“The research effort included a total of 1,024 individuals, all of whom have a role that involves daily use of Spring.”
77% of the respondents have been using Spring Boot for 3 years or more. So, these are people very familiar with Spring and Java.
Industries: technology companies (30%) and financial services companies (20%). All major sectors are represented, including retail (8%), services (6%), and healthcare (5%).
37% work at organizations of 5,000 to 10,000+ staff. Of that, 28% from 10,000+ orgs.
So, a bit heavy on tech companies, but good enough on both industries and diverse spread of organization size.
“52% of developers surveyed use Spring boot as their only or primary development platform.”
No slow-down in use: “75% of respondents expect Spring Boot usage to grow over the next 2 years.”
Uses, lots of API use, interesting:
Lots of public cloud only use: “When asked where they deploy their Spring Boot apps, 57% of respondents were either deploying exclusively to public cloud (21%) or in a hybrid mode with both on-prem/private and public cloud deployments.”
– Most running in containers – 65% containerize their apps, 30% planning to.
…to run in kubernetes: 44% already running in kubernetes, 31% plan to in the next 12 months.
Air France KLM modernized their payments service recently, EPASS. This is a 12 year old system that provides the backend for processing purchasing airline tickets (and other things, I guess) from numerous front-ends: the web, mobile app, and social apps as well. The system was difficult to scale, it required manually adding new servers and had a long development cycle. As more and more people want to interact with Air France KLM through software (phones, online, in WhatsApp, or whatever other “channel”), they want to be able to evolve their software quickly. They want to use software as a core innovation tool for improving customer experience and, thus, business. So, here we see one of their first experiences modernizing their backend and transforming how they do software.
Talk presented by Oya Ünlü Duygulu and Patrick Zijlstra.
-Rick in intro: transformed payments platform in 6 weeks.
– [Corporate vision] is to provide good, “our purpose as an airline group is create memorable experiences for our passengers.
– So, they want to (1.) focus on customer centricity, (2.) innovation, and, (3.) efficiencies in our processes.
– “Digital” as the primary channel is on the rise. People want to interact through apps and such. So, KLM needs to meet the customers there… “As an airline, we want to be where our passengers are” (~3:00)
– Some examples of digital features: “‘About 10 percent of the ideas actually end up on the market. A recent example of this is the hand baggage check in the KLM app. Through augmented reality travelers can see whether their hand luggage meets the set dimensions. This function went live last month. ‘ Six months ago, a 3D rendering of the business class seats was also shown when checking in online. ‘This with the idea of stimulating the sale of these chairs.”
– For example, listening and interacting with customers in social media [something I’ve done many times – it’s great to chat with someone (or a bot?) in WhatsApps, Twitter, etc. instead of a phone call]. (~3:40) Social media is now “our closest connection to passengers.” And in China: “For instance, Chinese travelers rely immensely on mobile devices. How can these personal devices be used for authentication – identity management, payment etc. to streamline the journey wherever possible? In China, the whole landscape is different, and we need to ensure we aren’t relying overtly on drawing customers only to our touch-points.”
– (~3:10) merged together KLM and Air France backends to get less complexity in the back-end and a unified experience in the front-end for customers. Social media is now “our closest connection to passengers.”
– The use SAFe release trains (which they call “release planes”), mapped to customer value journeys, e.g., sales, paid products, or airport.
– In the digital department, they have about than 50 product teams.
– Planning every three months, come together get a roadmap from the business, and all the teams plan together. Then they start sprinting bi-weekly.
– Also shared services and practices team.
– Their /goals:
– (~5:50) “We are designing our products focused on time to market, innovation, robustness, and security.”
– Focusing on getting CI/CD in place.
– Also, reducing complexity and speeding up business value [realization], so we are moving towards a microservices architecture.
– [Business stuff:] EPASS handles payments from many places, created 12 years ago. Wanted to modernize [not sure why]. They worked with Pivotal Labs on modernization for a six wee project.
– EPASS app – made 12 years ago, handles about 37,000 payments transactions per day. Takes care of all online revenue.
– Six week engagement with Pivotal Labs. This brought expertiese from the outside, combined with their existing skills.
– “Six weeks is very ambitious for such a project, but getting this expertise from Pivotal and their dedication we made a success story at the end.”
