Fixing government procurement one process at a time

Part of the problem, according to the General Services Administration’s Bill Zielinski, is that many agencies still try to scope out modernization projects with highly specific technical requirements. “We define not only the business outcome that we’re trying to achieve,” Zielinski said at the FCW-hosted IT modernization event, “but we have that tendency to say, ‘and this is explicitly how you’re going to do that.'”
Such specific solicitations tend to produce near-identical proposals from industry, he noted, which forces agencies to select based on “lowest price technically acceptable” criteria. Worse, he said, that prescriptive approach denies agencies the opportunity to benefit from new and creative solutions that might surface if they simply described the business capability that’s needed.

Source: Can agencies seize the moment for modernization?

Better details on the Cisco/Google partnership around kubernetes and Istio

The cloud initiative combines Google’s de facto standard Kubernetes cluster orchestration platform for managing applications and services across hybrid infrastructure with Cisco’s networking and security expertise. It also leverages Cisco’s push into hyper-converged infrastructure. Along with extending security to application containers and other micro-services, the deal would allow users to monitor application behavior running on hybrid platforms, the partners said.

The other pillar of the collaboration is Istio, another open source tool released earlier this year to help manage micro-services via what developers call a “service mesh network.” Working with Kubernetes, Istio aims to provide a uniform means of connecting and managing micro-services.

And, more here:

The companies will offer the joint solution to a limited number of customers during the first part of 2018 with generally availability coming later in the year.

Source: Cisco, Google Join Forces on Hybrid Cloud

Fidelity’s cloud native stacks

“The company builds its apps in Docker containers. Apps that need to stay on the company’s premises run on an OpenStack private cloud. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are used for public cloud. Fidelity uses a combination of cloud-native management tools like CloudFormation for AWS, Heat templates for OpenStack, and Terraforms, which runs across both public and private environments. It uses Cloud Foundry as a PaaS layer that spans both public and private clouds, too.”

Read more

US Army is dead-set to be more agile in IT

“One of the problems that we’ve got — it’s not the problem but it’s a problem — you develop a piece of technology, we don’t have the resourcing flexibility to buy it.”

That means the Army is forced to buy a technology available today it thinks it will need in 2025, when what it truly needs hasn’t been developed yet.

“[Say] you came up with something new that I really need on the battlefield based on a threat, I have no ability to integrate that into my platform. So whether it’s buy, try, decide or adapt and buy, this allows us to test technology, put it in a demonstrative, experimental environment .… Maybe I want to give it to this unit that’s going to this particular place and get feedback, and then I iterate the whole Army.”

Source: Army hopes to get past ‘treating symptoms’ with streamlined adapt-and-buy approach

Good, simple explanation of Service Level Objectives (SLOs)

SLOs are objectives that your business aspires to meet and intends to take action to defend; just remember, your SLOs are not your SLAs (service level agreements)! You should pick SLOs that represent the most critical aspects of the user experience. If you meet an SLO, your users and your business should be happy. Conversely, if the system does not meet the SLO, that implies there are users who are being made unhappy!

Source: Building good SLOs – CRE life lessons

All those eyeballs

The economics of attention markets focuses on three features. First it focuses on
time as the key dimension of competition since it is what is being bought and sold. Second, it focuses on content since it plays a central role in acquiring time, embedding advertising messages, and operating efficient attention platforms. And third it focuses on the scarcity of time and the implications of that for competition among attention platforms.

Source: The Economics of Attention

Companies that loose billions have a hard time being successful

How all these unprofitable companies sustaining high valuations:

bending reality today has three elements: a vision, fast growth, and financing.

But:

A few firms other than Amazon have defied the odds. Over the past 20 years Las Vegas Sands, a casino firm, Royal Caribbean, a cruise-line company, and Micron Technology, a chip-maker, each lost $1bn or more for two consecutive years and went on to prosper. But the chances of success are slim. Of the current members of the Russell 1000 index, since 1997 only 37 have lost $1bn or more for at least two years in a row. Of these, 21 still lose money.

Source: SchumpeterFirms that burn up $1bn a year are sexy but statistically doomed