Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo, @DevOpsSummit

@ThingsExpo: Article

Moving Deck Chairs on the Titanic? | @CloudExpo #IoT #DigitalTransformation

Today inflexibility is the difference between ongoing viability and a lifespan that will be nasty, brutish, and short

Every generation, it seems, sports its own business transformation du jour. From Business Process Reengineering (BPR) to the Quality Movement to eBusiness to name a few, organizations large and small have sought to improve their profits, lower their costs, and keep their customers happy by shaking up the way they do things.

Digital transformation is unquestionably a blisteringly hot topic across enterprises today. Companies in every industry have fallen into the vast digital maelstrom, as customer demands and software innovation form the Scylla and Charybdis that threaten to sink even the largest, most venerable brands.

And yet, we've been down this road before - not so much the digital part, but certainly the transformation part. After all, digital transformation is business transformation, and business transformation has been a management consulting staple since Frederick Taylor at the very least.

Every generation, it seems, sports its own business transformation du jour. From Business Process Reengineering (BPR) to the Quality Movement to eBusiness to name a few, organizations large and small have sought to improve their profits, lower their costs, and keep their customers happy by shaking up the way they do things.

While each of these business transformation fads delivered value in its time, in the wisdom of hindsight they all ran up against the same basic challenge: inflexibility.

BPR improved efficiency but led to inflexible processes. Quality efforts like Six Sigma reduced defects but "poured concrete" around processes, thus impeding innovation. And the eBusiness wave got enterprises online to be sure, but it didn't take long until architectural and legacy technology challenges limited their flexibility.

Small vs. Large Transformation
The common thread across all these transformation efforts is that they all fall into the finite change trap. As I explained in an earlier Cortex, a finite change has a well-defined starting and ending point. If the change in question is a business transformation, and you approach the effort with the idea that at some point you'll have successfully transformed, then you're falling into this trap.

Trap it may be, but enterprises have an annoyingly regular habit of falling into the same trap every time a new business transformation comes along. If each successive wave of transformation suffers from the same failings, you might wonder why organizations continue to hit their head against the same wall.

The answer, in fact, is that such transformations do provide value - often substantial, long-term strategic value. After all, the Quality Movement improved the quality of US automobiles nearly to the level of their Japanese counterparts, and no one would argue that the Web has been enormously successful and transformative for enterprises in all industries. Further examples are also easy to come by.

Regardless of these successes, let's call such transformation efforts small transformations, because executives at the time shoehorned them into a finite change model, and thus the end result was that their organizations remained inflexible, in spite of the improvements they realized.

Today's digital transformations, unfortunately, almost always fall prey to this same shortsightedness, and end up in the category of small transformation. How can you tell? If your digital transformation effort has a goal, where reaching that goal means you can think of yourself as digitally transformed, then you're undergoing small digital transformation.

As with earlier generations of business transformation, small digital transformation will provide business value - so at least on the surface, small digital transformation may seem like a good idea.

Don't be fooled. True, most digital transformation today is of the small variety, and such efforts will deliver occasional successes, especially when the competition is only doing small digital transformation themselves.

But for industry segments caught in this trap, the participants are all spending their time moving the deck chairs around. The ship, however, is sinking.

Why Digital Transformation Is Different
Enterprises were largely okay with the inflexibility inherent in previous business transformations, because everyone was in the same boat, and furthermore, some other wave of improvement-promising transformation was bound to come along in a while in any case.

The reason this line of thinking worked at all was because the underlying disruptions driving the transformation called for finite change. Your products were of poor quality, so bringing the quality up to snuff fixed the problem. You weren't online, so building your online presence again solved the problem, and so on.

What is now traditional change management was sufficient for moving organizations from the status quo to the finished state. A lack of flexibility was an affordable price to pay for the improvements they gained from the transformation.

Not so with digital transformation. Today the changes we must deal with are accelerating and chaotic changes more so than finite ones (terms I also define in my previous Cortex newsletter). In other words, change ain't what it used to be.

All the management fads of the past are woefully inadequate to deal with such change. As a result, small digital transformations will only provide value short term, until the accelerating turbulence in the broader business environment chucks those deck chairs into the sea like so much chaff in the wind.

Agile Digital Transformation: Digital Transformation in the Large
To survive such turbulence, organizations must think about digital transformation differently - what we might refer to as large digital transformation. Large digital transformation is the Agile Digital Transformation Intellyx has been discussing all along - the transformation in our Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster (available for free download) as well as my forthcoming book, Agile Digital Transformation.

Organizations that succeed with large digital transformation realize that the change they must deal with is accelerating and chaotic, and thus change must become a core competency in their organization. Such transformation is more than simply dealing with the changes the market is driving today. It means dealing with the fact that change is ongoing, unpredictable, and only getting worse.

As a result, inflexibility is becoming an increasingly serious liability. Unlike the BPR and Six Sigma days, inflexibility is no longer a tolerable but necessary evil. Today it's the difference between ongoing viability and a corporate lifespan that will be increasingly nasty, brutish, and short.

Recognizing the Difference
If you're currently in the midst of your own digital transformation, you may be wondering if it's the large or the small variety. Sorry to disappoint - it's far more likely to be small digital transformation.

Large digital transformation, in fact, isn't solely digital transformation at all, as it goes well beyond the current wave of change driving investment today. Large transformation is a transformation of how organizations undergo transformations - how they deal with change overall.

If you think that small digital transformation will be good enough, look no further than the Innovator's Dilemma. You can think of the Innovator's Dilemma as being a systemic problem with small transformation, as established organizations deal with change on an ongoing basis, but still fall prey to the disruptive change innovative competitors can bring to the market.

In other words, once you get your head around what large transformation is, you can interpret the moral of the Innovator's Dilemma as the fact that large transformation is essential to the long-term success of organizations in times of accelerating and chaotic change.

The Intellyx Take
Let's use the upcoming rollout of fifth generation (5G) mobile telephony as an example of accelerating and chaotic change. As I wrote in a recent article for Forbes, 5G promises up to 100 times greater speed, latency cut by a factor of 5, and data volumes up to 1,000 times greater than the current 4G standard.

Those metrics are examples of accelerating change - beyond finite change, but not the whole story. What 5G will do to existing enterprise business models falls into the category of chaotic change. We simply don't know how 5G will impact business at large - but it's a good bet the effects will be earth-shattering.

So, how does 5G factor into your current digital transformation initiative? If your answer is that 5G is too far in the future or too nebulous for your current initiative to take it into account, then you can rest assured you are in the midst of a small digital transformation.

You may complete the effort, and then 5G will arrive and BAM! You won't know what hit you. All that work and now you'll have to scramble to make sense of the new business/technology environment.

Organizations undergoing large - that is, Agile Digital Transformation will be thinking quite differently. The question for them isn't whether 5G is part of their current digital roadmap or not. Instead, the question is whether their organization and their enterprise architecture are able to deal with unpredictable, chaotic change.

Let's hope your answer to that question is yes. If it is, then it won't matter what the future throws at you - 5G or any other disruption. Making change a core competency is the only way to futureproof your organization in the face of chaos.

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 a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

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), and several software and web development positions.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
Contextual Analytics of various threat data provides a deeper understanding of a given threat and enables identification of unknown threat vectors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Dufour, Head of Security Architecture, IoT, Webroot, Inc., discussed how through the use of Big Data analytics and deep data correlation across different threat types, it is possible to gain a better understanding of where, how and to what level of danger a malicious actor poses to an organization, and to determin...