The DXC Blogs – Application Intimacy

07Jun17

This is another post that’s a recycled email, one which started out with the title: ‘Our share of the cloud shared responsibility model (and the need for application intimacy)’

The original email came from a number of discussions in the run up to the DXC merger, and I must thank many of my CTO and Leading Edge Forum (LEF) colleagues for their input. It was addressed to the Offering General Managers covering Cloud (for the infrastructure centric bottom up view) and Application Services (for the more top down connection of business need to application, which is nicely summed up in JP’s Business Experience Management paper).

TL;DR

The IT landscape in front of us will be all about the apps, and we need to get intimacy with those apps to earn our share of the cloud shared responsibility model.

Assumptions

To set the scene let me lay out some assumptions:

  1. The march of public cloud might look unstoppable right now because it’s in the early linear section of its adoption S curve, but it will stop. When it does stop it will have absorbed much of the workload that presently runs in our data centres and our customer’s data centres. The infrastructure revenue that we have associated with that is going away, never to return, and we’ll get crumbs from the AWS/Azure/GCP table where we can as the partner for the billing process.
  2. We will willingly engage in the movement of that workload to win our place as the partner in the billing process[1].
  3. The place that we earn our keep going forward is bridging the gap between what our customers want, and what the clouds actually deliver. For the time being there might be dreams of ‘NoOps’, but even in a world of Serverless functions it turns out that there’s still a need for provisioning, config management, monitoring and logging[2] – the things that we wrap up today as (integrated digital) service management. Our customers want NoOps, but it will be some time yet before they get it straight from a cloud provider, which is why they’ll turn to us.

Our Share of Shared Responsibility

The key here is something that we might call ‘application intimacy’. Doing what it takes to run an application (any application) requires a high touch contextual understanding of what the app is and does, when it’s performing well and performing badly, how it’s helping a business win or holding them back. Cloud service providers don’t do application intimacy, which is the whole point of their shared responsibility model. We generally talk about the shared responsibility model in the context of security, but it also extends into pretty much every aspect of operations. The shared responsibility model is the line where the cloud service provider says ‘our work here is done – your problem now’, and that’s where we step in because our customers still want that problem to be somebody else’s problem.

Clearly we can gain application intimacy forensically – it’s what we do within transition and transformation (T&T) for any IT Outsourcing (ITO); but there’s also an obvious opportunity to gain application intimacy organically – as we build apps from scratch or help customers (re)define their application construction and testing pipelines (aka CI/CD).

Application Intimacy

So… the call to action here is to orient our new company around application intimacy – it needs to be in the heart of our strategy, our messaging, our organisation, our offerings, our culture. If we can win at application intimacy then we take our share of the shared responsibility model, and earn a rightful place at the table alongside the cloud service providers.

Notes

[1] and right now the cloud providers see that they need our help – AWS is looking to drive 60%+ of their global business to GSIs who have differentiated offerings in the marketplace (e.g. app intimacy), strong vertical/ industry expertise, and c-suite relationships.
[2] in time there will be services for provisioning, monitoring and logging, and all that will remain of ‘infrastructure’ will be the config of those services; and since we might treat that config as code then ultimately the NoOps ‘just add code – we’ll take care of the rest’ dream will become a reality. Barring any surprises, that time is likely something in the region of 5 years away.



One Response to “The DXC Blogs – Application Intimacy”


  1. 1 Serverless, DevOps, NoOps, Canaries | Chris Swan's Weblog

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