– Modernization road-map for EPASS.
– We want to speed up with release cycles, which was then one month. [Move to single piece work-flow: whenever a user story is ready, then it can go live.]
– In six weeks, all the could focus on was transforming the app and moving it to the new platform [PCF]. But, they could also modernize their skills by adding in TDD and pair programming.
– Switches to Patrick.
– (~10:55) – they go over their way of working.
– Inception to set expectations. Outception to look back at what was achieved. Some blocker removal meetings. And the usual agile meetings.
– Two teams: one does modernization, the other delivers business features.
– Worked in one week iterations.
– Doing pair programming. “We noticed that this really increases the code quality that we deliver.”
– (~12:30) EPASS architecture. Was hosted on bare-metal Tomcat server. To scale, had to add new server and put EPASS software on it. This was becoming a hassle and fixing that was a motivation to move to VMware Tanzu.
– (~14:00) new architecture – five different components. Three in Tanzu Application Service.
– After, the majority of things were put in VMware Tanzu…
– [Picked some small things at first to test stuff out, hardcoded secrets but later fixed that – used CredHub – in long term will move to Vault.]
– (~16:00) Used Spring Boot, adding health check [this is good to highlight, that it gets instrumented/observable “for free”].
– “It was invigorating working to work with the Pivotal experts and now there’s more confidence in the team to continue.”
– Used Bamboo, added in automation stuff for deployment…
– Problems: networking problems
– Benefits: response times improved by 10%; “all the power for scaling is within the product team itself” instead of having to work with other groups, file tickets, etc. Also, time to patch is within 72 hours (3 days).
– (~21:08) “The experience was very positive. It was invigorating to work with the Pivotal experts. And, now there’s more confidence within the team to continue to improve the application.”
– The projects have been finished for a few months. No more components in bare-metal Tomcat.
– “From the organization side, there is no more fear of big changes. If such an old application as EPASS can transform, then it’s possible for any application.”
– “So more and more and more applications will be moving to TAS [Tanzu Application Service].”
The report goes over how software development needs and programs should adapt to the urgency that COVID brings. Highlights:
Obviously, teams are working from home more now. This exposes all of the face-to-face, undocumented processes that were happening (“manual processes address handoffs across departmental boundaries”). If there were too many, work can’t happen as well anymore when everyone is working from home.
“The trend catapulted use of Zoom, a videoconference service, from 10 million average daily users to 200 million during March 2020 and introduced us to our coworkers’ tastes in home décor.1 But it also separated millions of workers from the paper files they require to complete their missions, breaking millions of business processes. Paper files are an obvious point of failure, but manual processes based on desktop tools like excel and email lack visibility and tracking that are vital to remote workers.”
Paperless efforts are really on the front-burner now: “any enterprise relying on paper to advance its processes needs to automate just to continue to function.”
Also: “Topping the list for most now are tracking and tracing applications: tracking of employees, people entering hospitals and other sensitive buildings, equipment, facilities, patients, tests, research results, and on and on. These applications are not throwaways; they’re business-critical. and in the public sector, throw in new apps to manage new support, recovery, and stimulus programs or support existing programs straining under unprecedented volumes. Then in financial services, you have new servicing apps: servicing debt, defaults, new rescue programs, moratoriums, etc. (rather than new customers and new products and services). and any enterprise relying on paper to advance its processes needs to automate just to continue to function.”
And, more app types:
This urgency is driving business people to (finally) start getting involved more in IT/software: “as organizations scramble to fix processes and rapidly automate to keep them running, it becomes clear that businesspeople are the primary source of operations insight…. Bringing businesspeople closer to the development process through iterative, rapid prototyping and sometimes allowing them to develop solutions on their own offers promise for much faster and more agile responses to business needs.”
With apps being used remotely (as a SaaS, over the internet), organizations will likely discover new scaling needs – when the apps run outside the corporate network, and are home grown. “Scale becomes a vital focus. Many development teams are getting their first glimpse at what massive scaling looks like for their applications.”
Companies are overworking staff: “a us hospital network made Java developers scramble 24×7 for 20 days to create a visitor registration application to extend its hospital administration system.” [This isn’t sustainable and if done too much will leave a bad taste in staff’s mouth about “agile” and “digital transformation.”]
