SHARE 2017: Do you know the way to San Jose?

Introduction

While we’re no strangers to SHARE, our customers are entering unfamiliar territories in many ways so it’s fitting we should all pitch up somewhere new for this year’s event. And if this song gets stuck in your head for days and days – then welcome to my world.

It’s the first SHARE event of 2017 and a great platform for meeting the mainframe community. It’s also a classic 1960s song, so I thought I’d reference it to look ahead to what SHAREgoers can expect this year.

Our best people are there with good news on digital transformation. Here’s what it all means. Just imagine Dionne Warwick singing it.

“I’m going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose”

Peace of mind. Important for every IT organization, business-critical for the enterprise mainframe world. Risk-averse, security conscious, presiding over their must-not-fail core systems. Oh – and they must also find the bandwidth and resources to support innovation. Peace of mind? Good luck with that.

A few things, there. First up, we’ll be demonstrating how we’ve added greater security provision to the mainframe and terminal emulation environments to ensure the critical data remains protected, secured.

Second, peace of mind is about knowing what the future has in store. And that’s digital transformation. Transformation is essential for remaining competitive in a digital world. The ‘new speed of business’ shifts up a gear every year. Enterprise software innovation on the mainframe can improve speed, efficiency, collaboration, and customer engagement. You just need to know how to do it.

For many of our customers, enterprise IT and the mainframe are almost synonymous. Connecting the two to create the forward-thinking innovation needed to compete in the digitally-enabled marketplace is why people are coming to SHARE.

SHARE is where you taste the Micro Focus flavor of innovation. New is good, but realizing extra value through increased efficiency, agility and cost savings from the data and business logic you already own is even better. If you’re looking to make some smart IT investments this year, then SHARE participation could realize a pretty good return.

I spoke to Ed Airey, Solutions Marketing Director here at Micro Focus, about finding this peace of mind. “As we hear often, keeping pace with change remains a challenge for most mainframe shops. In this digital age, expectations for the enterprise couldn’t be higher. Transforming the business to move faster, improve efficiency and security while modernizing core applications are key. Success requires a new strategy that delivers on that digital promise to delight the customer. Our Micro Focus solutions supporting the IBM Mainframe, make that happen – helping customers innovate faster and with lower risk …and peace of mind.”

 “I’ve got lots of friends in San Jose”

This one is as simple as it is literal. Lots of our mainframe friends will be in San Jose, so share a space with seasoned enterprise IT professionals, hear their successes and lessons learned.

The full lineup includes more than 500 technical sessions. Check out these highlights:

It’s good to see the EXECUForum back for San Jose. This two-day, on-site event unites enterprise IT leaders and executives for strategic business discussions on technology topics. We address key business challenges and share corporate strategies around business direction with industry peers. Micro Focus will participate, having put the topic of ‘new workload’ on the agenda – the growth opportunities for z systems remain impressive, as we recently mentioned.  Check out the agenda of EXECUForum here.

 “You can really breathe in San Jose”

The final lyrical metaphor for me is about taking time to understand, to witness all that the technology has to offer. To really breathe in the possibilities. To think about what digital transformation might look like for your mainframe organization – and how Micro Focus might deliver that vision.

We all want to use resources wisely, so save time and money and decrease the chance of error by talking to the product experts at the user- and vendor-led sessions, workshops and hands-on labs. Our booth will be full of mainframe experts ready to talk enterprise IT security, DevOps, AppDev, modernization and more. Stop by the SHARE Technology Exchange Expo, take a breather, maybe even play a game of Plinko.

We’re ready when you are.

DevOps and Organizational Culture

In the Micro Focus blog series on DevOps, Derek Britton looked the bottlenecks of low collaboration, inefficient development and lengthy testing cycles and how they can be overcome with a pragmatic, technological solution. Here, he turns his attention to that most indiscernible of obstacles: corporate culture.

