Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Automic Blog, Elizabeth White, Nate Vickery

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).

@CloudExpo Stories
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone in...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices t...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
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, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...