A Story of DevOps >> Episode 10. The Suit (Digital Transformation)

‘Digital Transformation’ – what is this? I am not sure I have found a particularly satisfying definition of this (similar to DevOps, in a way) but these two words are hitting the streets of the CIO in a big way bringing with it confusion and chaos.

Dare I take this subject. Not on my own. However, with the help of my esteemed colleague Harvey Neve, we would like to have a go.

Tech Specs

Iron Man is the name of the suit of armor developed by Tony Stark created with the help of Ho Yinsen as a means of escaping captivity in Afghanistan. Once he got back home, he perfected the armor using the vast resources of his former weapons factory Stark Industries.

Tony took the name “Iron Man” after the suit of armor he built and wore.

There have been 42 iterations of the suit. Mark 1 was crude and made with what was available with equipment such as a manual rocket launcher, flamethrower and jet boots. This is a vast contrast to Mark 42 which attaches to the nervous system and boasts a plasma-penetrating Unibeam, tactical weaponry, remote control, self-repair, advanced repulsion, armour separation upgrades and water resistance amongst many other features.

https://youtu.be/pa7BBLAL1i0

However, the suit is not fully exploitable without Digital capabilities. Some of these capabilities include:

  • Data storage and analysis from both the sensors in the suit and from external sources
  • Mobile integration to send and receive voice, video and multi-media calls and messages
  • Information access via computing, tablet, phone and HUD capabilities with seamless integration of information between all devices
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Satellite secure connectivity
  • Self-Diagnostics, self-heal capabilities with debugging and logging capabilities
  • Artificial Intelligence through J.A.R.V.I.S. Amazon Alexa has nothing on J.A.R.V.I.S. yet. J.A.R.V.I.S brings all the information and real-time situational analysis together with Tony’s intelligence and controls all devices and security

The key here is that without the right data and technology (which incidentally needs to built to extremely high standards, with continuous evolution based on the nature of threat, suit capability and user feedback) Stark cannot use the capabilities of the suit to full effect.

https://youtu.be/Zg_nD_x0bgM

Digital

Organisations are facing the same challenge – your nature of threat is changing all the time, your market is being infiltrated with new products constantly, customer experience is king, you have petabytes of data which demands some order to make effective decisions and competition is rampant and global. Your competitors are underpinned by high quality technology which seamlessly integrates data from all sources, with new features being deployed every week or every day and they are building solutions for all scenarios on all platforms – and they are going crazy by integrating all this with advanced artificial intelligence which becomes the ‘best friend’ of the customer and the organisation.

Business forecasts, market prediction, stock replenishment, process automation, self-heal and strategic pivoting are done in hours and minutes instead of months and weeks.

Where do you start? What chance to you have? Who is trying to sell you a technology that will solve all this for you. What solution can possibly interface with your organisation’s Nervous System as J.A.R.V.I.S does with Stark?

DevOps

This brings me back to DevOps – is it important that we have a culture within our organisation where high performance IT teams can build, deploy and support high quality software with continuous release of evolving features that are needed to respond to forever changing world and to do this at breath taking velocity that leaves the competition standing?

Yes?

Stark realised this and from the Mk 1 Minimum Viable Product, he build 42 iterations, each evolving with continuous learning, experimentation and in response to the evolving threat with no view of finishing. He didn’t work alone and had support from J.A.R.V.I.S and the team. If you have seen the films, Stark has no issue in experimenting and failing (like in the video above) with an appetite for risk (albeit perhaps slightly too much appetite). He has a balanced working team with Pepper, Rhodey and J.A.R.V.I.S. Working together towards the common mission, a team of people with different strengths and the right behaviours who have masters of their environment, iterate the development of the Iron Man suit and with the sacrificial and determined leadership of Tony Stark, despite the odds, to save the world on many occasions.

Like Iron Man is to Stark, we all need to put our Digital Transformation to our Users. Put the user first, consider the user persona and journey and build the technology around them.

More in this series #AStoryof DevOps:

#AStoryofDevOps #DevOps #IronMan

Raj Fowler

I am a natural, enthusiastic and authentic leader who understands the impact of IT as a differentiator for business performance and how organisational culture directly influences IT and business performance. With a strong appreciation of the changing technology environment, I have spearheaded a transformation of organisational ‘ways of working’ through adoption of the philosophies and principles that underpin DevOps, Agile and Lean. As a result, I have a track record of delivering operational excellence whilst improving IT agility, security and responsiveness enabled through close business relationships, technology-led thinking and inspirational leadership. 3 years ago we delivered about 50 to 100 changes per annum across about 80 business systems, all of which we managed using our standard plan, build and operate practices. Change was difficult and the transition from project to service was painful. I lived the opening chapters of the Phoenix Project on a regular basis. I now manage over 100 business systems and we categorised 7 of these as Products which include ServiceNow, Salesforce, Cognos, SuccessFactors, SharePoint. SAP and Bespoke Applications where we have established Product Teams. These are teams that build and support Product using DevOps philosophies. As a result, we delivered over 2500 changes last year whilst at the same time improving the service by 30%, improving customer satisfaction and employee morale. Using the "you build it, you support it" (Amazon) mentality, change is no longer a big event but a normal everyday occurrence and the usual spikes of incidents are no longer there, in fact with each change we deploy, the incident volumes reduce! Teams are not only delivering new features but are cleaning up their code and removing technical debt with every release. As a result, we have made a significant impact to the efficiency of our internal functions which in turn helps the competitiveness and profitability of the enterprise.

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