Letting it breathe

In the Micro Focus blog series on DevOps, I looked the bottlenecks of low collaboration, inefficient development and lengthy testing cycles and how a pragmatic technological solution can overcome them. Here my attention turns to that most indiscernible of obstacles: corporate culture.

Introduction

It has been said that 2016 could be the year DevOps came of age. It continues to gain mindshare including large enterprise accounts. Gartner projects a quarter of the Global 2,000 will have adopted DevOps this year, growing by 21%. Reflecting growing popularity, SHARE in March 2016 has its own DevOps track: “DevOps in the Enterprise”. SHARE has also added a DevOps discussion to its “EXECUforum” agenda, entitled “DevOps: Cultural Mindset”. (We are delighted to join luminaries from IBM, Compuware and CA on the panel).

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DevOps, as the name suggests, is a technical approach to a necessary business change, namely building new services faster for the business. Put another way, DevOps is a process change, a means to an end. Changing to embrace DevOps affects a number of disparate organizational elements, from IT groups to business, user and customer communities. Clearly, there are important cultural questions in terms of how the organization is ready to embrace DevOps. Culture is widely recognized as being at least as important as strategy. As one report observed, “Changing the culture and mind-set of people is not easy.”

Cultural Barriers to Adoption

Adopting DevOps may flounder for a variety of cultural reasons.

Why are we doing this? While establishing an agile-based methodology in the IT organization makes a lot of sense and, according to history, yielded impressive early results, the parent organization may often be ignorant of the new process. In fact, the business may still expect product roadmap milestones to be planned and met on an annualised basis as part of a traditional regimented plan-build-deliver cycle, unaware of the new dynamic. For IT, breaking down Portfolio and Product plans into Epic and then Iterations is -with a group of trained professionals working together –both viable and valuable. However, ensuring such plans are agreed and acted upon by the consumers of the technology (whether internal users or sales/marketing/customer representatives) is much, much harder, especially when the reason for the change is not clear outside IT. So while like-minded technicians might flock towards DevOps, end-users won’t subscribe to what is probably perceived as extra work for them. They just want results, working apps, not more work. They can’t see the benefit of change.

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Moving from big to small. DevOps espouses more rapid, incremental deliveries and a tighter feedback cycle to resolve difficulties and achieve customer satisfaction more quickly. That switch requires the shift from large-scale orchestrated deliveries to more frequent, smaller-scale incremental efforts. The change in dynamics mean there will be greater coordination required by more people on a more regular basis, and a certain level of disentanglement of both application sets and job functions. As one observer put it, successful adoption will require teams to “Embrace the Chaos”. But chaotic it will be, and for larger, more-established, more hierarchical organizations, or those who preside over larger (sometimes referred to as monolithic) systems, that chaos will be most keenly felt.

We don’t have the bandwidth. Restricted infrastructure resources, a problem sometimes faced in large organizations with many parallel work streams is another genuine concern. In some organisations, the change from one model to another might just feel too big. One of the most common bottlenecks is the inability to undertake rapid test cycles as part of a process of continuous integration. With autonomous teams and no restrictions on test environments, as DevOps will need, rapid testing sounds viable. However in a more traditional, regimented IT world, where resources are allocated as part of a planned-for, charged-for system, “just running some tests” is not as simple as that. It might take days, if not longer, to commission a test environment and a very real budget to manage.

Cultural Change – Practicality and Transparency

DevOps is a major upheaval, a major change program. Such change programs need to be clearly outlined, understood, and measurable. So how might DevOps promote wider cultural acceptance?

