Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, @ThingsExpo, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Technology Isn’t the Answer to Surviving Digital Disruption | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Agile #DigitalTransformation

Despite the rhetoric, executing a digital transformation is about making technology so ubiquitous that it becomes invisible

Technology Isn't the Answer to Surviving Digital Disruption
Guest post by Charles Araujo, Principal Analyst, Intellyx

There's a funny thing about digital transformation: we are simultaneously over-hyping it and understating it. On the one hand, every tech company in the world is talking about it. It doesn't matter how mundane the technology; every company is somehow relating their products to digital transformation.

On the other, many people are failing to grasp the import and impact of what digital transformation really means. In far too many cases, business and IT leaders are dismissing it as nothing more than a marketing ploy. The unfortunate result is that the over-hypedness of digital transformation is obscuring its real meaning.

This dichotomy is most apparent in what I call the tech company fallacy.

Everywhere I turn, I hear another company executive make a proclamation that they are no longer a retailer, a toy manufacturer or whatever kind of company they are - and then say, "We're a tech company that happens to <<insert product or service here>>." Ugh.

On one level, it's understandable. Transforming an organization - particularly a large enterprise - is tough work. You need to jolt people out of their comfort zone and create enough urgency that they are willing to forgo the security of "the way things have always been done" to embrace the uncertainty of new.

The rallying cry of digital transformation is an easy foil for this purpose. But it's also a trap.

The Tech Company Trap
I blame Amazon for creating this phenomenon. They launched as an "online bookstore" - and most people took them at face value. As Amazon began expanding into other product lines and their dominance became clear, people realized that they were much more than just an online bookstore or even an online retailer - they were a tech company!

Amazon's eventual move into cloud computing with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform cemented this notion that they were a tech company who happened to sell stuff. The problem is that Amazon has always been a tech company.

Jeff Bezos started Amazon as an internet company in search of something to sell. He settled on books for very pragmatic reasons, but make no mistake - as much as Google or Apple, Amazon has always been a tech company.

This distinction is not insignificant. A tech company is one in which technology is the product they sell. In the case of Amazon, their real product is their cloud computing platform and the e-commerce platform they ‘sell' to third parties who use it to sell their goods.

Companies like Uber and Airbnb have further muddied the water. Industry pundits love to hold them out as shining examples of the tech company ethos that enterprise organizations must emulate - but should you?

Failing to Find the Real Transformation Story
As Intellyx president Jason Bloomberg discussed in his Forbes article, Top Five Enterprise Digital Mistakes, Uber and Airbnb have become poster children of the digital era mostly because they viscerally represent the threat of disruption to well established industries. "Wake up or you will be Uberized next!" cries the call to action.

Unquestionably, Uber and Airbnb operate like technology companies. They deliver a technology platform that disintermediates industries that were otherwise difficult to coalesce into a single addressable market. They removed inefficiency, provided simplified access to an otherwise dispersed set of assets and thus created a centralized market where one did not exist.

There are certainly other industries where these circumstances exist, but let's be clear: the whole world will not be Uberized.

As evidence of the new world order, pundits love to point out that Airbnb now has more rooms available than the largest hotel providers - yet they own no property. Recent analysis, however, shows that only approximately 43% of Airbnb listings are actually competitive to hotels. Moreover, Airbnb most likely represents no more than 15% of all rooms available worldwide - and probably much less.

There is already evidence that Airbnb's growth is cooling. This fact isn't surprising when you consider that there is a significant difference in the customer experience that Airbnb delivers versus that of a full-service hotel.

Airbnb, Uber and other paragons of the sharing economy are powerful examples that the digital era enables entirely new technology-powered customer experiences - but that is not the real digital transformation story.

The Goal: The Ubiquity & Transparency of Technology
It is easy for the promise of Uber and Airbnb to seduce - and frighten - business executives. It makes sense that they will use the tech company ethos as a rallying cry to inspire a transformational effort.

The problem, however, is that it puts the focus on the wrong thing - the technology - and surrenders their greatest potential competitive advantage: customer intimacy.

Most traditional enterprise organizations have risen to prominence based on their ability to connect with their customer's needs and desires. They should not suddenly abandon their rich history and recast themselves as tech companies.

In fact, they should do the opposite. Traditional enterprises must embrace their heritage, but see themselves in terms of the value they provide and the relationships they have with their customers - rather than the products they produce or the services they deliver.

The goal is not to become a tech company. The goal must be to embed technology so ubiquitously and so deeply within the culture and operating model of the company that it becomes transparent - allowing you to enhance the customer experience and deepen your relationships.

The challenge is that most traditional organizations have a self-view that is essentially synonymous with the product they sell or the service they provide. The required shift is not to become a tech company, but rather to make the organization synonymous with the value they provide and the relationship they create. The organization can only re-envision its business model from that perspective.

The real goal of digital transformation, therefore, is to leverage technology to reshape and enhance the value you deliver to your customers. Whether it leads to an entirely new business model or simply a better, technology-enhanced version of your existing one is immaterial. The objective is that technology becomes invisible to allow you to focus on how to create greater value for your customers.

The Intellyx Take
Calling yourself a tech company is expedient - but it is also misguided. In the digital era, every company that survives will have technology at the core of its business and operating model.

Business executives must lead the digital transformation of their organizations and be willing to re-envision how they operate on every level in order to remain relevant. But simply calling yourself a tech company will not be enough and is much more likely to demoralize your team rather than motivate them.

You must instead create a vision of something entirely new: a vision of your company that is exciting, modern and that feels at home in the future, but that respects your organization's storied history and deep customer relationships.

You must culturally and structurally transform your organization to compete in the digital era. You must embed technology and the digital ethos into the very core or your operating model. But you must also never forget that it is your unique ability to serve your customers that has been and will remain the driver of your success.

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
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership abi...
The essence of cloud computing is that all consumable IT resources are delivered as services. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, demonstrated the concepts and implementations of two important cloud computing deliveries: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). He discussed from business and technical viewpoints what exactly they are, why we care, how they are different and in what ways, and the strategies for IT to transi...
Interoute has announced the integration of its Global Cloud Infrastructure platform with Rancher Labs’ container management platform, Rancher. This approach enables enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation and infrastructure investments. Matthew Finnie, Interoute CTO commented “Enterprises developing and building apps in the cloud and those on a path to Digital Transformation need Digital ICT Infrastructure that allows them to build, test and deploy faster than ever before. The int...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
Niagara Networks exhibited at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, in November 2016. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you ...
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Virtualization over the past years has become a key strategy for IT to acquire multi-tenancy, increase utilization, develop elasticity and improve security. And virtual machines (VMs) are quickly becoming a main vehicle for developing and deploying applications. The introduction of containers seems to be bringing another and perhaps overlapped solution for achieving the same above-mentioned benefits. Are a container and a virtual machine fundamentally the same or different? And how? Is one techn...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
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.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
China Unicom exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, in November 2016. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE FDD, TD-LTE), fixed-line broadband, ICT, data communica...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, will discuss some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and relate how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material will be delivered i...
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...