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Change Leadership Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Sharon Drew Morgen, Michael Bushong

Related Topics: Cloud Computing, Agile Software Development, Change Leadership Journal, CIO, SOA Best Practices Digest, Microservices Journal

Agile Development: Article

Digital Overload Mega-Rant Catharsis | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #BigData

Sometimes, I’ve just had enough. Especially when the digital disruption story starts repeating itself.

I love all this digital hullaballoo, really I do. I love all these different trends and disruptions and turmoil. I especially love the confusion - it gives me something to write about.

But sometimes, I've just had enough. Especially when the digital disruption story starts repeating itself.

Take, for example, the unicorn meme. Unicorn, as in a VC-funded startup with a billion-dollar-plus valuation. You know, the Ubers and AirBnBs and Facebooks of the world.

It seems that every presentation, every talk, every press release compares whatever some DigiCloudDataTech startup is doing with Uber. Or AirBnB. Or Facebook. Like you'd ever come up with Uber. Or AirBnB. Or Facebook. Hearing about Uber or AirBnB or Facebook just one more time is going to make me pull what's left of my hair out - and I still have most of my hair.

Unicorns aren't rare, folks. They're mythical. As in nonexistent. So stop talking about them already!

And then there's digital marketing. Marketing, of course, is an important part of the digital story, since digital is customer-driven and marketing is supposed to be expert on everything customer-driven.

But if you look at what the digital marketers are doing, it seems that they've all reached a plateau where they're all doing the same stuff. And a lot of it simply sucks.

Take retargeting, for example. Retargeting is where you look at some widget on some site somewhere, and then for the next three weeks ads for that stupid widget follow you everywhere online. Look up one of those super-realistic digital Japanese robotic sex toys? You'll get nothing but ads for sex toys on every damn web site you visit. Better hope your mom doesn't come over.

The problem with retargeting, of course, is that the marketers really have no clue whatsoever if you're really in the market for that sex toy. Perhaps you already bought one. Or maybe you just thought that toy was hot and had to click through to see if there were more sexy photos of it. The marketers simply have no freaking idea.

It gets worse. What about digitalwashing? You know, like cloudwashing, where people pretended to do cloud because it was cool. Now digital is cool so people are digitizing this and that, in hopes of a cushy seat on the bandwagon.

How do you tell digitalwashing from the real thing? Try replacing the word digital with either of the words web or ebusiness and see if it's something someone might have said back when we were partying like it was 1999.

And what's up with cybersecurity, anyway? Welcome to the 2010s, hackers, it's your decade! We have no freaking clue how to keep you out, so go ahead and hack us. We probably won't even notice. Here are our credit card numbers. Have fun with all those iPads and Rolexes and Japanese sex toys you're going to order.

The hacking problem has gotten so bad that the Chinese are complaining that we're complaining too much about how much the Chinese are hacking us. Go ahead, read that sentence again. You can't make this stuff up.

Digital transformation, of course, is more about the transformation than the digital. As in business transformation. As in, you need to reorganize everybody and run your entire business differently in order to be digitally transformed. Simple.

Well, good luck with that. About as far as anyone is really getting with their digital transformation initiatives is putting a marketing person on the dev team, or maybe putting a developer on the marketing team. Paste your favorite Dilbert cartoon here, seriously.

Oh, and what about the management consultants? You know, those highly paid MBAs who love to string together buzzwords into preformatted tomes of advice, only to sell them for a few mil to unsuspecting executives who will skim them, nod their heads, and go back to whatever they were doing?

Well, the consultants are all digital now. Every last one of them. Giving management advice to managers for how to be digital visionaries and drive their visions down the throat of their rank and file. After all, look at Uber! And AirBnB! And Facebook! You can be a unicorn too, Mr. Insurance Executive or Ms. Banker. Self-organization is the key to innovation, so tell all your people to self-organize or get the hell out.

Maybe the industry analysts will help? Not a chance. Gartner is recommending that you should go fast and slow at the same time. Fast as in all digital and DevOps, slow as in all that creaky old IT. Both. At the same time.

CIOs can breathe a sigh of relief - according to Gartner, this digital stuff is easier than they thought. No monkeying with all those arcane IT governance policies and mind-numbing procedures and legacy spaghetti. Just hire some Goths and Lumbersexuals and put them in charge of the new gear and you're off and running.

The Intellyx Take
Hear that noise? That's the music for this big digital game of musical chairs we're all playing. There's so much activity, so much vendor hype, so much enterprise spending, so much VC investment today that it seems this whole digital extravaganza is never going to stop. So round and round we go.

Well, I hate to break it to all you digital-native millennials reading this, but what comes up must come down. For all you old fogies like me who played our first game of musical chairs back in the 1990s, we've heard this music before. Take my advice: make sure you have a chair when the music stops.

Intellyx advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: Adam Rifkin.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).