It sounds counterintuitive but change is a constant factor. The reason why it sounds so strange is because something that is constant normally doesn’t change. Unless of course the fact that it changes is the thing that is constant. Anyways, we have to live with change because it’s not only constant, it is also all around us. People change, your business changes and even the season change. The latter of course in a yearly cycle.
Change can be hard
At Yenlo we also change. As an organization but also with our portfolio of services and even our website has changed recently with a fresh new look. I would invite you to look around if you haven’t seen it already. Tell me what you think, I’d love to hear it!
But not everyone embraces change. Some people like when things stay like they are now. Other people like to do what they have been doing almost forever. But there is no escaping change. One of the most important drivers of change is of course technology. Technology has been the driver of change over the centuries. And with technology I do not mean to high-tech technology but also the invention of the steam engine. They played an important role in the Industrial Revolution and because of them a lot of change occurred. Take for instance the steam train that the revolutionized travel. The steam train of course is a relic of the past been superseded by electrical trains. Other inventions like airplanes allow you to travel faster over longer distances.
In some cases, change means saying goodbye, in other cases we are not saying goodbye but welcoming something else in addition to what we already have. But for those of you who read my blogs regularly, you know that the technology can stick around for many years. Just look at your IT landscape. If you are working at a large bank or government department, there are technologies like Cobol that very well might be still playing a role. And that’s not a bad thing per se. As long as you’re able to still get the value from the technology without too many headaches about maintaining the technology, there is no dire reason to change.
The road to change
I hate it when someone comes up to me and says: “We need to change”. What I hate about it, is that it shouldn’t be something that other people tell me, it should be something that I know and that I actually plan. In my mind and even on paper I have a list of things that I know we need to change when the time is right. And in this case, timing is something that is very important. Because if you are too early, you might not get the benefits of the change. If you are too late, it might hurt your business. The sweet spot of course is somewhere in the middle. Finding the sweet spot is not exact science, but more of a gut feeling. So, how do you prepare for change?
First of all, you need to know what you have as an inventory in your IT landscape. What systems are running? Which software? On what hardware? With what operating system? This are just a few questions that you need to answer. You don’t want to be surprised by offender who says: “You know that we are going to switch of support by the end of this year for the software, right?”. Furthermore, you need to be in the know as far as technology goes. What are the technologies that companies like Gartner, Forrester and others are talking about, and more importantly, what do they mean for my business? The latter part is important as well because some of the technologies are really cool and all perhaps have a profound impact but perhaps not on your business. If you look at technology, I have a three-phase approach:
- 1. time to stare
- 2. time to be aware
- 3. time to prepare
Technologies within the first stage, time to stare, are those technologies that are on the horizon: Interesting for your business but are a couple of years out. Keep an eye on them but doing anything actively might be a little bit too soon. Keep in mind that this is the role of thumb and perhaps participation in the research project with some universities and other ecosystem partners might be the ultimate way to prepare for the technology. But in general, it’s like the old saying:” don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes”.
When time progresses and technology matures we get into the time to be aware stage. This means that you should have a keen grasp of promising technologies and how far they are from deployment within your organization. A list of technologies and time-to-market that is regularly updated could be one of the deliverables of this stage.
Finally, there is the time to prepare. This means actually planning and preparing for the introduction of new technologies. Basically, answering the questions: who, what, why, where, when? Not specifically in that order though.
Change in technology
When you look at the technology that has been introduced in the last couple years, I’m pretty sure that there are a number of them that should be in your time to be aware list or even some of them that you need to prepare for. I’m thinking about things like containerization, microservices and of course the new products from WSO2 running on the Ballerina platform and of course supporting Docker containers and microservices. We are happy to help you to take a look at the upcoming technologies and see which of them might bring value to your organization. If you want to know what current technology you should use, take a look at our API Manager selection guide.