Get your third platform on

For people like me who want to see more software defined businesses, some fun declarations from the third platform folks, IDC:

  • By 2016, 65% of global competitive strategies will require real-time 3rd Platform IT as a service.
  • By 2016, 80% of CIOs will deliver a new architectural framework that enables innovation and improved business decision making.
  • By 2016, 80% of CIOs will accelerate 3rd Platform migration to counter premature obsolescence of current IT assets

So, you know, around now-ish.

Get your third platform on

The growing computational foot-print

As pointed out by Andrew, frequently, this is the chart you want to use when you’re illustrating “software eating the world.” For example, as I’ve been writing in my first column for FierceDevOps:

I often joke that it’s been impossible to see a keynote in recent years without seeing the horsemen of the digital apocalypse. These are the cliche topics that seem to come up in every keynote. Two of these lay the groundwork for why the structure of the IT department needs to change:

  1. Software is eating the world – Cloud technologies and practices have made huge improvements in productivity and costs when it comes to creating and running custom written applications. It’s easier to write and run software now, and the rise in “always on” devices (all those super-computers in our pockets that are on the Internet 24/7) creates a massive foot-print for computation: an endless buffet for software.

  2. Change or die! – with this huge buffet of opportunity, there’s a rallying call for companies to invent new business models that rely heavily on software. This means that most every business has the opportunity to use custom written software to change the nature of their business. Think of the opportunity for Taxi companies to use software to change how they operate, or for the hotel industry to come up with a brand new business model to sell empty capacity…and you’re thinking of Uber and AirBnB. The “or die” part is a rhetorical trick to position this imperative as dire. And, indeed, in recent years studies have shown that remaining on-top has been harder. Change is needed to survive.

As the second points two, these two alone create a pull for more custom written software in businesses. It’s fast and cheaper to create software, and competition is relying on that to create new business models that challenge incumbents or, rather, those businesses that are not evolving how they run their business with software. Again: think of all those taxi services versus Uber.

Flexibility over more money

It looks like that whole “work/life balance” thing is freakin’ people out:

This is the first generation in the history of America that hasn’t said it wants a better life than its parents. It wants more flexibility. It’s going to be a different sets of things and fundamentally people who are less loyal. This is really bad news.

I’m sure they’re all “next stop: OMG! Grexit!”

Flexibility over more money

Eventually, to do a developer strategy your execs have to take a leap of faith

I’ve talking with an old collegue about pitching a developer-based strategy recently. They’re tryin to convince their management chain to pay attention to developers to move their infrastructure sales. There’s a huge amount of “proof” an arguments you can make to do this, but my experience in these kinds of projects had taught me that, eventually, the executive in charge just has to take a leap of faith. There’s no perfect slide that proves developers matter. As with all great strategies, there’s a stack of work, but the final call has to be pure judgement, a leap of faith.

“Why are they using Amazon instead of our multi-billion dollar suite?”

You know the story. Many of the folks in the IT vendor world have had a great, multi-decade run in selling infrastructure (hardware and software). All the sudden (well, starting about ten years ago), this cloud stuff comes along, and then things look weird. Why aren’t they just using our products? To cap it off, you have Apple in mobile just screwing the crap out of the analagous incumbants there.

But, in cloud, if you’re not the leaders, you’re obsssed with appealing to developers and operators. You know you can have a “go up the elevator” sale (sell to executives who mandate the use of technology), but you also see “down the elevator” people helping or hendering here. People complain about that SOAP interface, for some reason they like Docker before it’s even GA’ed, and they keep using these free tools instead of buying yours.

It’s not always the case that appealing to the “coal-facers” (developers and operators) is helpful, but chances are high that if you’re in the infrastructure part of the IT vendor world, you should think about it.

So, you have The Big Meeting. You lay out some charts, probably reference RedMonk here and there. And then the executive(s) still isn’t convinced. “Eh,” as one systems management vendor exec said to me most recently, “everyone knows developers don’t pay for anything.” And then, that’s the end.

There is no smoking gun

If you can’t use Microsoft, IBM, Apple, and open source itself (developers like it not just because it’s free, but because they actually like the tools!) as historic proof, you’re sort of lost. Perhaps someone has worked our a good, management consultant strategy-toned “lessons learned” from those companies, but I’ve never seen it. And belive me, I’ve spent months looking when I was at Dell working on strategy. Stephen O’Grady’s The New Kingmakers is great and has all the material, but it’s not in that much needed management consulting tone/style – maybe his upcoming book on Oracle will add to it.

Of course, if Microsoft and Apple don’t work out, don’t even think of deploying all the whacky consumer-space folks out like Twitter and Facebook, or something as detailed as Hudson/Jenkins or Oracle DB/MySQL/MariaDB.

I think SolarWinds might be an interesting example, and if Dell can figure out applying that model to their Software Group, it’d make a good case study. Both of these are not “developer” stories, but “operator” ones; same structural strategy.

Eventually, they just have to “get it”

All of this has lead me to believe that, eventually, the executives have to just take a leap of faith and “get it.” There’s only so much work you can do – slides and meetings – before you’re wasting your time if that epiphany doesn’t happen.

Enterprise Golf, or, you get what you pay for, Software Defined Talk #27

Summary

Do you really need to play golf to make enterprise software sales? We explore that and other topics like FoundationDB shutting off it’s GitHub taps, GigaOm suddently shutting down, and tipcs on how to become a software company.

With Brandon Whichard, Matt Ray, and Coté.

SPONSOR: Pivotal has is releasing a new version of Pivotal Cloud Foundry and you can now run your platform in AWS. Also, check out why we like to say “platform” instead of “PaaS.” See details at https://cote.io/pivotal

SPONSOR: ChefCon, from Matt: Come check out ChefConf! March 31st to April 2nd. DevOps, configuration management, and the little dog. Get a nice discount with when you register with the code BETTERTOGETHER.

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Show notes

BONUS LINKS! Not covered in show

We collect up links to talk about during the week but rarely get to all of them. Here’s the ones we neglected.

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