Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, John Esposito, Flint Brenton, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Blog Feed Post

Transforming Business Transformation with Cloud and Agile Architecture

post thumbnail

I had the distinct pleasure of attending Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent conference last week. AWS and 9,000 of their devoted followers, all drinking from the Amazon Cloud firehose. And while this heavily technical (and almost entirely male) crowd found Kinesis, WorkSpaces, and the new Postgres support to be the highlights of the news from AWS, my takeaway was different. The most important story from my perspective is how Amazon sees their Cloud transforming the enterprise.

AWS invented IaaS, remains the undisputed leader in the market, and their innovation culture continues to widen the lead between them and their competition. They’ve built a better mousetrap, and yes, people are beating a path to their door. The problem is, they’re not in the mousetrap business. They’re in the disruption business. Disruption was Bezos’s vision from day one, and this vision applies to AWS better than any other division at this point in time.

But the better Amazon is at IaaS, the more likely they are to lose sight of the real story of disruption. They’ve gotten so good at mousetraps they risk losing sight of the fact that this battle is about the mouse.

Rethinking Business Transformation

While Amazon is further ahead in their efforts to disrupt their customers’ business than their competition, this story is not really about Amazon. It’s the central business story of Cloud Computing in general, and more broadly speaking, the revolution I refer to in my book, The Agile Architecture Revolution. However, virtually all Cloud players, even AWS, don’t fully grasp the deeply transformative nature of the Cloud. Instead, they are caught in a bottom-up, tunnel vision perspective on business disruption.

Here’s how Amazon put it at re:Invent. By leveraging AWS, many of their customers can reduce product and technology lifecycles from weeks or months down to hours or minutes. This acceleration can increase customers’ agility. Use the Cloud to accelerate development and deployment. Use the Cloud for rapid prototyping. Use the cloud for continuous delivery. Disrupt IT purchasing, and in so doing, disrupt IT org charts. From there disrupt product development, and on up through the organization.

The technology-driven disruption story is unquestionably transformative. But all the Cloud players—both service providers as well as the software and hardware vendors—are missing critical elements of the big picture. From the perspective of the enterprise customer, the transformative nature of the Cloud is but one of many disruptions to the organization. There are global marketplace challenges, regulatory issues, organizational and process changes, as well as disruption across the breadth of IT, from the rise of mobile technologies to Cybersecurity to the Cloud. Cloud Computing is an important part of this story to be sure, but it is but one of many concerns facing the C suite.

Executives who are ill equipped to deal with so many disruptive forces in their business environment risk being swept away on a tide of change. It is no longer sufficient to expect such managers to respond to such challenges by making decisions based upon their experience – the traditional approach to management. Instead, they need a better way of dealing with disruption across the board.

Without a consistent, comprehensive, inherently dynamic, best practice approach for dealing with disruption, organizations will inevitably find that such disruption leads to chaos. The challenge, therefore, is to efficiently respond to the disruption and furthermore, leverage it for competitive advantage – which is how ZapThink defines business agility.

As ZapThink has discussed many times before, business agility is something the entire organization must exhibit. While technology is part of the story, business agility is never a technology problem with a technology solution. It’s a business transformation challenge requiring both organizational and technological change. But for such transformation to be successful, it must be top down, from the business environment to the strategy to the business outcomes, and then throughout the organization.

Agile Architecture to the Rescue

The missing link that connects bottom up to top down is the Agile Architecture I discuss in my book: an agile approach to Enterprise Architecture that drives continuous business transformation. Cloud is one of many essential enablers to this story, but Cloud alone can’t drive it.

Taking an Agile approach to architecture means tackling all levels of the architecture in an iterative fashion. Each iteration has a desired business outcome, and the architecture drives organizational, process, technology, and information hypotheses that form the inputs into the analysis.

Once the architecture determines the initial inputs, then we know what information to collect and analyze. That analysis leads to the appropriate policy changes that we expect will drive the desired outcome. Those policy changes are our recommendations. Executives and other stakeholders then attempt to put the policies into practice based upon the recommendations. After the appropriate time interval (which is also calculated from the architecture), we run a further analysis to see how well the desired outcome was met.

Based upon that analysis and including further information, we define the next outcome. The analysis then feeds back into the cycle, improving the policies and thus increasing the odds of achieving the next outcome, even as that outcome evolves over time. Note that should the recommendations be implemented improperly, that fact simply feeds into the next iteration. The goal is to create implementable recommendations that actually lead to the desired outcomes in practice, even as those outcomes evolve.

The goal of Agile Architecture is to enable continuous business transformation instead of the chaos that typically results from business and technology disruptions. And while this approach unquestionably qualifies as Enterprise Architecture (EA), it is different from other approaches to EA in that it doesn’t consider the purpose of EA to move the organization from an initial state to a final state. In reality there is no final state: no situation where the problems of the business have been solved. The fundamentally disruptive nature of the Cloud as well as the other forces of change impacting the organization prevent such a final state from being a realistic way of looking at the goal of EA. Instead, we move EA up a level, dealing with how the organizational, process, technology, and information elements of the enterprise change, rather than the various elements themselves.

The ZapThink Take

Cloud is not about better mousetraps. It’s about disrupting the entire enterprise. Such transformation is outrageously difficult, especially given that organizations want to end up with business agility rather than chaos. As AWS continues to penetrate the enterprise market, this central blind spot will become their greatest challenge: how to bring disruption to their customers without simply leading them into chaos? They must work to help transform their customers, but not the overly simplistic before-Cloud to after-Cloud transformation. Instead, this transformation story is from less agile to the more agile, moving from existing inflexible ways of doing business to a dynamic state of ongoing business transformation. But without Agile Architecture, this goal will continue to be out of reach.

Ironically, many players in the Cloud marketplace are experiencing this chaos first hand. Dell, HP, and VMware are currently struggling to reinvent themselves as Cloud disrupts their business models to the core. Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and IBM are experiencing the same chaos across large swaths of their business. Even Salesforce.com, a company born of the Cloud, is not without its own measure of chaos. How can these vendors ever hope to help their enterprise customers navigate the rapids of Cloud-driven disruption unless they can remain afloat themselves?

On the one hand, such chaos in the Cloud marketplace only paints Amazon as an even stronger leader, as disruption has been part of their DNA since their founding. But on the other hand, with success comes complacency. Amazon is so sure that they can build capabilities that will transform the enterprise that they may not adequately focus on disruption that leads to business agility instead of chaos. The more organizations adopt Cloud, the more chaos they will have to deal with. Who will help them get the architecture right, if not Amazon?

Image credit: w00kie

Read the original blog entry...

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).

@ThingsExpo Stories
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.