Virtualization Technology News and Information
Why Is Your IT Team Still Writing Utility Code?
It is likely that a couple of college students working together in their dorm room tonight will finish a software product with functionality far better than an existing product built by the IT organization at a major enterprise. An enterprise whose leaders take pride in the hundreds of thousands of lines of code on their books - regardless of whether that code is considered a product differentiator or commodity.

And that major enterprise, the one whose IT leaders are about to have their legs knocked out from under them, doesn't even see what's coming.

They don't see the undeniable fact that the availability of commodity computing functions through cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) allows small, nimble teams to create top-quality products that previously required massive IT teams to write massive amounts of code. Their business is undergoing a historic shift.

Don't build, but stitch

In this new world of IT, the operative word is no longer "build." Instead, the key concept is to "stitch" together best-in-breed products to unburden your IT team from needing to build everything in-house and allow them to focus on your company's core value drivers.

Gartner predicts that nearly half of the IT spending by enterprises will be focused on the public cloud in the next five years. Impressive as that figure may be, it doesn't fully illuminate the changing ways in which industry-leading IT organizations are using the cloud.

Lean, high-performing IT teams today don't spend time writing commodity applications. Instead, they rely on the utility applications provided by AWS. They write only enough code to stitch these utility applications together to create products that deliver value to users and customers.

Shortly after we launched Cloudfix in 2007, we made the key strategic decision to commit to one cloud provider, AWS, to allow us to leverage the cloud for innovation and growth. We've benefitted as AWS continues to develop and optimize commodity computing functions that are better than most of the utilities that are built by in-house IT teams.

Today, there's simply no reason for IT organizations to write code for commodity functions. Best-in-class products are available off the shelf from AWS.

Three signs of trouble

But some IT managers, including some top executives at major enterprises, have been slow to recognize the changing environment. They have significant emotional and financial investments in their existing products and teams. Slow to see what is happening, they're slipping behind more nimble competitors.

Here are three signs that trouble is brewing in a traditional-thinking IT team:

  1. There's great pride in the amount of proprietary code, even for basic functions within a company's digital structure. Unless it's part of your core product, code should not be considered a corporate asset. Instead, the need to devote resources to updating in-house code is a significant liability. And all that outdated code? It's worth no more than rusting equipment in an abandoned factory.
  2. Placing value on building large IT teams to keep proprietary code updated. We see, for instance, major financial institutions continue to make a big deal out of the number of folks working in security. But the size of IT teams doesn't matter in the new world. AWS, for instance, can meet the security needs of America's Central Intelligence Agency. So why are enterprises building big staff to duplicate what AWS has already invested in? The new game doesn't favor big organizations that can deliver brute force to solve IT problems. The new winners are small, nimble teams that knit together AWS and other best-in-breed services into new and useful combinations.
  3. Thinking that patchwork transitions are considered reasonable alternatives. Commonly, IT executives still wedded to the old world want to connect their legacy systems - the ones to which they have an emotional attachment - to the cloud. They fail to recognize that patchwork conversion won't deliver the full scope of innovation delivered by cloud-based solutions. Usually, hybrids only delay the necessity to make a complete commitment to cloud solutions, and hybrids are likely to make the commitment more expensive. As always, fortune favors the bold.

New world, new opportunities

Without a doubt, it's difficult for successful enterprise IT leaders to recognize that the world is changing. For years, they've succeeded by playing exceptionally well under the rules of the old world.

But their new competitors - all those college kids in dorm rooms around the world - don't have the same attachment to the old world. All they know is the new world and the possibilities that they can tap into by stitching together the commodity functionality available through the cloud.

IT organizations that make the transition into the new world will find abundant opportunities to create exceptional new value. And the organizations that fail to shift? They'll join thousands of others through the years who were left behind when they failed to change with the times.




Rahul Subramaniam is CEO of CloudFix and DevGraph, which transform how users build, manage, and optimize in the public cloud, and serves as the Head of Innovation at ESW Capital. He has acquired and transformed more than 140 software products in the last 13 years.

Published Monday, July 18, 2022 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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