Back in the early 2000s Microsoft had the slogan “do more for less, faster.” In those days, it was all about using Microsoft .Net development tools, office products, collaboration solutions and a wide range of partner developed applications running on ubiquitous Microsoft desktop and server operating systems. Eventually, Microsoft started to understand that they needed to articulate the benefits of what they were providing in language most executives understood. They also realised that they needed to reassure the IT department about security, resilience and the ability to integrate with existing legacy systems. Then, business leaders could focus on driving growth and profitability without constantly questioning what It was doing for them.
A technology “Tower of Babel”
In 2017 agility, velocity and scalability are the buzz-words beguiling business leaders with a new vision of doing more (different things) for less, faster. The problem is that the technology, and the words used to describe it, have changed out of all recognition. In the blink of an eye we have gone from applications, to apps, to micro-services. Servers can be bare metal, virtualised or containerised. Computing can be hyper-converged, disaggregated, even “serverless”. Development environments have become platforms, delivered as a service. The whole IT environment now needs orchestration rather than management.
I could go on.
The point is that, in the excitement of this new, fast moving technology environment the developers and vendors seem to have forgotten that there are business people out there who need to understand what the business benefits and risks before buying into these new technologies and approaches.
Balancing opportunity and risk
Clearly, there are some significant benefits of taking advantage of new technologies and development methodologies. In previous articles, we have focused on the benefits of moving to a DevOps approach. The latest Puppet State of DevOps Report for 2017 shows that, consistently over the last 4 years, organisations with high performing DevOps teams have been twice as likely to achieve, or exceed financial and operational objectives as organisations with low performing teams.
As ever, there are also potential risks moving to new technologies and adopting new ways of working. A fascinating insight from the Puppet report shows that, while the gap between high and low performing organisations is narrowing when it comes to the volume and speed of deploying new functionality, the gap relating to stability of releases and time to recover in the event of a failure is increasing. Faster is not necessarily better. It would be interesting to know if speed over quality was a factor in the length of time it took British Airways to recover from their recent outage.
Cost is another factor that is not quite as straightforward as some of the headlines would have you believe. Certainly, there is a huge cost advantage to be gained by moving to the Cloud and implementing DevOps. However, there comes a point where a public cloud, like AWS, becomes much more expensive than some form of private, or hybrid-cloud. Similarly, there are legacy apps that just don’t lend themselves to being moved to the Cloud, whatever some of the technology vendors might say.
Plain English for clarity
At Percipience, we know the importance of starting with your business objectives and showing you how and where technology can be applied for competitive advantage.
We can act as a translator, helping you understand, in plain English, what these new technologies do and what benefits they will bring to your business. If you are confused by all the technology jargon and concerned you might not realise the potential benefits that appear to be there for the taking, get in touch. We can help clarify what needs prioritising.