Platform Business

Looking into the “post-cloud” world aka. what is next to hype after clouds have mainstreamed. Let’s face it, for something north of 15 years we’ve been talking about clouds. Stalling tactics including ownership, it is definitely an IT problem, the need to create a hybrid cloud strategy, and even multi-cloud “no lock-in” architecture dogma have yet to enable large enterprise to derive systemic value. It has become clear to many in the community that the real value of clouds has to distill to the product owners in the business and for enterprises – to some shared community that creates leverage. To this end. Where cloud enables developer self service, Continuous Integration (CI) and Delivery (CD) pipelines, and of course the progression and extension of a strategy with a better agility, there remains a quality that I think is important – the recognition that a developer should write only the code that they NEED to maintain, and then just USE the code/services they don’t – shifting the maintenance and sometimes operations expenses to those who operate at a more substantial scale (scale >> 1).

When many companies I’ve talked to think about cloud, sometimes it’s all about IT… reduce TCO and increase serviceability for the business. Other time’s it’s about the business, and their need to increase the cycle time well past what is available thru IT’s ticketing system. No matter your direction, it is pretty clear that innovation/agility can really co-exist with productivity and operational expense reduction – but this is less about the cloud and really more about Dev[Sec]Ops and SRE.

SRE/DevSecOps Enterprise Yields

The problem we see most frequently is one of trying to “buy” culture versus “build” it. Thinking that a company can introduce a cloud without explaining how it can change the how work gets done paradigm. This brings us to a culture of inner-sourcing and sharing/collaboration.

Exploiting Bezoisms like the API-Mandate and common “shared service” tooling like version control repositories, artifact-ories, logging strategies/services and build recipes – the business can begin to reuse known good patterns, improve existing patterns with the ability to retrofit and by and large begin to develop at increased scale/productivity. Then we add into this the ability to compositionally build on both low level and higher level services by API, and we end up reducing information friction and driving to deeper re-use and expansion/improvement of existing services. Once we’re sharing, we begin to notice that there are so many patterns both functional and operational, that the organization tends to coalesce toward a virtuous meritocracy where there needs to be some level of steering group to help “advise and align” vs. direct and order in the continued development of a shared business platform.

Enterprise Platform View

The next step and sometimes this is the first step, is to open the services to ecosystems partners who then bring their own information via service API’s to the collaboration. This moves the platform from a the center of a more functionally organized and information democratized business to a participatory strategy for a broad set of business partners that can gain leverage from the services|information of others.

Metcalf’s Law and Reed’s Law certainly apply as the information volume/value ecosystem builds so to does the exponential value of the partnership! And that same inherent value increase can be leveraged by an enterprise if they can work collaboratively inside and with trading partners. In effect, the ecosystem is the new scale dynamic that is unlocked for large enterprises who can now gain leverage from longitudinal and deep knowledge and therefore differentiate and compete with their “born in the cloud” disruptors.

I bring this up as this week is DOES20 w/ Gene Kim and the IT revolution team. So many of the basic principles that anchor developer “joy” and work “flow” can be thought of to substantially improve overall enterprise value production and top line growth, when we start to talk about a business platform to anchor the cultural change and provide the effects of network scale to your business.

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