Latest Digital Transformation Opinions
In a recent article, I wrote about the amazing customer experiences to be had in airports such as Changi and ways to enable that customer experience. Here, I propose to extend my stopover by looking at what goes on landside, rather than airside, and how one carrier is leading the way in using the latest digital tools to reimagine operations.
Just as Changi embodies how airport operators are reworking the customer experience, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is a template for how smart use of data, communications and infrastructure can reinvent the back-end processes that enable passengers to move swiftly from point A to B.
“Making good business decisions is a critical part of every executive’s job and is vital to every company’s well-being.” So says McKinsey and Co, in an article on the importance of decision-making. It’s undeniable that being able to take action rapidly is the difference between success and failure in today’s markets – consider how many once-leading businesses have atrophied as their ability to make the right decisions has diminished.
Yet knowing what to do is hard, doubly so when you consider the amount of information we are all assailed with on a day-to-day basis. How can anyone make definitive decisions when faced with so many choices, so much data?
Just about every business today relies on people who write code. The problem is that hiring good developers is difficult. It may even be the most difficult thing a business will do.
The reason developer hiring is such an important topic (and something many businesses find challenging) is that unlike many other professions, good developers can be many times more productive than their peers.
While disconnected, siloed working doesn’t always lead to explosive Martian mishaps, it is certainly increasingly incompatible with our hyper-connected, digitally transformed realities. Innovation and progress have the best chance to succeed when inter-team alignment is constant, and everyone is relentlessly, continually engaged in collaborative dialogue. This is exactly why DevOps methodologies are having such an influential impact on software development right now, bringing development and operations teams together to produce the best possible outcomes. Much has been written about the technical aspects of DevOps but, regrettably, less attention has been spent on championing the fundamental soft skills that make it so powerful.
On the face of it, there is little to unite the construction and tech sectors. Superficially at least, the construction sector provides a classic example of ‘waterfall management’: strict plans are formed at the outset of a project, and resources are fixed in place, even though the finished product might be three years away. It is a right-first-time, zero defects sector with detailed dependency scheduling. The tech sector, by contrast, is known for its not-afraid-to-fail, agile mindset, eschewing scheduling for creativity. Tech and construction, then, would certainly appear to be strange bedfellows. Times are changing. The proliferation of Building Information Management platforms on construction sites up and down the country neatly demonstrates that tech really can be embedded into the foundations of a building, and by extension, the construction sector. But how do we further embed the two, often conflicting, cultures?
In a world where one data breach is all it takes to destroy a business, only the prepared and vigilant ones that embrace security in their operations will survive.
Yet, for many organisations, successfully integrating security into the software delivery lifecycle is still a huge obstacle. As illustrated in this year’s Puppet’s State of DevOps Report, which revealed that only 22 percent of companies at the highest level of security integration have reached an advanced stage of DevOps maturity. Delivering innovation shouldn’t result in the need to compete head-to-head with safeguarding customer data.
While there is a myriad of security practices and solutions in the market, why is it so hard to integrate security into software development?
These days, asking an IT leader to explain their digital transformation strategy to you can be enough to cause them to tense up and begin to sweat. But why is this?
The term ‘digital transformation’ has been used so widely and often over the past couple of years, that it’s becoming to be known merely as another buzzword. Forrester has even gone as far to describe is as a term that has, “come to mean so many things that it’s almost meaningless” – but digital transformation is still very real, with Gartner suggesting that 79 percent of corporate strategists believe it is “reinventing their business”. And, as it is behind the amount of change in the global economy, these days, you’d be pushed to find an organisation that doesn’t have some sort of digital transformation roadmap.
Microservices are hot right now. IT colleagues I talk with are excited about their potential, and thought leaders in various industries are speculating about their transformative power – and with good reason. Used effectively, microservices have the capacity to improve the flexibility and scalability of many software-based applications.
However, they’re not the right solution for every scenario. When they’re used without a strategic plan, they can end up costing a lot more than a company expects (in the same way that poorly planned cloud deployments can lead to outsized bills). Here, I’ll highlight some of the hidden costs microservices can add to a company’s IT program and offer some tips for evaluating whether they make sense in a given scenario.
When Dropbox first launched its groundbreaking file sync and share app in March 2008, it was just over a year since Apple launched the first iPhone. Just as the iPhone heralded a now-ubiquitous feature of our daily lives – the smartphone, Dropbox represented one of the earliest examples of a SaaS application aimed squarely at improving workplace productivity.
Fast forward to the present day, and there is a bewildering assortment of cloud-based software applications vying for employee attention and promising to make their lives easier. Firms are swimming in a sea of applications and each on average relies on over 150 to stay productive, according to Okta. Because of this oversupply, productivity is, in fact, being hamstrung. Employees have hundreds of tabs open, each bombarding them with notifications and forcing them to switch environments.
In a few short years, Slack has transformed from a relatively unknown cloud application into one of the most popular team collaboration solutions in the world. For many enterprises, Slack is initially used in small, unsanctioned (shadow IT) deployments amongst internal workgroups. From there, use of the app typically balloons so quickly that it simply cannot be ignored. Today, Slack boasts over 10 million daily active users and more than 85,000 paying customers worldwide.
Across the board, the bottleneck-reducing philosophy of DevOps has become the central approach for cloud-native enterprise software development and deployment, ushering in a cultural shift in how processes, code and technology are delivered.
According to 2019 Accelerate: State of DevOps report, companies who get DevOps right deploy 208 times more code, deploy it 106 times as fast and are able to recover 2,604 faster from incidents. This has not stopped DevOps attracting critics, criticisms that I put to Bill Kleyman, EVP of Digital Solutions at Switch.
Why should we strive to maximise diversity in the tech sector?
There are countless reasons, whether you look at the positive impact diversity has on company reputation, growth or productivity. But above all else, creating conditions under which previously overlooked genders and personalities can flourish produces more brilliant technologists – technologists like Angela Maragopoulou.