Paul Lewis

Digital Transformation:  Delivering Diversity with Agile IT (Diary of an newly minted Agile IT guy)

Blog Post created by Paul Lewis Employee on Jun 30, 2016



Monday (any given)


The real problem is that my job is now TOO easy.


A quick launch of the AWS Management Console, and I’ve already completed half my clicks to create and deploy a new set of services.  And the pricing?  Outstanding!  Pennies per month.  If I really wanted to make my days short, I would just give the application development team direct access to the portal.




Even when there is production problem, I know it’s much more likely to be the application and not the infrastructure considering how many hundreds of thousands of applications are installed and running perfectly fine in the various regions around the world.  I barely have to speak on the incident call.  Of course, I’m lucky. With only 7 discreet applications to manage, I can focus entirely on implementing as much agility as possible.


The best part?  I’m COMPLETELY involved in the Digital Transformation initiatives for my company.  Two of my applications are micro services to scrub the addresses of the existing client databases; surely they are directly aligned to the re-evaluation of the operational processes.  One application redirects mobile content to the back-end ERP; that smells of new customer experiences to me!  The last 4 services store, and archive a variety of documents Finance uses.  My gut tells me those document are reassessing the business models of the company.  100% aligned!


I’m just one guy though, and I *do* feel bad for the other 500 people my IT shop that have to deal with FAR more complex technology considerations.


You see, they have about 400 applications across dozens of platforms.  Sure, they’ve tried their best to STANDARDIZE on a few platforms, but we have a complex business with several lines-of-businesses and operate in more than a few countries.  Over the last series of acquisitions, the numbers of platforms have grown and the currency of each platform has declined.  What a nightmare!


Tuesday (the very next day)


The CEO and Ryann, our new Chief Digital Officer just reviewed the new Digital Transformation strategy with the entire company during the quarterly town hall.  It’s a little more complicated than I imagined.




Delivering new operational processes requires a MUCH deeper understanding of our parts logistics, manufacturing workloads and distribution channels than I imagined.  Creating new customer experiences is WAY more than just a new mobile app; we need deep insight into how our customers (and our customers’ customers) interact with us, and themselves.  And in terms of new business models?  A quick spreadsheet isn’t going to help.  The analytics and mathematics required might need a few PhD’s on the payroll.


Lleyton, the CIO, walked us through his new “Data Strategy for Digital Transformation”.  Fundamentally we are going to shift from managing applications to stewarding data for our organization. New capabilities will be created to management data, govern data, mobilize and analyse our data.



The business is complex, and now I understand why IT is so complex.  Four hundred highly integrated applications deliver waves of business value.  I can see that creating Agility in NEW workload pales in comparison in evolving EXISTING workloads into the same kind of Agility.


Wednesday (the next next day)


I wondered aloud in our operations team meeting about our plan to standardize and RAPIDLY move all of our existing applications to the Public Cloud….and the responses were quick and to the point from a chorus of professionals:


      • Very few of our applications are standalone, the VAST majority exist in an ecosystem of dozens:  It’s not a single move
      • Many of our applications were designed, coded and purposely deployed in mainframes, mini computers or traditional client server: It’s not a simple move
      • We need to comply to various legislative and regulatory considerations across geographies: It’s not a consistent move
      • Each line of business has different agility and economic needs: It’s not a single decision maker
      • Each application/workload has its limitations both technologically (without a rewrite) and economically (without someone paying for a rewrite):  It’s not a one-time expense


What became abundantly clear is that “moving to the Public Cloud” wasn’t a goal of IT.  The goal was to create and Agile IT Environment, that was AS DIVERSE as the data and applications we manage.  We needed to accommodate:


      1. Traditional, discipline based, data centres:  for applications that required close attention or was not economical to transition
      2. Private Clouds, both converged and non-converged (homogeneous technology):  for security/control and experimenting workloads
      3. Public Clouds, and Managed Private Clouds: for consuming SaaS applications
      4. Infrastructure provider: for DR or BCP reasons
      5. Management Provider: for accessing new skillsets




Four hundred applications will be deployed in a DIVERSIFIED set of deployment models to accommodate both the economic and agility requirements of each line of business.


Thursday (the day before Friday)


Obviously, one just doesn’t create a project to implement “agility”.


Business Agility requires IT Agility, and that’s delivered with a variety of people, process and technology changes.  Agility requires a new understanding of the impact of a DIVERSIFIED set of IT considerations:


      • Software Defined x:  Where software defines the personality of infrastructure.    Software allows the hardware to be accessed, controlled, and monitored.  Software defines, programmatically how applications are deployed and upgraded.  Software defines how development operates the infrastructure (DevOps).  Automation reduces the 17 steps from the IT Ops runbook, so that IT Ops becomes IT Engineering.
      • Convergence: Single integrated platform, with a single management interface, to implement the characteristics of Cloud. Add Flash to increase the performance to meet the needs of the application, or create economic tiers




…and not by yourself, but with trusted partners (because of course learning the new skills with PRACTICAL experience takes time).  There are very few partners that understand the complexity of diverse applications, diverse infrastructure and diverse deployment models.


Fortunately, the partnership of VMWare and Hitachi focuses on automating your road to IT agility reduces business risk through fast, fluid, elastic and enterprise resilience, modernizes the digital workplace for an enterprise class experience, and helps you to realize business efficiency.



It’s the only partnership that delivers the IT Agility of Public Cloud, across the DIVERSITY of an enterprise IT environment:




Friday (yes, THE Friday)


And how am I, a newly minted IT professional going to learn about this new IT perspective?  Why VMWorld of course!


I know I’ll be there, I have to be: