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Digital Transformation: Back to Basics


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A completely subjective look at some of the more fundamental issues surrounding "digital transformation", and the challenges that we as technologists need to recognise and address.

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Digital Transformation: Back to Basics

  1. 1. Digital Transformation: Back to Basics Riccardo M Bennett-Lovsey Don’t forget to evaluate this session in the DevSum app! #devsum17
  2. 2. DevSum, June 2017 Digital Transformation: Back to Basics Riccardo M Bennett-Lovsey
  3. 3. A little about me Ø Architect and Technical Strategist Ø Began my career as a doctor of bioinformatics Ø Enterprise Fellow with the RSE Ø Student of the IDesign school of architecture Ø Co-organiser of the London “Software Architect & Mentorship” Meetup
  4. 4. Overview ØWhat is Digital Transformation? ØWhat are the challenges? ØWhat can we do?
  5. 5. But First… Warning: Completely subjective
  6. 6. _ What is Digital Transformation? Ø Keynote template
  7. 7. What is Digital Transformation? “the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society” Digital usage can “enable new types of innovation and creativity in a particular domain”
  8. 8. Sound familiar? E-Commerce Transformation SOA Transformation Technology Transformation Cloud Transformation Agile Transformation SAFe Transformation
  9. 9. Beware Buzzwords Copyright © 1999 Scott Addams Some refuse to die!
  10. 10. Is any of this really new? Ø No Ø No, but… Ø …humans have a habit of exaggerating anything that looks new Ø Unfortunately, we also have a habit of believing our own hype
  11. 11. What does real change look like? Ø “Revolution” Ø Real revolutions are rare Ø Scientific (1530s) Ø Agricultural (1620s) Ø Industrial (1750s) Ø Medical (1850s) Ø Digital (1950s)
  12. 12. Revolution? What Revolution?
  13. 13. What actually happens during a Revolution? ØDramatic and far-reaching impact on human society ØNew avenues of innovation are opened and exploited ØSound familiar?
  14. 14. What actually happens during a Revolution? Ø Do all humans need to master the skills of each revolution? Ø Not really, just enjoy the benefits Ø Field practitioners and experts need to “up their game” Ø Digital = Technologists Ø Do not expect people outside “Digital” to compensate for knowledge gaps Ø Knowing how to use an iPhone does not mean you can design a SOA
  15. 15. So… what is Digital Transformation? For most… Anything from a new mobile web experience to a social media strategy
  16. 16. So… what is Digital Transformation? For technologists… Instigating change as part of the ongoing Digital Revolution Using technology for competitive advantage and business growth
  17. 17. _ What are the challenges? Ø Keynote template
  18. 18. Where do I start? Ø Most companies are not ready for “transformation” Ø Still trying to work out the basics Ø Rarely agree on common best practices Ø How can we transform an industry before transforming ourselves?
  19. 19. Crisis? What crisis? Ø Software is still “in crisis” Ø Why are we in crisis? Ø Projects running over-budget Ø Projects running over-time Ø Inefficient software Ø Low quality deliverables Ø Unmet requirements Ø Unmaintainable products Ø Projects just not delivered Ø Since 1968!
  20. 20. Crisis? What crisis? Is there an “Electronics Crisis”? … “Aeronautical Crisis”? … “Construction Crisis”? … “Manufacturing Crisis”? … “Mining Crisis”? … “Transport Crisis”? … “Agricultural Crisis”?
  21. 21. So, it’s just us and… Finance
  22. 22. Transformation through dogma Ø Latest incarnation has been “Agile Transformation” in various guises Ø Poorly understood by most people who use it Ø Often used just as a way to “look busy” Ø “Agile says we should do <insert-preferred-buzzword-here>” Ø Chances are… no it doesn’t!
  23. 23. Lesson from history: Toyota’s success Ø Highest quality components Ø Zero tolerance for defects Ø Company-wide QA Ø Adaptive planning Ø Stability and standards
  24. 24. Stability and Standards? Ø “The capability to produce consistent results over time.” Ø Foundation for business growth Ø Lead time Ø “Latency between the initiation and execution”
  25. 25. _ What can we do? Ø Keynote template
  26. 26. Firstly… what not to do ØSuperficial change – “window dressing” ØTransformation through diktat ØRunning before walking
  27. 27. Secondly… Ø Recognise that “Digital Transformation” is just another step in technological innovation Ø Details are different, but the fundamentals are the same Ø Strategy and Culture Ø People Ø Process Ø Technology Ø Analysis and Feedback
  28. 28. Thirdly… ØChange is difficult – few get it right first time ØChange is necessary – adapt or perish (or stagnate) ØThe greatest challenge is people
  29. 29. Taking cues from nature Ø Change is inevitable – for better or for worse Ø Change takes time Ø Short-term inclination is towards homeostasis Ø Change is rarely (if ever) conscious Ø When it is, it must be simple
  30. 30. Taking cues from nature Ø Macro changes only emerge through combined micro changes Ø Change should be co-ordinated rather than controlled Ø Complex systems emerge from small, stable, repeatable steps Ø A “view towards change” is necessary from the start
  31. 31. Taking cues from nature Ø No compromise on quality Ø Zero tolerance for defects Ø System-wide quality assurance Ø Transformation must be built on foundation of stability
  32. 32. Above all… Ensure you master the basics
  33. 33. Transforming ourselves ØProper system design – not just superficial ØProper project planning – no more “wet fingers in the air” ØNo compromise on quality – better development, more testing
  34. 34. Transforming ourselves ØTransparency with customers – be prepared to say “no” ØGauge risk and be ready – don’t just hope it will never happen ØContinuous improvement – learn from mistakes and experience
  35. 35. Credits: Riccardo M Bennett-Lovsey June 2017 Thank you