Santhosh Kumar, Director, EMEA Tanzu Alliances at VMware
Today, organizations are defined by the digital services they can deliver. Modern applications therefore are no longer simply the backbone of technological transformation, but the currency of a strong digital economy.
Modern apps are the main vehicle for delivering the ‘rich’ experiences that today’s users demand. So businesses must recognize the importance of an agile approach to app development if they’re to continuously reinvent the way they connect and communicate with their customers, and meet changing expectations internally and externally.
Recognizing that opportunity is one thing, but being able to respond is quite another. The reality is that for many companies, there is little existing culture of how to build and deploy modern apps quickly because of historical
outsourcing, an absence of a coherent digital strategy, and a resultant deficiency in in-house knowledge and skills. They need the help of partners who have the experience, skills, knowledge and connections to navigate the transition from legacy to cloud-native apps, and from cloud to multi-cloud infrastructure. And it’s an opportunity that partners need to grasp with both hands. As our CEO Raghu Raghuram recently stated at our Partner Leadership Summit 2022, “if [partners] do not lead with workloads and apps, [they] will not be viewed by the customer as a strategic partner”.
One of the biggest barriers to app development at an enterprise scale is the disconnect between IT and DevOps. DevOps teams in particular are becoming distributed across organizations, often operating without any communication with central infrastructure teams, who lack the experience to build and manage apps. It’s creating a significant cultural disconnect between the two teams, and an absence of centralized and collaborative thinking.
For Jeffrey Kusters, Field CTO at Netherland-based IT-Consulting firm ITQ, this is where partners play a key role. There’s huge opportunity for them to become “evangelists who can act as translators and conversation starters with one foot inside IT culture, and the other inside developer culture”.
With their technical expertise and professional consultancy, partners can facilitate collaboration, breaking down the silos between developer and infrastructure teams to deliver better outcomes for businesses. A recent Forrester and VMware study showed that cross-team alignment empowers businesses to reduce team silos (71%), create more secure applications (70%) and increase agility to adopt new workflows & technologies (66%). As Ashok Arulmozhi, CEO at HUCO and I touched on in a recent conversation as part of VMware’s 90 Second Series, a partners’ role is therefore to ‘act as the bridge that unlocks business’ ability to get apps into production securely and at speed, removing the barriers to innovation’. You can catch up on our conversation below.
An important part of achieving unity across IT teams is a shift in mindset and language to focus not just on the technology, but the business outcomes it’s ultimately enabling. Partners can encourage businesses to move their attention beyond building apps like infrastructure, and alleviate their overreliance on developers, so they can instead focus on the end goal of becoming app-ready. Today, applications can be built anywhere and speak everyone’s language – it’s just a matter of how you approach them.
“You need to create a map that speaks to all teams in their own languages, and brings all the misaligned goals together in a coherent strategy” explains Ofir Abekasis, CEO at Israeli integrator TeraSky. “All developer teams want Kubernetes, and 90% of the conversations we are having at a business level are focused on cloud-native applications. Both goals are inherently aligned: it's just the conversations on how to practically align them that are left to be had”.
In acquiring deep app modernization expertise, partners are becoming highly skilled at pulling together dedicated teams to run quick proof of concepts and demonstrate the virtues of apps. As ‘ambassadors’ within organisations, their role is to advocate for increased and correct adoption across the enterprise to drive business value. As was the case with Czech partner Geetoo, who were engaged by local insurance company Kooperativa to support the firm’s transition to containers. “We realised [it] was not just a matter of purchasing and implementing software”, says Jan Váňa, Infrastructure Manager at Kooperativa. “We needed to change our overall approach to applications and the way we operated. We needed someone to guide us through the entire process”.
The ‘bigger picture’ outlook is also about creating the right culture to deliver better software to production, continuously. The role of partners is to make it easier for all teams to centrally manage, govern and observe all apps across clouds, while ensuring developers are provided with a seamless and secure experience. This includes helping equip developer and infrastructure teams with the right skills to better align with one another’s goals and take advantage of the opportunities that that a cloud-smart ecosystem offers when it comes to app-based innovation. It also means continually upskilling their own app modernization capabilities, with such as VMware’s Cloud Native Master Services Competency serving to continually broaden their skillsets and horizons with all the relevant capabilities needed to help customers drive value from their apps.
To succeed in today’s digital economy, businesses need with apps at the core of their strategy. But making that change is about far more than just simply adopting new technologies. They need the support of partners to provide the training, facilitate the connections and establish culture that will make their business modern app-ready.