Five Links: Embrace the Change Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

As we come upon the glorious time change weekend, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately on changes — planning, designing, trying to understand what needs to change and how. Change is inevitable, but the question seems to be how far can we control it or define it. Within technology, we talk a lot about disruptive companies or key innovators, and sometimes it’s easy to begin looking at change for change’s sake. Disruptors and innovators don’t (only) change because it’s fun — they do something new with purpose. So this week’s posts look at change, design, and transformation as means to an end — chaotic yet intentional.


Why a Design Mindset Matters  (TechCrunch)

When I read this article, the first thing I thought of was an article I read about strategy challenges at Apple — no, not Steve Blank’s one, the one by Jim Edwards at Business Insider. Edwards’ premise is that great innovation comes when someone identifies a job that needs to be done and then finds a way to do it (and some struggles at Apple, Microsoft and others come from not identifying those real-life jobs). This article has a similar core premise. Quote: “It does not matter what type of business you are part of, you must understand the problems people face and find creative ways to solve them.” This article, though, takes a higher approach, looking at the intersection of design and engineering and ways to foster design-focused thinking.


Spreadsheets Have Ruled the Earth for Too Long (Ars Technica)

This one borders on heresy (like business can exist without spreadsheets and PowerPoint). It even contains this pithy observation: “If PowerPoint is the universal language businesses use to talk to one another, their internal monologue is Excel.” This looks at the limits of trying to use older technologies and processes and ways that basic business and IT services are moving into the cloud and implications for security, training, and process design.


Right Tech, Wrong Time (Harvard Business Review)

It’s possible to recognize that change is coming, but how do you know when? Change has two conflicting dangers: missing out and starting too early. You don’t only have to decide what to change, but when. This offers a solid look at ways to evaluate technologies, particularly rival technologies, to try to ascertain whether the time is right for change.


Java and the Hybrid Cloud (Red Hat blog / customer survey)

This is a great survey of 865 JBoss middleware customers, and it is a fascinating look at how they are approaching change. It illustrates the tension between trying to maintain the status quo (64% are running traditional, monolithic Java EE applications) and the pressure to innovate (with just under a third implementing containers and microservices). There is an interesting pathway (maybe) in the numbers — while 71% prioritize maintaining legacy systems, another major priority was creating new applications (53%), while very few (24%) were planning on migrating their traditional applications to the cloud. There are a ton of numbers in the post, so take time to digest the whole thing.


Evolve the IT Organization (Gartner)

This is a brief but interesting piece from Gartner about how IT can change a business culture and their approach to service delivery. It’s based on the experiences of Michael Brown at ExxonMobile, but it’s an approach that is appealing to different industries and any size organization.


BONUS LINK: Integration is a core competency of digital transformation (IDC / Red Hat whitepaper)

Despite the title, the focus is truly on defining an approach to digital transformation and more disruptive business strategies, and then looking at an architectural and procedural approach to accessing required data, unifying related systems, and other integration challenges.

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