become a way for people to identify themselves - particularly when they are trying to set themselves apart in a positive fashion.

So while there may be a common acknowledgment that the traditional silos and their use as a functional management paradigm are a hindrance, we're far from killing silos. Rather, an entirely new set of silos are simply rising to take the place of the old ones.

The most egregious of these new silos has come in the form of the bimodal IT concept, which has promoted a blatant segmentation between the supposed ‘old IT' and the new. Worse, bimodal IT has perpetuated the worst aspects of siloed mentality, cementing the idea that one part of IT was progressive and part of the future while the other was slow and stuck in the past.

But while bimodal may be the most blatant form of a new silo, it is far from the only one. Almost every new approach, strategy, and technology is ripe for creating all new, old silos. Whether it be DevOps, microservices, IoT, big data, or cognitive platforms, every new technology opens the door for some team or group of people within the organization to adopt it as the source of their new identity in order to segregate themselves from the rest of the organization.

On the one hand, this siloed mentality makes sense. The adoption of a new approach or technology requires new skills and specialized domain expertise.

Inevitably, people who embrace the new approach or technology become zealous believers and then naturally start forming formal or informal groups with other like-minded adherents.

Eventually, the organization codifies these specialized capabilities into an organizational function and poof! - we have a new silo. But the problems with silos don't go away just because people have rooted them in some modern technology.

Our Old Nemesis: Tactical Specialization
The reason that organizational silos have continued to persist is that even as everyone talks about digital transformation being this fundamental transition in the way organizations operate, few people seem to actually believe it.

Under the banner of digital transformation, organizations have changed the technology they use, where they deploy it, and how they manage it. They have created new organizational functions, new roles, and new titles. In some instances, they have even changed the metrics and how they measure their performance.

But few organizations have actually changed how they fundamentally structure themselves or how they operate.

This fact is certainly true within IT, but it is just as true throughout the entirety of the organization. Sure, everyone talks about the need to become a ‘digital enterprise' and how every company is now a technology company, but beyond all the talk, not much has actually changed.

Rather than taking a strategic, holistic, and systemic approach to transforming the organization, business and IT leaders have settled for incremental and tactical approaches. As a result, these so-called transformations have centered on our old nemesis: tactical specialization.

The history of IT - and really, the history of the modern enterprise organization - is joined at the hip with the idea of tactical specialization. Nearly every organization in existence has structured itself around the idea that they must create centers of specialization in order to create operational efficiencies. This idea is as old as the Industrial Age - and now just as obsolete.

For organizations to truly transform, they must finally break through this inbred siloed mentality and strategically reshape and restructure themselves to compete in the digital future - a future in which it is not efficiency, but rather agility, speed, and customer-centricity that create value.

Two Old Ideas to Create the New Digital Enterprise
Making this much more fundamental transformation is fraught with risk and challenges. That's why so few have dared to take it on.

But while re-envisioning how an organization operates requires courage and political capital, enterprise leaders don't have to make it all up. In fact, the inspiration and playbook for such an organizational re-imagination already exists in two fairly well-established concepts: design thinking and systems thinking.

A cadre of both business leaders and academics have already written volumes on these two topics - and each deserves in-depth study - so I won't get into their specifics here. (Although if you're looking for a place to start, you should begin with Stanford's d.school design thinking virtual crash course and Peter Senge's seminal book on systems thinking and creating learning organizations, The Fifth Discipline.)

These two ways of ‘thinking' are critical for organizations that wish to authentically transform themselves, because they demand a reorientation of the entire organization.

Design thinking shifts the organization away from an internally-focused and process-centric orientation to a human and customer-focused, value-oriented orientation.

Likewise, systems thinking forces an organization to change the operating perspective from one of functional efficiency to a holistic perspective that assesses efficiency and effectiveness only at a systemic level, where the enterprise operates as a complex system of systems.