Get Out There. Failure to involve all stakeholders in a major change program will result in inevitable resistance. Ignorance of why the change is being made will hamper progress. Establishing a clear vision across the organization of why there is a new approach to software deliveries is the fundamental cornerstone of its adoption. To that end, stakeholders need to hear that the reason for the new approach is that the organization is trying to improve the quality of the technology service, and is therefore aiming to deliver more frequently to determine faster feedback, and course-correct. Such a vision is predicated by a top-down C-level sponsorship. After all, the “end game” is new services and customer satisfaction or some other tangible strategic business benefit: DevOps is merely a vehicle to achieve that. Explained this way, especially in the always-on digital age, it is wholly appropriate and acceptable for the supplier to seek to engage more frequently with their users. In a business context in vision, the purpose of DevOps becomes far more tangible and sensible to non-IT stakeholders.

Get Amongst IT. Similarly, for teams responsible for delivering software, from the development, QA and operations functions, previous functional silos and hierarchy no longer apply so readily. But transitioning to a team-oriented structure may take time. Some organizations are borrowing ideas from Agile by establishing functional teams which are temporary for the duration of a major release, or epic, etc. Additionally, many IT organizations are driving internal change with the help of a senior DevOps champion. One organization I know has chosen their new CIO specifically because of their DevOps experience and vision.

Build Bridges. There may appear to be no straightforward resolution to incumbent resource availability (be it related to people, hardware or software), and this is where pragmatism and practicality comes to the fore. Previously accepted practices and platforms may not be as fixed as might first appear. There are a variety of technical solutions available to improving development, testing and efficiency of collaboration for mainframe teams. They can realistically achieve far greater frequency and reach a wider variety of users by exploiting new technical solutions. (One example is Micro Focus’ solution, here).

DevOps bandwidth

Conclusion

Larger organizations have every opportunity to embrace DevOps by taking the cultural aspect of change as seriously as the underlying technical and operational approach they are aiming to use. Practical and pragmatic solutions exist to overcome fundamental operational roadblocks; a comprehensive and transparent cultural change program will also be needed to promote widespread adoption. As a recent ComputerWorld headline put it “Culture is Key to DevOps Success”.

Find Micro Focus at booth #525 at SHARE or visit our dedicated DevOps resources if you can’t attend the event in person.

Get your SHARE

SHARE is the place to get up to speed on the hottest enterprise IT topics and choose from more than 500 technical education sessions. Derek Britton looks forward to this year’s Orlando event.

Along with all the well-deserved attention that COBOL received when it hit 50, the mainframe enjoyed when it hit the half-century  and CICS will surely pick up when it hits the same landmark, another tech high water mark is about to be reached.

Mainframe50press

It’s the 60th anniversary of a US-based, internationally-focused event that provides a great platform for free-thinking and idea-sharing. No, not Woodstock – that was practically yesterday compared to this. Younger than Cher and more popular than the chair, SHARE remains the go-to event for tech pros looking to learn, network – and maybe influence industry thinking.

There really is nothing like it. The list of partners says plenty. Big Blue remains the Strategic Partner and other names provide the endorsement that potential attendees are looking for, including Oracle, BMC and these guys.

Meet the people

For these organizations, SHARE represents a great opportunity to get the user-driven perspective that drives the creation of problem-solving products that meet genuine business needs. For delegates, this is the place to get up to speed on the hottest enterprise IT topics and choose from more than 500 technical education sessions.

Technical sessions like this one. It’s our lunch and learn. So that’s free food and a taste of a streamlined mainframe application build process on the side. Ed Airey and Bob Schoppert give out the good stuff that could help you build, test and manage better mainframe applications, faster.

Micro Focus loves SHARE. It’s where we get to showcase our stuff to people who get it. It’s where we hear about their strategic challenges and discuss ways we can help them on their application modernization journey. Who knows what theme will be this year? We’re hearing a lot about the challenges of sourcing the right development skills – and we have good news on that score.

Meet Micro Focus!

We never miss SHARE and we’ll be there again this year. We’ll be bringing our roadshow along to the Orlando event on August 9–14 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Florida.

So come along and see us at Booth #307. You can’t miss the elephant. It’s a big year. It would be great to SHARE it with you.

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