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Enterprise Startup: Tactics for Thriving in Fast-Changing IT Environments


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Delivering software in an iterative and continuous manner is no longer optional, yet our recent research shows that just 23% of companies support an “experimentation culture” — a predominant building block in the agile methodologies necessary for digital business transformation. However, we’ve helped several organizations — including retailers during peak holiday seasons — embrace continuous delivery and benefit from tactics such as agile, microservices, and experimentation-orientation. How can an outside-in approach help you achieve continuous delivery? Flip through the slides above and then visit for the full report (along with many others).

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Enterprise Startup: Tactics for Thriving in Fast-Changing IT Environments

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  2. 2. 2 Meeting CustomerExpectations in a Digital World This requires software delivery to be transformed into an outside-in function that plans, builds, and runs technology based on customer behavior and expectations. In today’s always-on world, consumers want brand interactions to be instantaneous, seamless, and personalized. By extension, enterprise IT professionals must deliver software in an iterative and continuous manner.
  3. 3. 3 ContinuousDelivery= Constant Improvement The benefit of continuous delivery, as powered by development and operations (DevOps) and other methodologies, is that it: … all of which lead to improved results and enable business transformation. Delivers software products to market faster… Cuts downtime costs… Reduces risk…
  4. 4. 4 The Value of an Experimentation Culture • In order to embrace continuous delivery, organizations must first build a culture of rapid change. • An “experimentation culture” emphasizes test and learn methods, rapid prototyping, and immediate feedback from real customers to sustain a continuous cycle of measuring outcomes, adaptation based on feedback, and product iteration. • This experimentation culture is particularly important to retail organizations – or any customer-facing brand – as a way to realize returns from major e-commerce, content, or digital marketing platform implementation projects once completed.
  5. 5. 5 A New Approach to Fast-Changing IT Environments To help large corporations embrace an experimentation culture, we’ve developed and refined an “enterprise startup” approach. This model restructures the organization for change and encourages a new business mindset through the following three elements: Best-in-class agile methods Product teams are shifting the IT culture from long product development cycles and extended quality assurance (QA) periods to daily releases and continuous QA. Autonomous product teams These independent groups test and fail fast by deploying minimum viable products and then iterating. They prepare individual profit and loss reports to internal investors to ensure alignment with business goals. Organize around customerjourney Product teams are created to support customer journeys, not business functions. For example, rather than having a team focused on traditional research and development, we organize around solving a customer’s need through product development.
  6. 6. 6 Three Pillarsfor Thriving as an Enterprise Startup SapientNitro surveyed senior technology leaders to better understand organizations’ enterprise IT practices and the current state of enterprise IT, and identify the steps businesses must take to become an enterprise startup. To create an enterprise startup, we believe there are three things businesses need to do differently. Build clean, high-quality code Think “small and frequent” Automate using a no operations (NoOps) mindset
  7. 7. 7 Pillar One: Build Clean,High-Quality Code Our research found that clean, high-quality code at every stage in the lifecycle helps provide timely feedback to work groups, enables real-time adjustments to projects, and helps optimize overall results.
  8. 8. 8 Pillar One: Build Clean,High-Quality Code Building clean, high-quality code involves two steps: Ensure the code is of production quality from the start. Adopt a DevOps toolchain that uses mostly open source tools to help engineers test and perfect quality as part of the development process. This is an example of a continuous delivery DevOps tool pipeline, which enables developers to get rapid feedback (in minutes) and improve quality during the development process. The pipeline should use open source tools where possible. 1 2
  9. 9. 9 Pillar Two: Automate with a NoOps Mindset We encourage organizations to look at automation with a NoOps mindset – which is to say that “no operations” team will be needed to manually manage and maintain the product. In our study, 92% of digital leaders agree or strongly agree that clients want to “automate all enterprise IT processes.” However, just 13% of our IT experts agree or strongly agree that companies “regularly” use a NoOps mindset as a way to enable automation.
  10. 10. 10 Pillar Two: Automate with a NoOps Mindset To enable continuous delivery, IT teams must: • Set up and maintain multiple test environments • Develop and implement a wide range of automation tools • Update existing manual processes to an automated approach
  11. 11. 11 Pillar Three: Think “Small and Frequent” To become enterprise startups, companies must rethink their architecture, processes, and measurement. We encourage businesses to adopt a “small and frequent” mindset, which is marked by three main actions: Adopting microservices by breaking applications into small functional clusters to fuel automation Thinking betaby releasing changes to a small group of customers before expanding Rethinking measurement by establishing key performance indicators to chart progress 1 2 3
  12. 12. 12 Case Study: Marks and Spencer as an Enterprise Startup • Marks and Spencer – one of the world’s most renowned retail brands – turned to SapientNitro to help create a consistent omnichannel experience across its digital channels, brick-and-mortar locations, and customer service. • The company embraced the enterprise startup approach, adopting modern DevOps and agile methodologies – including autonomous product teams and minimum viable product methodology – as well as test and learn methods, experimentation, rapid prototyping, and immediate feedback from real customers. • The new platform, which has completely replaced the legacy infrastructure, now integrates 80 applications with 132 interfaces to handle 40,000 orders per day and 3 million page views per hour.
  13. 13. 13 Conclusion As companies look to compete in a digital world and adapt to customers’ always-on mindset, the enterprise startup approach – embracing journeys, focusing on building quality code, automating wherever possible, and adopting a “small and frequent” mindset – can help drive change. To review additional findings from our research and learn more about the enterprise startup approach, download our full report, entitled Enterprise Startup: Tactics For Thriving in Fast- Changing IT Environments.
  14. 14. 14 About the Author Pinak Kiran Vedalankar Director of Technology,Digital Transformation,SapientNitro London Pinak leads digital transformation engagements from a technology and engineering standpoint. His specific focus is on scaling agile and engineering for enterprise, microservices, automation, DevOps, commerce, content, social, mobile, and stores/branches. A special thanks to Andy Halliwell and Shivdas Nair for their contributions.