The Intellyx Take
As enterprise leaders apply these two approaches at an organizational level, it becomes almost impossible to accept either mere incremental ‘transformation' or the continued existence of silos. Instead, the natural outcome of applying these principles at an enterprise level is the emergence of an entirely new set of organizational characteristics.

This new ‘Digital Enterprise' will be inherently customer, value, product, and project-centric. As such, functional organization by technical specialization will be inefficient and no longer sustainable.

Instead, the organization will manage its human, capital, and contractual resources dynamically to deliver its products, projects, and value to its customers. To do so, teams made up of internal employees, partners and, in many cases, customers, will self-organize (to varying degrees) to ideate, conceptualize, develop, and bring a product or service to market - and then disband just as quickly after it has run its (much shorter) course.

To be frank, these new methods of structuring and operating are largely untested and still in experimental stages within those brave enterprises willing to lead the pack. As they continue to test these ideas over time, however, the best new approaches to structuring and managing organizations will emerge.

However such transformation turns out, one thing is clear: the structure of those organizations that not only survive this period of rapid disruption, but which thrive in it, will look nothing like the industrial age dinosaurs that are the standard today. They will be fluid, dynamic organizations that are entirely oriented around the customer and operate at a systemic level.

And there is one other thing you can count on: there won't be a silo in sight.

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: Leaflet.

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
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, will discuss some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he’ll go over some of the best practices for structured team migrat...
As people view cloud as a preferred option to build IT systems, the size of the cloud-based system is getting bigger and more complex. As the system gets bigger, more people need to collaborate from design to management. As more people collaborate to create a bigger system, the need for a systematic approach to automate the process is required. Just as in software, cloud now needs DevOps. In this session, the audience can see how people can solve this issue with a visual model. Visual models ha...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
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...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Transforming cloud-based data into a reportable format can be a very expensive, time-intensive and complex operation. As a SaaS platform with more than 30 million global users, Cornerstone OnDemand’s challenge was to create a scalable solution that would improve the time it took customers to access their user data. Our Real-Time Data Warehouse (RTDW) process vastly reduced data time-to-availability from 24 hours to just 10 minutes. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Mark Goldin, Chief Technolo...
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable? Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, will answer these questions and demonstrate techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances ...
Digital transformation leaders have poured tons of money and effort into coding in recent years. And with good reason. To succeed at digital, you must be able to write great code. You also have to build a strong Agile culture so your coding efforts tightly align with market signals and business outcomes. But if your investments in testing haven’t kept pace with your investments in coding, you’ll lose. But if your investments in testing haven’t kept pace with your investments in coding, you’ll...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, will describe how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launchi...
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...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the leading technology training platform for enterprise multi-cloud infrastructure. Cloud Academy is trusted by leading companies to deliver continuous learning solutions across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most...
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 ...
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...
DevSecOps – a trend around transformation in process, people and technology – is about breaking down silos and waste along the software development lifecycle and using agile methodologies, automation and insights to help get apps to market faster. This leads to higher quality apps, greater trust in organizations, less organizational friction, and ultimately a five-star customer experience. These apps are the new competitive currency in this digital economy and they’re powered by data. Without ...
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...
For most organizations, the move to hybrid cloud is now a question of when, not if. Fully 82% of enterprises plan to have a hybrid cloud strategy this year, according to Infoholic Research. The worldwide hybrid cloud computing market is expected to grow about 34% annually over the next five years, reaching $241.13 billion by 2022. Companies are embracing hybrid cloud because of the many advantages it offers compared to relying on a single provider for all of their cloud needs. Hybrid offers bala...
With the modern notion of digital transformation, enterprises are chipping away at the fundamental organizational and operational structures that have been with us since the nineteenth century or earlier. One remarkable casualty: the business process. Business processes have become so ingrained in how we envision large organizations operating and the roles people play within them that relegating them to the scrap heap is almost unimaginable, and unquestionably transformative. In the Digital ...
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...