Welcome!

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo, @ThingsExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

Digital Business Architecture | @CloudExpo #AI #ML #DigitalTransformation

Digital requires a fundamental retooling of both the technological and cultural underpinnings of the organization

Competitive Value: Unlocking Your Digital Business Architecture
Guest post by Charles Araujo, Principal Analyst, Intellyx

IT leaders face a monumental challenge. They must figure out how to sort through the cacophony of new technologies, buzzwords, and industry hype to find the right digital path forward for their organizations.

And they simply cannot afford to fail.

Those organizations that are fastest to the right digital path will be the ones that win.

The path forward, however, is strewn with the legacy of decisions made long ago - often before any of the current leadership team assumed their roles. While it's fun to think about the future with a green-field mindset, that's not reality for IT leaders sitting in the trenches.

To make matters worse, vendors are bombarding business executives with messages describing an unbridled future full of promise - and profits - if they only buy the latest technology innovations.

The result is that IT executives are in an unenviable position. They must somehow identify the precious few game-changing advances that will provide competitive value for their organizations - out of the ever-growing mass of new technologies.

They must then craft a strategy that re-envisions the existing technology stack and blends it with the new value-driving technologies into a cohesive architecture orchestrated explicitly to deliver value for the organization.

Easy, right?

The challenges are real, but there is a solution: IT leaders must shift their governing perspective away from technology, enablement, or even various forms of return on investment (ROI) and instead focus exclusively on competitive value.

In other words, they must develop a new digital business architecture.

Resetting IT's Governing Value Model
From the beginning, IT organizations have measured value in terms of efficiency. The universal business case has been operational cost reduction. All the talk about digital transformation has done little to change this perspective.

Even today, executives green-light the vast majority of IT projects based on cost reduction-centered ROI calculation models. Whether in the form of operational efficiency or direct savings, cost reduction has been the primary consideration in calculations of IT value.

However, organizations have already realized most of those gains. And the savings-driven projects that remain are achieving smaller and smaller returns.

Technology has emerged out of the back-office shadows to become the primary driver of competitive value in organizations. The problem is that you'd never recognize this fundamental shift simply by sitting in a budget meeting in most enterprise organizations.

Of course, not every component of the technology stack drives competitive value. In fact, most parts of an organization's technology architecture do not - and that's a problem. Given so many years of cost reduction focus, most of the resulting technology stack exists for only one purpose: to provide protection against competitive disadvantage.

The vast majority of an organization's technology investments are now just the cost of doing business. They do not provide any significant cost advantage over competitors - and even if they do, those advantages are always short-lived.

I'm not saying that these investments are not important. The organization would, in fact, almost instantly collapse without them - but the fact remains that they are not providing a competitive advantage to the company.

The New Architectural Framework
Within any enterprise organization, each element of the technology stack exists in one of two value states: those that provide competitive advantage to the organization (competitive) and those that are merely required to keep the organization in the game (sustaining).

But most IT organizations do not know which is which.

To develop a digital business architecture, however, this competitive-value perspective must become the primary perspective which governs all decisions related to technology investments and technical architectures, because it drives the re-envisioning of the entire enterprise technology stack.

Enterprise IT organizations have historically designed technical architectures from a systems perspective. IT gathered business requirements and then deconstructed them into a set of systems that would fulfill those requirements.

When cost optimization was the fundamental business driver, this systems perspective worked fine. However, when the foundational perspective shifts to competitive value, a systems perspective is no longer useful.

In the era of digital business, organizations need a new architectural framework that accounts for the two value states - competitive and sustaining - and enables IT leaders to define a digital business architecture that supports them both appropriately.

Realigning the technology stack from a competitive value perspective eliminates the guesswork on many of the key decisions facing IT leaders today about which technologies to maintain in-house, versus which to deploy to the cloud. This realignment also makes it much easier to sort through the mass of emerging technology innovations to determine which are worthy of investment.

The greater the contribution to competitive value, the greater the need for speed and agility to protect that advantage. For example, the organization may need to respond if a competitor introduces a new salesforce automation system that reduces their cost of sale, but that response probably doesn't need to be all that swift.

On the other hand, if a competitor introduces something that threatens an organization's competitive advantage, it will be critical that they have the capability to adapt rapidly and respond to that threat.

The Digital Ecosystem
The new architectural framework decouples a technology's position in the value stream from its position in the underlying technical architecture.

Legacy technologies will remain in-house. Sustaining technologies residing in the commodity tier will be almost exclusively sitting in SaaS deployments. But everything else will live somewhere in between.

It is irrelevant whether the organization deploys any given technology on in-house environments or on an IaaS or PaaS cloud environment. The only thing that will matter is how it orchestrates the delivery of services throughout the environment to deliver its intended value (competitive or sustaining).

This complex combination of interconnected technology environments, all orchestrated from a competitive value perspective, is what I refer to as a digital ecosystem.

Building these digital ecosystems and leveraging them to create advantage is the subject of my new book, The Ecosystem Advantage: How to Build the Digital Ecosystem That Will Help You Win in the Digital Era.

The resulting digital ecosystems will be unlike the technical architectures of the past. They will be highly fluid, self-correcting environments in which a vast amount of the technical activity occurs outside the walls of the enterprise - with organizations measuring and managing them exclusively from a value perspective.

The Intellyx Take
As organizations rush to become digital enterprises, the difference between success and market irrelevance will be their ability to break through the clutter and build their unique digital business architecture.

IT leaders must re-envision their technology stack from a competitive value perspective, align both existing and new technology investments to the new architectural framework, and then carefully craft a dynamic digital ecosystem to orchestrate it all in pursuit of market differentiation.

This digital approach is a far cry from the command-and-control approaches of the past - and it will require a fundamental retooling of both the technological and cultural underpinnings of the organization.

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.

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).

Latest Stories
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...
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists discussed how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations might...
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...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
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.
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media 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. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
Join us at Cloud Expo June 6-8 to find out how to securely connect your cloud app to any cloud or on-premises data source – without complex firewall changes. More users are demanding access to on-premises data from their cloud applications. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but an important differentiator that drives competitive advantages. It’s the new “must have” in the hybrid era. Users want capabilities that give them a unified view of the data to get closer to customers and grow business. The...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...