Technical roadmaps: the path from customer demand to an ecosystem
In recent years, disruptors have demonstrated the benefits of cloud-first business operations. Established organisations, including some of our customers, recognise the advantages this brings: scalability, cost efficiency, and a much more agile organisation. As for the future, even more is in store. Deploying AI, for example, builds on the initial digital transformation journey, extends the benefits mentioned above, and adds predictive capacity.
There’s an increasing need among organisations to both accelerate the transition to the cloud and take the next step in automation. However, a number of things are required before this step can be taken.
No legacy, but lean
Organisations often look for inspiration to the big tech platforms that have achieved massive success. It’s easy to forget that Netflix, Uber, and Spotify are examples of agile companies with no legacy baggage: all their business processes are built around cloud-based ecosystems that aren’t hindered by applications from the pre-cloud era. Organisations that start from a legacy situation have to learn agile working and set up a DevOps environment with microservices. IT services then have to be adapted to these new processes.
It takes time and planning. At Solvinity, this all starts with an ‘A3 approach’; a tool from the lean working method. The often complex customer request is boiled down into a concise document reflecting the A3 approach, which serves as a guideline for our further services. However, more than a description of the current situation and the desired outcome in an A3 approach is needed to successfully complete a transformation process. For example, if you want to deploy software-defined networking or increase automation of your storage, you must first implement CI/CD; and that’s only possible when your applications are built from microservices. Legacy applications are not suitable for this, so a process of ‘SaaS-isation’ precedes microservices. The road to the desired final setup of an environment is therefore complex and depends on many factors. It’s not a road you can travel down in one go without the right preparation.
This is where technical roadmaps come in. In simple terms, a technical roadmap is a step-by-step plan to get from the current situation to the desired situation. In theory, it’s very simple to outline the ideal situation, but getting there in practice is a whole different ball game.
In a technical roadmap, our staff at Solvinity first define what the status quo is, and how they manage the customer environment in question. They then explain how they implement improvements, possibly together with the customer, step by step.
Digital transformation: look before you leap
Complex legacy environments form a significant barrier for our Customer Engineering Teams in helping customers get on the path to a future-proof ecosystem. This is because legacy applications focus on management, while a service provider should really be working on innovation and improvement.
To avoid getting bogged down in repetitive tasks, our teams therefore have to ensure that they increasingly digitise and automate their work. This might be a seemingly simple but tedious task such as setting a new password, for example. This is the only way they can free up more time for innovation, such as the transition to a microservices architecture in the cloud.
Technical roadmaps make this possible. It’s a set of arrangements that makes working together more predictable for both our teams and for our customers. We use technical roadmaps to communicate continuously with each other about basic hygiene and further improvements to the digital environments. It also provides a robust method for successfully moving from a legacy situation to a cloud-based ecosystem.
Technical roadmaps underline the essential nature of a partnership between service provider and customer. A one-off assignment isn’t enough to get the best results. Willingness to engage in continued collaboration and coordination is required on both sides to ensure that the customer is successfully guided towards the desired endpoint.
This focus on collaboration, carefully coordinated digitisation, and more focus on customers and the market will again form the basis for joint growth in 2022.
Read more by Nancy Roos-Beukers?
This blog is part of a series of four strategical blogs by Nancy Roos-Beukers: