Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez

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
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
"DX encompasses the continuing technology revolution, and is addressing society's most important issues throughout the entire $78 trillion 21st-century global economy," said Roger Strukhoff, Conference Chair. "DX World Expo has organized these issues along 10 tracks with more than 150 of the world's top speakers coming to Istanbul to help change the world."
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, 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 Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
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, discussed 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.
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, 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. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at 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. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global 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. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" 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. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global 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. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.