The authors really like and recommend low-code stuff. This probably makes sense to get a lot of line-of-business people to start putting together wizards and UI-driven workflows around databases, Excel/CSV, and APIs to ERP systems.
Because of lack of skills, they setup a team (named Stratus) to centralize [and also market?] the new platform.
(~4:10) – Building a centralized, standardized platform is important for efficiencies (reducing duplicated efforts) but also governance and maintainability, long-term. “We are building a solid container platform. Why would a team not do it themselves? If you have about 600 teams that want to use containers and everyone would need to build their own unique container platform, it would become unmanageable as a company you cannot control it, and it would be a lot of reinventing the wheel.” MS-Word dictation transcription: And that’s something you don’t want because then things are wasting, the team’s time, the valuable time so therefore it would be good if one team would build a strong foundation or the other teams can build on top of that. Also need to enforce policies/governance/security on the team’s work.
They do the typical platform team stuff – building the platform, running it, evolving it, consulting for it, etc.
They basically use Azure, with some AWS it seems:
~7:30 figuring this out all on your own can be very time consuming – maybe a couple years of learning, PoC’ing, [vendor negotiations], etc. We needed to do it in one. We started with the CNCF reference diagram.
[I didn’t pay attention closely enough much beyond to take good notes.]
Jana Werner and Barry O’Reilly have a great case study and commentary of transformation at a couple organizations, primarily a bank. I was lucky enough to get Jana on for an interview on Software Defined Talk, talking about the case, information theory, and Nietzche. It should be in the podcast feed next week.
Here’s some of my highlights:
“In one Financial Services organization we’ve been able to implement an increase to contactless card payment limits in days where the previous increase took months. We stood up a work from home solution for call centre staff, automated processes and relieved pressure on teams having to manually capture customer data over the phone in 3.5 weeks—a record for service delivery and a credit to the teams and individuals who made this possible.”
Focus on the outcome, not following the process, or working a lot: “The subtle yet powerful shift to outcome-based measures of success — reducing and resolving customer issues — over traditional output-based deliverables of being on time, budget and scope had a pronounced impact on productivity and employee satisfaction.”
When the meeting (the bureaucracy) becomes the product: “Slide decks, paper proposals and steering group sessions all take a significant investment to prepare, avoiding “difficult” conversations by socializing and re-socializing in advance of exec meetings, deferring decisions, requesting a raft of meeting minutes to document, correcting, amending and signing them off—the majority of which few people read.”
This effects how the entire organization runs, and, indeed the pace of delivery: “The speed of these cycles determines the heartbeat of the organization.”
Management starts asking different questions: “Responses can now shift post-release from ‘How could you have got this wrong?’ to ‘What is our next best action?’ Seeing how shipping smaller slices allows us to iterate, also means leaders can set direction and monitor metrics over setting targets and failing anything but perfect results.”
Often, management has failed to build a system (vision, strategy, norms, “culture,” etc.) that makes staff’s job clear. That’s a problem! “Test your strategy cascade methods to maintain the clear purpose, problems and outcomes teams are working towards. Ask teams if there’s a clear line of sight between the objectives, and how their work contributes to achieve your shared success. If they can’t see it, fix it. Maximising both organizational alignment and autonomy can be the biggest accelerant for sustainable pace, employee engagement and amazing customers experiences.”
And: “The biggest hurdle to change is people not believing it’s possible.”
Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bar eats you.
Where does the time go? It’s especially hard when your mind betrays you and you go a little crazy. My mornings often start well: sitting and reading with some coffee before everyone else wakes up. Just like my dad!
Then it’s the rodeo to get the kids off to school, the source of much strife and a potential leap into a bad day if things go poorly. But then there’s a bike ride back home, and with that coffee and the day ahead of my, my mind races with possibilities and ideas.
And, back at the desk, if I don’t dive in and start on work immediately, I loose track and get distracted. I have to maintain discipline of just not reading emails and Slack and all these things that want my attention.
I think that’s mostly bullshit, at best, misunderstood: us IT people throw too much worth into the sacredness of culture and process things – and then we wonder why enterprises find it so hard to adopt the practices – to get better – when we keep saying it’s not about using tools but fundamentally changing how you think and operate.
So, was I supposed to get that abstract written up by now? Yes. Perhaps this afternoon.
