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More Disruption Coming from Software-First Responsive Organizations

Oct 16, 2016 by DROdio

One of the foundational changes affecting Global 2000 enterprises is the shift from “Businesses solving technology problems” to “Technology solving business problems,” meaning that software has become a deep competitive advantage for a new generation of responsive organizations, enabling them to play by entirely different rules and disrupting entire industries.

In the old model, a hospitality company dominated its industry by out-executing on things like service, property location and logistical efficiency. But a software platform like Airbnb doesn’t have any rooms to manage. It has no cleaning staff to hire, train and pay. Its competitive advantage comes from building a world-class software platform that connects guests to hosts, and also utilizes software to manage the booking, resolution and ranking processes. It’s all software-first.

These trends are playing out across multiple industries. Netflix uses its software dominance to win, while Blockbuster missed the memo. In our household, we still shop at Whole Foods and Costco, but we do it via software platforms like Instacart, Google Shopping Express and Amazon. These software platforms are using their software expertise to wrestle the customer relationship away from the traditional stores and re-focus it on the phones in our pockets — and what’s more intimate than these companies having a direct channel literally to millions of consumers’ pockets and indeed their very digital identities.

These trends are the reason we are starting Armory. We solved the engineering velocity problem at our last company, helping it go from 5 to over 2,000 deployments per month. Here’s a graph of the growth:

We saw first-hand how much happier the product and engineering teams became when they could commit code to master and have it immediately out in front of users, at scale. We saw how much faster the organization could execute. And the data bears these observations out. High-performing companies release code over 200x as often as low performing companies — Netflix, for example, deploys 4,000 times per day:

As an engineer, there’s nothing more de-motivating than working at a company that’s so scared of its software deployment process that it releases less often and puts more layers of human approvals on the release process in an effort to stem the fire drill that software deployments often are for these companies.

The irony of this cycle is that holding more features back to deploy in larger batches less frequently impacts the business in two devastating ways: 1) Larger deployments with more features introduce more risk into the deployment process, which makes the business even more scared to release code — a destructive cycle, and 2) releasing less often means many fewer opportunities to put code in front of customers and learn from them.

In this new software-first world, a company is only as agile as its ability to get its code in front of its users, which is why companies need to prioritize tooling that allows them to trust their deployments and deploy with more speed and confidence. Armory is here to help, with an enterprise-grade version of Spinnaker, the open-source industry-leading Continuous Delivery platform open sourced by Netflix in late 2015. Learn more about our solution here.

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