Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Chris Colosimo, Yeshim Deniz, Jim Hansen, Elizabeth White, Jyoti Bansal

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Times of Digital Disruption | @CloudExpo #IoT #AI #ML #DigitalTransformation

IT must become the business

First came Data Processing (DP), as massive, arcane behemoths of computers crunched numbers for select enterprises and government agencies. DP evolved into Information Systems (IS) and in turn, Management Information Systems (MIS). Next up: Information Technology (IT) and its cousin, Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

As the corporate department responsible for enterprise technology evolved, so too did the title of the executive in charge, eventually settling on the Chief Information Officer (CIO) - in spite of the fact that CIOs are rarely if ever in charge of an organization's information per se.

Throughout these changes, the role of the organization we now label IT has evolved, and with it, the focus of the CIO. Today, with digital transformation upending the status quo across the entire enterprise, IT is transforming once again.

Given its history, then, what will the IT organization become as digital transformation works its magic? And correspondingly, what is the new role for the CIO - assuming we'll even need a CIO in the digitally transformed future?

The First Three Roles for IT
To make sense of the role the digitally transformed IT organization must play, it's essential to review the roles that IT has served over its history - not only to understand the past as prologue, but also because each of these roles remains part of the story.

In other words, each role layers on top of the previous ones, adding complexity to an already complex organization. These layers of complexity, of course, are high on our priority list of things we'd love to transform.

The first role for IT - the most universal of all the roles - is IT as cost center.

Of everything an enterprise does, the traditional reasoning goes, some things bring in the bucks and some don't. IT is firmly in the second camp, consisting entirely of overhead.

As a result, the CIO's primary role is cost containment. Do more with less is the mantra - and when times are tight, it becomes do less with less. Little if any of the IT budget is earmarked for innovation.

Layered on top of the cost center role is role #2: IT as service provider. True, IT costs are still overhead, but the CIO's focus shifts from managing costs to serving the business.

Interactions between IT and the rest of the business become service interactions - often leveraging a ticket-based service management system where people ask IT for services and then wait in line to get them.

For the CIO, the service provider role has clear advantages over the cost containment role, as the value IT provides to the business is now quantifiable. As long as the IT organization can innovate in order to provide better service, the reasoning goes, then the CIO is likely to be able to justify the additional expense.

However, CIOs still struggle with the service provider role, because it is entirely tactical. To warrant the ‘C' in the CIOs title - C as in C-level - the CIO must have a strategic role in the business.

That's where the third role for IT comes in: IT as partner with the business. The C-suite finally recognizes that IT is strategically important to the enterprise, and as a result, invites the CIO to join in as a full-fledged member.

Sounds good, right? CIOs who have truly reached the lofty heights of the strategic C-suite may finally feel they have reached the pinnacle of their careers as CIO.

But - and this is a big but to be sure - partnering with the business is no longer good enough. In fact, it's a dot-com era holdover, from when organizations first came to realize that the Internet and the Web in particular were strategic assets.

True, the Internet opened the C-suite door for many CIOs, and today, the enterprises that survived the dot-com boom and bust are the ones that got the Internet right. Kudos to them.

But digital transformation represents the next generation of change. Partnering with the business won't cut it anymore.

The Multifaceted Nature of Digital Transformation
Compared to digital transformation, the Internet revolution was decidedly one-dimensional: either you got the Web or you didn't.

In contrast, the IT-related transformations enterprises are facing today are numerous, complex, and intertwined. Four component transformations in particular are worth calling out.

We have the move to the cloud, transforming how enterprises deploy, pay for, and manage their IT assets.

We have the rise of mobile technologies, changing how customers (and everyone else) interacts with businesses, and as a result, transforming what customers expect from the companies they interact with.

Add to this mix: Software-Defined Everything (SDX). Combining the last decade's principles of Model-Driven Architecture with the technical advances in Software-Defined Networking, we're increasingly able to represent our technology infrastructure as software models. Deploy or redeploy any aspect of our technology, from our network to our applications, with a push of a button.

The Fourth Role for IT
Perhaps most important for understanding the new role for IT, however, is the advent of DevOps. By leveraging the power of Software-Defined Infrastructure, developers, ops personnel, and testers have hammered out entirely new ways of building and deploying software.

And now, the DevOps virus is spreading, infecting the entire enterprise with new ways of organizing itself along horizontal, self-organizational lines.

If we extend these trends into the future, it becomes clear that the entire idea of an IT department as a separate organizational silo within a hierarchically-organized enterprise is becoming obsolete - because hierarchical organizational models themselves do not support the business agility enterprises need to remain competitive in the face of the multifaceted disruption that characterizes today's software-driven business environment.

As a result, digital transformation represents a rethink of enterprise organization from hierarchical and top-down to horizontal and self-organized. DevOps represents early steps to this vision, and SDX is what will make the change practical and cost-effective.

The fourth role for IT, therefore, is for IT to become the business. Every part of the organization, regardless of the nature of the business, becomes software-empowered. Business operations (the role of the COO) and technical operations (the ops part of today's CIO role) become one and the same.

We must still manage technology costs, serve users, and partner with lines of business - but none of these roles alone or taken together tell the story of how fundamentally and comprehensively digital transformation impacts the IT organization and its leadership.

The Intellyx Take
Even though our vision of IT becoming the business is unquestionably bold, don't fall for the straw-man trap of concluding that the digitally transformed enterprise doesn't need an IT effort at all. That fallacious conclusion aligns more with the early, cost center role for IT, reducing costs to zero by extinguishing the department altogether. Clearly, reaching that conclusion is entirely disingenuous.

The reality is subtler and more profound. This transformation, in fact, shakes the C-suite to its core, as the point of the C-suite today is to be the top of the hierarchical pyramid that represents how every large organization structures itself. Do away with the hierarchy, and corporate leadership must transform accordingly - and with it, the role of the CIO.

What will such a digitally transformed enterprise look like? We don't really know, as we only have glimpses as organizations progress along their digital transformation roadmaps.

Remember, however, digital transformation has no end state. For change to become a core competency, today's enterprises will always be in flux - and the ones that embrace that disruption will be the only survivors.

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. Image credit: Energy.gov.

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at 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. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
Deep learning has been very successful in social sciences and specially areas where there is a lot of data. Trading is another field that can be viewed as social science with a lot of data. With the advent of Deep Learning and Big Data technologies for efficient computation, we are finally able to use the same methods in investment management as we would in face recognition or in making chat-bots. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Gaurav Chakravorty, co-founder and Head of Strategy Development ...
"Peak 10 is a national cloud data center solutions managed services provider, and part of that is disaster recovery. We see a growing trend in the industry where companies are coming to us looking for assistance in their DR strategy," stated Andrew Cole, Director of Solutions Engineering at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum 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, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
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.
Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at 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. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
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 ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.