I must start this blog with an apology (sorry) – the grammatical form of the title would have me struck down by my primary school English teacher, however I can find no other way to convey my meaning. “Agile” is the current next big thing and rightly so for many organisations whether development, operations or both. If speed of development (application), accelerated time to market and potentially reduced development costs are the primary aims of the enterprise, “Agile” delivers immense value.
But the euphoria seems to drive a mushroom cloud of activity involving selected internal operational and technology areas, for example servers, storage and compute. It’s clear “Agile” discussions ignite wholesale changes in those common areas, but has been slow to affect others most notably networking & security – and there lies a problem. At present application development teams, IT operations functions and most importantly the line of business teams are proactively gravitating towards each other as the “Agile” train pulls into the station. The cultural, emotional and operational shift required to make “Agile” a reality is now very real with green shoots of benefit now starting to appear.
But I challenge the effectiveness of the current “Agile” momentum due to a major elephant remaining in the room – network readiness. At present I view first hand many organisations with “Agile” transformation a fundamental element of their corporate manifesto but continuing with a network that may be highly reliable and functional but one not lubricating or accelerating the agile journey. Does this instantly fast forward to a software defined networking discussion – my heart says no but finally my head overrules with yes. Software defined networking is NOT networking without hardware – unless everything we know is physics is to be rewritten or eliminated that will never happen. But it is networking optimised by the use of software to increase programmability (and therefore personalisation) and automation (and therefore consistency and efficiency).
The benefit software defined ideals deliver to networking outcomes are many fold but must notably security benefits, speed and consistency of change which in turn makes the network agile. Surely this must signpost a notable change of priority, to shift network transformation further up the business technology priority list to enable tangible business value – if your network is not agile “is the business truly delivering agile operational or workload outcomes”.
Agile development is here to stay and with businesses now operating at warp speed agile is helping to drive organisations into the brave new ever changing world. But a network however stable, ridden with complexity and human latency MUST now change to be the optimum transport of digital change. It’s time to ask your organisation if the network is really making the business agile – if not, now is the time for change.
Computacenter can help.
Until next time
It may be time for a rethink of how you think. The need for speed seems to underpin just about everything we do. Whether at work or in the dynamic social world norm to many, “now time” seems to be the only “time” sought by all. Could that signal a change required in the way you think so ultimately “do”. The self-help, coach yourself to success juggernaut of the 80s and 90s (and still very apparent today) is underpinned by planning, executing and evaluation of results. And there is nothing wrong with such an approach as when mobilised well the results are consistent. However I fear many may have tipped the balance too far the other way and remain in the planning phase so long (due to a fear of failure of negative impact) that the opportunity for innovation and impact is often missed.
It may be time to consider lessons from the major change in IT software and application development, “Agile.”. “Agile” development theories are not new and have flipped in and out of popularity for years. However with enterprises currently operating at warp speed, desperate to gain or retain first mover advantage to maintain market momentum, Agile is now king of the castle again. Put simply Agile is about developing and getting the core application elements delivered quickly, to be evolved almost in real time rather than over an age hidden away in the development back office. It requires a new way of thinking, tight alignment (even tighter than the norm) between the business and IT service/application delivery and a fair degree of courage (as it’s not without risk). Maybe we should piggy back the euphoria surrounding Agile development in IT & business and apply similar principles to our general day to day train of thought.
Surely it’s also time for “agile human thinking” to tap into now time and maximise it. But living in an “agile human” manner, mobilised by “agile human thinking” could be quite destabilising. Picture living in a constant state of flux with minimal potential to benefit from the comfort of a stable state – in fact just thinking about now may be quite traumatic. But I urge you to stop, think again and consider “isn’t this how we live life anyway”, but maybe fail to apply rigour to “accelerated change” and thus become a victim of it. The stage is now set – “fastest” is now the new “fast”. Working and living at the “old speed of life” could see you fall behind the new, younger generation of dynamic thinking, socially driven “agile engines” (fast thinking, fast moving people). Therefore to unlock the potential of the brave new “agile human” world may require a rewiring of the way we think, that drives the things we do. And though it opens the door to risk, behind it is a chasm of opportunity.
Until next time.