It’s lunch time here in Amsterdam, so it’s time to clear out the ephemera:
I rewatched this modernization webinar from AirFrance-KLM. There’s lots of good tips on putting together your modernization strategy and program. They have a portfolio of over 2,000 applications, the oldest from 1968! The airline runs well, but they wanted to add in more agility and be ready for running on new types of infrastructure, clouds. So, they’ve started small and slowly been doing projects, learning along the way, and then scaling up once they know better how to proceed. It reminds me of that line from a US Air Force slide: you can’t scale agile until you can do agile well on the small scale. I’ve got lots of notes and will hopefully write it up soon.
The Moldy Peaches – that song from Juno came up on Kim’s playlist last night and I remembers how much I liked this album. “Let’s go to the beach. Let’s talk about movies. Let’s get a bite to eat.” What was I doing in 2001? Boy, that’s three of four life-times away. I barely remember, but I think I was there. And who can forget: “THESE BURGERS ARE CRAZY.”
Pivot podcast episode – Scott suggests throwing in the towel when it comes to composting with Amazon: sell your retail business and buy Amazon stock. Is that a valid strategy? I suppose Berkshire Hathaway does that, other holding companies.
New theory: in a service environment (hotels, restaurants, even retail) instead of worrying about the unknown, assertive people ask questions and demand to have things the way they want. They order coffee left at the door in the morning instead of questing for it in the morning or being satisfied with in-room coffee. What’s key to imitate is that they’re polite, smile, and are gently but clearly assertive.
While this is sort of a bummer story for Pivotal (we’d like to have this account), it has a good profile of American and their needs in it. All of which are representative of other large organizations, e.g.:
Application types: “The first result is that the airline will migrate to the IBM Cloud some of its critical applications, including the main website, its customer-facing mobile app and its global network of check-in kiosks. Other workloads and tools, such as the company’s Cargo customer website, also will be moved to the IBM Cloud.”
Managed data-centers/cloud: “The airline will be able to utilize the global footprint of IBM Cloud, which consists of more than 50 data centers in 17 countries, in addition to a wide range of application development capabilities.”
Long-term planning: “We wanted to make sure that the cloud provider would be using Cloud Foundry and open-source technologies so we don’t get locked in by proprietary solutions,” Grubbs said. “We also wanted a partner that would offer us the agility to innovate at the organizational and process levels and have deep industry expertise with security at the core.”
We want to do all the new meat-ware: “As part of this process, American will work with IBM Global Services to use IBM’s Garage Methodology of creating applications through a micro-services architecture, design thinking, agile methodology, DevOps and lean development, the company said.”
Legacy, it’s how you got here: “IBM Cloud will help enable developers to build and change application functionalities for the airline’s customers. These customer-facing systems will be on the IBM Public Cloud, while American will maintain backend connectivity to other on-premise legacy and third-party systems, for true Hybrid Cloud functionality.”
There’s a lot going on: “American Airlines and its subsidiary, American Eagle, offer an average of 6,700 flights per day to about 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.”
Looking at how company’s arrange their sales (and marketing) organizations is an interesting view into the effect of “cloud” on how IT is used and consumed. This week Microsoft is re-arranging it’s sales force to make it more cloud-friendly, people say.
From what I can tell with my dilettante analyst, Microsoft’s theory appears to be that:
sales people need to be more technically savvy on cloud,
have more vertical knowledge (how does cloud apply to my industry?), and,
target larger accounts (where the top and bottom line revenue is worth having a big sales venture, and to bring in volume and cash to public cloud).
Also, with 75% being outside of the US, it’s a dramatic change internationally.
The company said it is implementing the changes not to cut costs, but to improve how it handles sales; specifically, it said it will use employees who are more knowledgeable about specific verticals so they can sell bigger packages, CNBC reports.
As Microsoft vies for more enterprise cloud clients, having better trained salespeople, who are knowledgeable about a specific vertical, will mean they are better equipped to meet client needs. To that end, Microsoft said in an internal memo that it would split commercial sales into two segments – one targeting the biggest customers and one on small and medium clients. In addition, Microsoft employees will be aligned around six industry verticals – manufacturing, financial services, retail, health, education and government.
With recent changes to its enterprise agreement to exclude smaller companies, Microsoft is focusing on bigger deals that require fewer staff, while everyone else gets shifted onto a per-person consumption payment model for Microsoft’s cloudy services.
