Virtualization Technology News and Information
vFunction 2021 Predictions: On Driving Growth, Modernizing Modernization and Paying Off Debt

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

On Driving Growth, Modernizing Modernization and Paying Off Debt: 5 Predictions for 2021

By Bob Quillin, Chief Ecosystem Officer, vFunction

A turbulent year has given way to what we at vFunction believe will be a more promising 2021 - a year that can turbocharge future growth for companies willing to face some hard truths and get busy. As has so often been the case, CIOs and IT teams will play a central role in what comes next.

So what comes next?

1.  The Agility Imperative Explodes 

Agility is defined as the ability to move quickly and easily, the ability to think and understand quickly. 2020 reinforced - in a big way - that agility is the big reason for digital transformation - that we all needed to be ready to move, think, and understand quickly - responding to unforeseen changes in our business (exhibit A: COVID). Agility needs to be job one everywhere in an organization.  That goes for businesses, to reach for maximum business model agility moving forward, and for tech teams, driving agility as a cre design principle across applications, infrastructure, operations. In 2021, this will drive even more enterprises to cloud and cloud native - which were built to deliver agility as a first principle. Those organizations that were prepared for a virtual, digital world before 2020 were uniquely prepared and positioned to survive and often grow in 2020 and now into 2021.  Those that did not, are now clear they need to double down on their modernization and digital transformation in 2021.

2.  Focus on Your Scale & Scalability Responsibility

Scale is often thought of as something that helps you grow, expand, and react more quickly - a corollary to agility, but core principle on its own. 2020 was a year where we saw the need to scale up and down on a moment's notice - shut this down, move employees to home, turn this back on - then off - then back on. Zoom, Inc. back in January of 2020 at Zoom HQ in San Jose, was one of my last customer sales calls for Oracle Cloud. I think of where they were back then, pre-COVID in the US but present in China and clearly already starting to fester in the US. Zoom's infrastructure and business between then and now is a master class in scalability. But other organizations were in a scramble mode - scale this down, then scale something else back up - then back down.

It was an unprecedented testimonial for why organizations need to ramp up their Scale & Scalability skills in 2021.

3.  Technical Debt - Bill Comes Due Now

Technical debt has been piling up for years and the bill has now come due. Developers and development teams have been delaying refactoring or modernizing legacy applications and instead taking the easy, fast, or expeditious route - with tech debt compounding year after year. So many legacy applications have dead code layered on more dead code that no one wants to touch, for fear of what "could" happen. The resulting apps have become increasingly difficult & expensive to update, extend, and move quickly in case something unexpected happens - enter 2020So tech debt bit almost every company in 2020 - and slapped us all in the face. That goes for IT teams, dev teams, product management, architects, and in 2021 CIOs and IT leaders need to pay that bill.

4.  Lift and Shift Experiment Fails - Time to Refactor 

2020 ushered in the end of the "Lift and Shift Era."  Lift and shift was a quick fix that many IT organizations chose to pursue as a stopgap, which essentially just resulted in even more technical debt piling up. Unacceptable! Why refactor or rewrite your legacy applications when we can move them to the cloud - and defer that work? So many reasons, and a perfect recipe for compounding tech debt. Now here comes 2020 again.

What lift and shift failed to do was address all the things listed above: agility, scale, tech debt. To drive agility, increase scalability, and drain our tech debt - we need to do the right thing - and that is to refactor these legacy applications into cloud native apps. This should not be a surprise to anyone, but we now have the spark, impetus, and the biggest catalyst in a generation to push these projects forward. Too many factors are piling up here to keep doing what we've been doing - it's time to refactor your monolithic apps in 2021.

5.  Modernization Gets Modern - Finally

Legacy spend in IT still consumes 70-90% of CIO budgets, but revenue acceleration, improved agility and faster time to market continue to be the top 3 goals for CIO's.

So CIOs and their Java development teams are having to reassess their modernization initiatives immediately, to look for ways to accelerate snail-pace modernization programs. They are hungry for automation, for new AI, ML, and data science innovations  that can disrupt how modernization has been done - which is low and slow - like smoking BBQ in Texas where we go low and slow. Unfortunately, these apps aren't briskets, so it's time to grill ‘em like hamburgers - break them up into smaller micro-briskets and cook them fast and efficient. Seriously, in 2021 new, innovative technology has arrived to modernize modernization and to accelerate microservice refactoring. In 2021, application architects, developers, and CIOs can apply modern tools and tech to modernize their Java legacy applications.

It's not difficult to see that the through-line here can be summarized in one word: growth. Next year promises to be pivotal in realizing what vFunction believes will be a years-long run of innovation, refinement and growth.


About the Author

Bob Quillin 

Bob Quillin is the Chief Ecosystem Officer for vFunction, responsible for developer advocacy, marketing, and cloud ecosystem engagement. Bob was previously Vice President of Developer Relations for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Bob joined Oracle as part of the StackEngine acquisition by Oracle in December 2015, where he was co-founder and CEO. StackEngine was an early cloud native pioneer with a platform for developers and devops teams to build, orchestrate, and scale enterprise-grade container apps. Bob is a serial entrepreneur and was previously CEO of Austin-based cloud monitoring SaaS startup CopperEgg (acquired by IDERA in 2013) and has held executive and startup leadership roles at Hyper9, nLayers, EMC, and VMware.

Published Wednesday, January 27, 2021 7:31 AM by David Marshall
There are no comments for this post.
To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<January 2021>