The winner for biggest buzzword of 2017 in the enterprise tech world could very well be Digital Transformation. Despite few people being able to succinctly define it, the fact is that the idea has overtaken the attention of executives and is the main action item on the list of CEO priorities.
What that means for you is that it is also your priority. But what do we even mean by “Digital Transformation”? Here is the official Wikipedia definition:
Digital transformation is the application of digital technologies to fundamentally impact all aspects of business and society.
Because most of people reading this blog are technologists, we get this. But there is a fundamentally bigger groundswell happening, encapsulated by the words of Marc Andreessen, formerly of Opsware and founder of one of the hottest VC firm right now, Andreessen Horowitz. In an article Marc wrote in 2011, he penned these immortal words:
Software is eating the world.
Boom, gauntlet thrown! Think about it, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon alone make up over $3 trillion in market cap. They only managed to add $181 billion in value the week prior. Combined with their speed and agility and talent, FAMGA (definitely has the ring of a nefarious organization) are able to move into new markets with blazing speed.
Meanwhile, the non-tech world is scrambling to stay relevant. That’s why Digital Transformation is the new C-suite mantra. But enterprises are mired in the legacy processes, technologies, and thinking. Most transformation is “transformation” in name only. If you are going to become digital, you need to adopt the relevant technologies, acquire the talent to enable innovation, and deploy the tools that enable that talent to be even more productive.
What enterprises need is a digital jumpstart to becoming more agile and tech centric. That jumpstart does not include visiting a bunch of tech companies in Silicon Valley, hiring a bunch of Agile coaches, or appointing a Chief Digital Officer. It involves building a true developer-centric culture led by engineers, not professional managers. It also means partnering with companies on the process of hiring developer talent, increasing the productivity and processes of engineering teams, and bringing engineering teams closer to customers. If you are catching the ongoing theme, it is to invest more in developers, their work environment, and the ownership they have in driving transformation.
If software is eating the world, then developers are the ones driving the engine. That is the secret sauce for the growth and scale of the current tech giants. They have the mindshare of programmers, they give them the tools to be productive, and they have the influence to drive global tech trends.
Is your company embarking on a digital transformation? If so, do you have the engineering talent and culture needed to succeed?
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Back to actual programming questions, this one messed me up a few times…
I help senior IT leaders and companies solve the challenges involved in digital transformation and moving towards a developer-centric culture that delivers innovation and customer value. In my day job, you can find me here.