Agile & DevOps

Digital Transformation – Tales from a Christmas shopper

I was online the other day doing a spot of Christmas shopping and, as usual, I gravitated towards retail behemoth that is Amazon. This is usually my first stop for web shopping but surprisingly this time I couldn’t find what I wanted at the price I wanted to pay.

Cue a quick Google search and, hey presto, another better and cheaper option popped up.

‘Ahh, but that means I’ll have to enter all my personal details and card info so can I really be bothered?’

In this case – yes!

Not only was it cheaper but they also offered me free delivery – TODAY!

And not only was it just delivery today but a selection of time slots were offered! That was enough to sell it to me, and after a quick entry of my details, the order was done and dusted.

I choose my time, got a text to tell me when my order was due and my delivery was received bang in the middle of my chosen slot.

This is quality service.

This is how I want to do business.

This is the digital transformation at work in the real world.

Delivering Change at the pace of business

I’ve heard a lot about digital transformation and the digital economy recently. At the IT conferences I’ve been too over the last few months it’s been the mainstay subject of the keynote speeches, but it’s all-too-often discussed in a slightly abstract way.

Businesses cannot afford to be left behind. They cannot fail to respond to the changing, and increasingly very demanding wishes of their customers. If they do they risk the fate of Blockbuster, Kodak, Nokia and other giants that have fallen on tough times.

DevOps provides IT alignment with the business.

In many cases companies are turning to DevOps to give them the agility and operational benefits that are needed to embrace the digital age.

I work primarily with SAP and, unsurprisingly, DevOps has been a little slow on the uptake here. But it’s absolutely crucial for organizations running SAP to be agile and responsive to market demands and I’m definitely starting to see some traction there.

It’s really hard to provide a great customer experience at the front end if the underlying SAP systems and processes can’t be adapted to work alongside.

This is the big challenge that SAP has been facing for some time, but it’s starting to become a pressing reality.

I know the retailer that gave me a fantastic customer experience runs SAP, so my assumption is that they’ve done something great there with their systems to make them stand out in a massively competitive marketplace.

And this is what it’s about in today’s world. You need to be able to adapt, to do something different, something better than your competitors.

I recently wrote a post about how to move to daily SAP releases. This is all about embracing the digital economy so business changes can be delivered and realized more quickly.

It’s not necessarily about delivering changes every day but having processes in place for IT to be able to quickly respond to business and market demands. It’s about having the business integrated into the process and about breaking down team barriers so people work together to create great success.

And as I read recently from Kurt Bittner at Forrester, DevOps sounds like a buzzword but actually this is the way that organizations are going to be working over the coming years.

So the pressure for SAP to adopt DevOps continues as we strive to get businesses down from bi-annual and quarterly releases to monthly, weekly and even daily ones. It’s not easy and can’t be done overnight but the benefits can be tremendous.

Oh and by the way, the retailer I was talking about here is Argos and I’ll definitely be returning there in the future. Does it mean I won’t use Amazon now? Of course not, but the bookmarks for these two organizations now sit side by side in my browser and it’s no longer a foregone conclusion as to which one I will choose.

If you run SAP, you know that IT needs to respond at the pace of business. This short webinar explains some real practical steps that will help implement Continuous Delivery in your organization. It’s well worth a watch.

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