In the above, you see the blue bar slowly decreasing in the out-years meaning less “traditional” spend and more “cloud” spend. The pricing dynamics and units shipping in public cloud are all whack compared to private cloud (Google, Amazon, and Azure’s hardware needs are much different than private cloud needs), but looking at the red bar gives you an interesting perspective on new build out at enterprises. And, thus, you can get a sense for shifting buyer behaviors in IT…and why you’d want to re-arrange how you sell to them. See more recent details from IDC.
I was on vacation last week, so this notebook is a little stale. Perishable news. (JOKES!)
The deal size is $13.7bn, a 30% premium; expected to close in the second half of this year (Todd Bishop)
Highly likely to remain independent: “Reading between the lines of Bezos’ statement, Amazon is signaling that it doesn’t plan to disrupt what Whole Foods is doing with a major shakeup of the retailer’s infrastructure or strategy in the near term. Amazon has a history of allowing acquired companies — from Audible to Twitch to Zappos — to continue operating with relative independence, with some product and feature integrations.” (Ibid.)
Not good for competition
Investors really believe in that AMZN magic: “In total, those five grocery chains [Target, CostCo, Kroger, Walmart, SuperValu] shed about $26.7 billion in market capitalization between the market’s close Thursday and Friday morning, as investors worried that Amazon deeper push into the industry could be a death knell for some.”
EU too: “The worries weren’t just contained to U.S. markets. Some investors in the U.K. and Europe also saw the purchase as a sign that Amazon could take its grocery ambitions global. Shares of French retailer Carrefour fell sharply on the news, about 4%, while in London, Tesco shed 6% and Sainsbury dropped 5%.”
Like Amazon, Whole Foods is big into private label: “Whole Foods generates $2.3 billion worth of private label and exclusive brand sales per year; its private label products account for 32% of items in Instacart’s food category, taking up far more of the shelf than Walmart Grocery (16%) and Peapod (6%).”
(Further) driving down supplier costs: “It’s also possible that Amazon will use Whole Food’s partnerships with suppliers to get more of them on the Amazon platform. Amazon and Whole Foods will be tough negotiators, but the lure of the 300 million customer accounts on Amazon.com, in addition to all of its other CPG-related programs, will be tough to turn down.”
More: “he scale at which Amazon is making use of this strategy should force CPG brands and Big Box retailers to make some major changes to their distribution strategies.”
“The truth, though, is that Amazon is buying a customer — the first-and-best customer that will instantly bring its grocery efforts to scale.”
“What I expect Amazon to do over the next few years is transform the Whole Foods supply chain into a service architecture based on primitives: meat, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, non-perishables”c
“At its core Amazon is a services provider enabled — and protected — by scale.”
This should remind you of the “middle-man”/unpaid for buy in my warehouse/drop-ship type of advanced retail play that the likes of Dell made famous.
I want pizza and baby-wipes, not software – this kind of argument (though, not really “invalid”) makes me bristle. It’s like a pizza company saying they’re a technology company. As long as the pizza comes in the box and the paper-towels come in the mail, they can call themselves whatever they want…but the pizza shop and Amazon are, to me, a pizza and retail company. How they get the pizza into my mouth is not my problem. Since I’m a paying customer in these instances, it’s not like the “you are the product” epiphany of .com, eye-ball companies.
“Grocery remains the most under-penetrated e-commerce category, with less than 5% of sales happening online. However, with 20% of grocery sales estimated to begin online by 2025, brands investing in digital will reap the rewards.” (Elisabeth Rosen)
Online groceries penetration: “The online grocery business is still in its infancy. Last month, for example, 7% of U.S. consumers ordered groceries online, according to Portalatin. Of this group, 52% already has an Amazon Prime account. Groceries represent “the final frontier for Amazon — they haven’t quite cracked the code on that, but they already have a relationship with consumers.”
Mint says that last year, my family of two adults and two kids spent ~$15,000 at the grocery store. So that’s around what you’re upper-middle-class people (or whatever I am somewhere in the 90th percentile) spend, I guess.
For us consumers…
Many predict either free or highly discounted delivery fees for Amazon Prime members. That certainly makes sense as Amazon Video and Music, and Prime Now, shows.