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What’s happening in Digital Transformation - June 2017

mikeshaw747

Continuing my periodic posts on what's happening in the news.

 This time, it's Digital Transformation in general.


How the Growth Outliers Do It

https://hbr.org/2012/01/how-the-growth-outliers-do-it

For me, this is a key piece of research. It shows that companies that consistently grow year after year all share a certain way of working. They take a lot of “experimental innovating steps”.

This research was done prior to the digital transformation revolution. So, while digital transformation demands continuous, experimental innovation, it looks like this is a good way of working anyway.


Why a strong business/IT relationship matters

https://www.capgemini-consulting.com/resource-file-access/resource/pdf/the-it-business-symphony.pdf

Public cloud means we can ignore IT, right? Actually, no.

This report from Cap-Gemini shows that those companies that have a strong business/IT relationship are much more successful in their digital transformation efforts.

I’m noticing a trend. I’ve been talking to customers about digital transformation for about two years now. When I started out, it was very much about “business going it alone”. The business talked about how IT was too slow, too inflexible and the like.

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But what I’ve noticed of late is too things.

1. Firstly, IT is “catching up”. They are getting faster by doing things like putting in place private cloud. They are learning about the “cool OpenSource” that digital transformation developers need - Docker, Mesosphere, Tensorflow, Spark, Spark ML, etc.
2. And secondly, the business is realising that “doing this app dev stuff” isn’t quite as easy as it looked. Yes, it’s easy to create an app on your own. But then you have to think about the elements of control that a business-grade app requires - continuous compliance monitoring, security, data backup and recovery, data sovereignty, and assurance of availability and performance. Many business IT teams are realising IT actually knows about all this stuff.


An operating model for company-wide agile development

http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/business-technology/our-insights/an-operating-model-for-company-wide-agile-development

Whenever I take part in digital transformation roundtables with customers, I rarely hear, “we have this technical problem”. What I hear all the time is, “product management doesn’t understand how agile and continuous innovation work - and we need them to” or “management isn’t measuring us in the right way for continuous innovation” or “funding is done on an annual basis. That doesn’t work for continuous innovation”.

This article from McKinsey goes into some of these issues.


How enterprise architects can help ensure success with digital transformations

http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/business-technology/our-insights/how-enterprise-architects-can-help-ensure-success-with-digital-transformations

I believe that app development is different in a world of digital. Gone are the 18 month, $24m projects where the business is asked what it wants and a bunch of coders go away and “create what business asked for”, only to discover that actually the business didn’t want what’s been built, and anyway, the market, the customers and technology have moved on in the intervening two years.

Continuous innovation is the name of the game. Lots of small experimental steps. This is, of course, what agile and continuous delivery (devops) is all about.

And in order to make these continuous, experimental digitally-transformation steps, I believe a key step is to put in place the platforms that enable this.

Another change that’s occurring in app dev is that the money and work is being increasingly done by the business. In order ensure the control over compliance security, data sovereignty, data backup and recovery and availability and performance, these new business IT developers need platforms that deliver all the control required, while allowing them to “fearlessly innovate”.

And (and now I’m getting to point of why this article is important), these platforms need to be architected by Enterprise Architects. So, I think that the role of Enterprise Architects is to specify the platforms that allow Enterprise IT, business and CDO app developers and data scientists to continuously, experimentally innovate.


What So Many Strategists Get Wrong About Digital Disruption

https://hbr.org/2017/01/what-so-many-strategists-get-wrong-about-digital-disruption

This is a very, very, very insightful article. I didn’t realise when I first read it just how insightful it is. But as “the digital revolution” has continued, its insights have played out.

1. Winner doesn’t take all. The theory is that digital has global reach and so, one a new, highly competitive new digital offering exists, it will sweep all before it. This is rarely happening

2. Digital technology typically compliments, it doesn’t replace. This is my personal favourite. Has Airbnb replaced the hotel? No - and in cities like London, Airbnb and hotels have enjoyed a rise in business. Have e-books replace physical books? No - in the UK, e-books have settled at about 29% of total book sales. Have online grocery sales taken over? No - we now have a hybrid model. And one that is very relevant to HPE - will public cloud wipe out on premises computing? I really, really don’t believe so - like with most other instances of digitization, we’ll end up with a hybrid model. (All that said, some digital technologies do replace. Physical photography, Video rental.) Anyway, main point is, we shouldn’t assume that a digital technology will kill the existing technology. In fact, it’s much more useful to ask, “what will the hybrid mix be? Can we take advantage of a hybrid world?”. It’s these questions that lead retailers to rightly favour omni-channel retailing.

3. Geography still matters. In other words, a physical presence can matter. Amazon opening stores, who would have predicted that? Again, it’s down to “hybrid mix”. Can you use a mix of digital and “physical” to get the best mix for the customer? For example, we have a John Lewis store near us (John Lewis is a high-end retailer in the UK). This store is actually a showroom masquerading as a store - there is little to actually buy, but you can see the things that you then order either in store or on the web.

4. The world is not speeding up. There is a perception that the world is speeding up. Products are coming out faster. Trends are coming and going faster. The Economist (a publication in the UK with a nice “hybrid” mix of paper or/and tablet version) did extensive research on this and found that, in most cases, the world if business isn’t speeding up at all. I guess the consequence of this is “calm down and take your time”. I think that business managers are panicked into knee-jerk reactions because they perceive that speed is everything.

I think that this article is a very useful thing to arm yourself with when people run into your office in a state of panic shouting, “we’re going to be wiped out by <digital competitor X>” :-)



Mike Shaw
Director Strategic Marketing
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

twitter.gif @mike_j_shaw
linkedin.gif Mike Shaw

 

Mike Shaw
Director Strategic Marketing

twitter.gif@mike_j_shaw
linkedin.gifMike Shaw

About the Author

mikeshaw747

Mike has been with HPE for 30 years. Half of that time was in research and development, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, strategic marketing. .

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