Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Cloud Best Practices Network, Patrick Hubbard, XebiaLabs Blog

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
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
A producer of the first smartphones and tablets, presenter Lee M. Williams will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, COO of ETwater, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...