8 March 2018

Digital Transformation 2.0

We are in the middle of the fourth industry revolution. It’s a fact. The common digitization of business processes makes IT services the important factor of competition on the market. Their users – customers expect the 24/7 availability of IT services regardless the access channel (online, mobile, telephone). They are demanding and their experiences become the main selection criterion. What’s more, these 24/7 IT services should be personalized to specific customers needs and dynamically respond to changing market conditions. To meet those requirements, institutions must efficiently implement modifications to existing services and introduce completely new ones. The first phase of digital transformation has just finished and…

Customer’s era with unrestricted access to services has come and changed rules of business and vision of IT

Unfortunately, the strategy “everything based on IT” has led to high complexity of IT environments and it can cause a significant extension of the implementation time of the new business functionality and some limitations in scope of scalability. Additionally, the following business factors becoming more and more important:

  • Globalization for extending the range of the business beyond local market.
  • Multi-brand for handling multiple brand in the same IT environment (to keep it costs at reasonable level).
  • “White label” for offering services as a broker and let clients build their own brands.
  • Omnichannel to provide seamless and effortless, high-quality customer experiences that occur within and between contact channels
  • Event-driven behavior where actions are taken just after the event has occurred, completely online, without any delay.

causing the complexity of IT environments to become an even bigger problem.

How to overcome these challenges ?

The next phase of digital transformation should be defined and applied to the organizations. The transformation that aims at full agility in scope of software development process regardless the current IT environment complexity and business demands.

“The main goal of Digital Transformation 2.0 is to provide cost-efficient, automated software factory with predictable delivery time of customizable products fitted to continuously changing business requirements. It’s not easy, but it’s possible and necessary.”

This next phase of digital transformation has already been defined through agile project management, DevOps approach and process and infrastructure automation (in general we can say “cloud”). The adoption of these trends differs and largely depends on the industry. The reasons for limited adoption are unfulfilled promises, strong benefits that should come, but they havn’t. Why ? Because this definition is not complete, the transformation needs action in additional directions which complement the digital transformation 2.0 and constitute its four pillars:

  • Architecture. It’s the most important pillar in Digital Transformation 2.0, the proper architecture allows to implement changes concurrently and independently.  We can say that it enables “agility” in software development life cycle, while DevOps and related automated processes (Continous X processes) still remains the accelerators. The “proper architecture” means “microservices architecture”, where business capabilities are separated and run as independent applications (from deployment and infrastructure perspective), which functionalities are provided through API in the environment. These applications are called “microservices” and cooperates (communicates) with each other to provide consistent set of IT services to theirs users. If business capabilities are independent… they can be independently developed and changed, that’s the point.
  • Technology. If you image miroservices architecture as many of cooperation processes inside the environment you know that handling such complex environment can be very expensive. If you want to take benefits from microservice architecture and don’t want to waste it due to highly operational costs you should take the proper technological support. In general, in digital transformation technology plays important role in IT, many of business services strictly depends on technologies and resulting from them solutions. In the world of microservices this cooperation is much deeper, where technology is necessary condition of being successful in deploying new operational model. You can go in two directions: building your own solutions basing on many cooperating technologies or just take the complete platform (like JLupin) and to start your journey through Digital Transformation 2.0 just right now.
  • Automation. If the microservices architecture is an enabler for “agility”, automation is an accelerator. The world after Digital Transformation 2.0 is fully automated, from infrastructure, through application and database platforms to continuous integration, testing and delivery. There are three critical areas in the transformation where automation take very important role:
    • Infrastructure as a Code – the point is to have capabilities to describe infrastructure through textual configuration, which can be applied in continuous manner, as a part of continuous integration process. It’s hard to deliver but is very valuable from the software quality and availability perspective.
    • Microservice platform – there many supporting processes that should be performed in microservices platform. Taking the scale of operations into account, these process should be completely automated and performed transparently. The examples of microservices platform support processes are: Service Discovery, Configuration Management, Self-healing, Smart Deployment, API Management.
    • Test automation – if you implement continuous integration with infrastructure as a code and  continuous delivery, the crucial point will be confirmation that the quality of the environment after each build and delivery is on desirable level. Without automation – It won’t be possible at all.
  • Solutions. All the ideas coming from architecture and automation pillar, supported by a set of technologies should be implemented as a perfectly working machine – highly efficient software factory. The solution are like puzzles – well fitted ideas implemented on the wisely chosen technologies, closely integrated and working together to delivery services and benefits. On the path of Digital transformation 2.0 only the next generation solutions should be taken into consideration, to ensure that none of constraints will disturb the whole process.

 

Actions coming from these four pillars shouldn’t be taken individually, they should be defined across and with full respect of all these four areas, to ensure that the all component of future organization will work perfectly and the vision coming from Digital Transformation 2.0 will be realized.