Guest Author:  Tom Rieger, Senior Solution Architect with EDB has been a co-researcher with Platform 3 in better understanding the drivers and impediments in corporate strategy and technology for the last two years.  His involvement has been instrumental in making this effort possible in crafting questions, analyzing results and identifying relations and causality.

Digital Transformation is the phrase of the day when it comes to the strategic direction for technology in organizations.  Words and phrases like:

  • Nimble
  • Customer centric
  • Time to market
  • Elastic
  • Automation
  • AI/ML/NLP/DW – all meant to mean ‘analyze and predict’

As 2021 moves into 2022, the reality that organizations need to clean-up and migrate to a better fundamental technology stack before they can realize anything that is ‘transformational’ is taking hold.  The new term is ‘Technology Debt‘ and words and phrases now read more like:

  • Open Source First
  • Cloud First
  • Simple
  • OPEX
  • Work-From-Home (which means anywhere on the planet)
  • Secure
  • and all the transformation terms:  nimble, elastic, faster time to market, automated, analyzed.

This has been proven out with me personally and professionally.  The image below represents my personal ‘technology debt’ from a hardware perspective in my home office drawer.  Extrapolate that across a data center in a corporation in hardware and software – and it turns into a financial and security quagmire.

When I talk to organizations they have a ‘current state’ that is a combination of:

  • Commercially licensed software with bloated annual maintenance bills, constrictive terms and the word ‘vendor audit’ is in their frustration-toned voices.
  • Some aspects of the software are (or almost at) their end-of-support and life.
  • They cannot change the business based on their technical and legal status-quo.

The research I have been part of titled “Drivers and Impediments to Corporate Technology Change – 2021 and Beyond – THE RESEARCHThe Research 2021” validates the trend from ‘transform’ to ‘cost’.  We took a macro view of the trends in technology and how organizations are prioritizing or adjusting their business to utilize them.  This last year we also called out certain trends in how tech vendors are tracking (almost half of the responses look to reduce their spend with Oracle).  Additionally, we highlight the evolution of what cloud platforms can handle.  We also report how all-open-source is making this possible and the resulting economic indicators that make finance people happy.  All of this, most importantly, drives successful business outcomes.

The very first question is “What is the priority of your organization at this time?” The graphic below gives us perspective.

Although ‘transformation’ is the clear priority, my experience shows that today ‘transformation’ is being used to mean ‘cut costs’.  In the graph above we see the cost-cutting increase from 18% in 2020 to 26% in 2021 which supports my point of view.  If we think about the promises that ‘transformation’ bring, it starts with the need to clean-out-the-old to bring-in-the-new.  Any actions to ‘clean’ need to bring down costs to pay for that cleaning.  Thus, the world is looking to remove higher costs to replace with lower costs.  HOW?

  • Move to open-source.  Databases like Oracle, DB2, SQL Server and others are not evolving and have high cost.  Open-source options like Postgres can now drive those top-tiered workloads.  They have enormous innovations and much better legal terms.
  • Move to cloud. Accounts love to hear a predictive ‘OPEX’ message versus an uncertain ‘CAPEX’.  This is all easily possible from the major cloud vendors.  Caution:  It is easy to over provision, over pay and not realize it (check my video here).
  • Clean out the old-and-zombie.  Some combination of application decommissioning, data archiving from active systems and consolidations are absolutely necessary.

Once you see the fruits of the labor of the above (and I mean that from a financial savings perspective) those newly found funds help pay for the more ‘transformational’ efforts.

Moral of the story:  Cleaning out the ‘technology debt’ empowers and goes in conjunction with ‘digital transformation’.  They can happen in parallel, but they both need to happen to be effective.

I invite everyone to review the research by clicking HERE or on the image below and expect the next research in 2022.

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