Monday, December 16, 2013

Heed the Role of Dev/Ops - Another Proxy for Industry Revolution

My postings are centered on the shifting sands of the outsourcing and shared services industries.  So, why is the title of this one promoting a little-known role in the bathwater of corporate organizations?
It’s a matter of symptom and significance.

Two weeks ago I wrote about The Outsourcing Industry’s Need for Renewed Relevance.  Last week the topic that motivated me was Overcoming Inertia.
I try, to the best of my ability, to share observations that are grounded in reality.  Not wishes and hopes, but facts of substance and significance.

There’s a thesis at the center of my “world view” that says companies are moving to “spot buying” of services, and unifying these service providers through platforms that provide the framework for scalable business.  I’ve seen a few progressive companies run ahead of the pack with this strategy, and more than a few innovators bring essential components of this strategy to the market.
Amazon Web Services Elastic Beanstalk is a utility perfectly suited to enabling applications being provisioned “as a service” at the whim of a savvy enterprise architect.

Companies like Gravitant are positioned to enable the brokerage of the provisioning process.
I spent time last week with a progressive CIO of a major US energy utility.  His top three issues:

1)     Engineering a services integration framework to allow for modular provisioning of business services;
2)     Enabling acquisitions and divestitures much more efficiently, predictably, and cost-effectively; and
3)     Helping to devise new sources of revenue through monetizing the “big data” that is the exhaust from his core business.
I shared with him my observation of ROIC as a key proxy for efficiency and a lever for driving the restructure of legacy business models – beyond the back-office.  He was intrigued and readily agreed that executives remain focused on ROIC as a measure of strategic performance.  He also validated that the cost-cutting which occurred during the recession has emasculated any capacity for innovation or even organic growth.

As the tides turn, companies will need to support growth by finding new ways to provision the basic operating capacity that sustains day-to-day business.

Hence, the emergence of the Dev/Ops role in the enterprise.  I view this to be just as significant an indicator of the shifting sands in our industry.
If you haven’t yet encountered a Dev/Ops persona, you may be bewildered.  A great description of the role is found here.

Companies that are committed to breaking through the status quo, determined to behave with a sense of energy and urgency, and embracing the “as a service” mantra … those are the companies that are empowering the Dev/Ops community.
Agility, speed to capability, surviving chaos … those are the attributes of a business model attuned to operating in the “as a service” economy.  Does your outsourcing or shared services operation feel like a Dev/Ops environment?  Heed the role of the connector-of-dots.


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