Is it time to swap digital transformation for perpetual innovation?

As the world takes on more digital attributes, customers’ expectations for new services, experiences and functionality keep on growing. Smartphones, a piece of daily tech that we all take for granted, is constantly requiring us to update and add more. This has become such a regular practice, that now, most pieces of software have taken on an expectation of becoming the best of the best. Even Amazon releases updates every 11 seconds! Therefore, with mounting pressure from consumers and a fiercer competition than ever before, businesses are looking for ways to digitally transform to create a competitive edge.

However, viewing digital transformation as the end goal can be dangerous for businesses. As companies reach the final stages of their digital transformation, firms become more vulnerable to competitors who are constantly pushing the boundaries and constantly looking for ways to shake up the market. As a result, enterprises need to change the way they view transformation, treating it as a constant process instead of an end goal. Continuous innovation can give a business the opportunity to adapt, evolve and drive forward change within their field and is the ideal state corporations should be striving to reach.

Replacing static infrastructure with cloud platforms

 Michael Allen, VP  (vice president) and EMEA (European, Middle East, and Africa) CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Dynatrace , a cloud software intelligence company, speaks of his opinion on the subject. He says that in order to achieve the perpetual innovation goal, firms must move beyond a static infrastructure. He adds that this is the reason there has been such a big focus on cloud migration in recent years. Allen comments: “Having a more dynamic, hybrid IT environment is crucial for driving continuous delivery of new products and services, as constant innovation requires a flexible and scalable IT ecosystem that can keep up with the pace of change. Cloud-native architectures built on microservices and containers foster faster development and deployment processes. This gives businesses the building blocks to enable perpetual innovation at the speed customers demand.”

The vice president goes on to talk about the complications that come with introducing hybrid cloud ecosystems to IT teams who don’t have the discernibility to identify root causes of performance difficulties impacting end users.

He says: “It’s impossible for humans to do this manually, so organisations will increasingly turn to AI to help IT teams identify problems, helping to prevent potential outages and mitigate the impact of performance problems on user experience. This helps organisations begin the journey to auto-remediation and, eventually, autonomous cloud operations – balancing the need to innovate quickly against maintaining user experience.”

But transferring workloads to the clouds is not a complete solution and moving to a more dynamic technology environment doesn’t automatically make a business agile. Once companies have full end-to-end visibility of their hybrid cloud environments, they must then look to alter the way that IT teams think to create a more agile, dynamic culture.

Equipping the innovation architects

 Allen also says: “This shift in mindset can be achieved through the adoption of DevOps, which allows organisations to achieve a more agile, collaborative culture by breaking down the silos that development and operations teams work in. This creates an environment where each team works towards shared goals on specific applications and services instead of broad functions. For companies looking to achieve perpetual innovation, DevOps must become more than just a cultural norm for IT teams. Instead, it should be seen as a crucial component in how the business operates.”

Building a DevOps culture encourages teams to be more confident in their code as well as helping the customer experience through improved performances. However, to achieve this, “DevOps teams need complete visibility into the impact of their code on performance. The collaborative culture means everyone has access to these insights, ensuring the whole team is working from a single source of business truth; one that is open and integrated into DevOps tool chains to drive improvements in the cycle of perpetual innovation,” says Allen.

The VP continues that BiZDevOps, an up and coming collaborative trend in the DevOps sector, brings together different initiatives and ideas from various areas and towards IT. This helps to power customer engagement and implement microservices, establishing a deeper cross-organisational focus and collaboration which creates greater overall improvements.

Take the leap

“Injecting a more dynamic IT environment and agile ways of working into a business can help IT teams to find new ways of solving challenges, drive innovation and enhance customer experience. In an era of constant change, the need for perpetual innovation is greater than ever. Businesses looking to maintain a competitive edge and keep up with customer demands need to take a leap to ensure they stay competitive.” The vice president added.

Allen believes that the initial step to take is migrating to the cloud to create a hybrid, dynamic environment that allows for rapid innovation. He says, “There must also be a change in mindset, combining new tools and systems with an entire overhaul of the way an organisation operates, creating an agile environment both technically and operationally. While this can be a huge adjustment and requires a constant turnover of new ideas, products and services, it is crucial to remaining competitive. But as they say, there’s no reward without risk.”

Original piece by Michael Allen, VP and EMEA CTO, Dynatrace