Welcoming 2023: Reflecting and looking forward
Dec 29, 2022 by Jim Douglas
As cultures globally celebrate the Winter Solstice with traditions passed down from generation to generation, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year, give thanks for continued health and sustenance and think about the year to come. Every year has its high points — combined with its fair share of challenges. And all years are unique in their own right. The past few years have been ‘very unique’. Just when we thought the ‘pandemic years’ were complete outliers, 2022 came along!
Runaway inflation has not been seen for forty years. A Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) that shifted from — “It’s transitory” — to repeated, unprecedented basis point jumps in the federal funds rate to combat runaway inflation. Yet we have positive employment figures — instead of raging unemployment typically coupled with high inflation and interest rates. Meanwhile, we had ships stacked at every major port adding to a massive supply chain imbalance. A global semiconductor shortage. A global pandemic that was ‘over,’ but not over. Civil unrest around the world due to dissatisfaction with policies to combat said ‘over’ pandemic. A major world power engaged in war. An entire continent at risk of freezing due to natural gas shortages exacerbated by war. And, oh yeah . . . a crypto currency market burning to the ground. What a year!
2023 is shaping up to be a year of ‘normal’ chaos, as opposed to the ‘what next’ feeling of uncertainty we have endured for the past three years. There is no doubt the economic climate will be rough for the next several quarters. Public and private companies alike are tightening their belts (i.e. making significant reductions in force and contracting budgets) in anticipation of lower growth in 2023. This is a prudent approach to fiscal planning as the fundamentals of the economy coupled with negative consumer perception will no doubt create substantial headwinds for the technology sector in 2023.
While tight markets force companies to make hard decisions and be more disciplined, they also create enormous long-term opportunities. Smart companies narrow their focus AND figure out how to double down in areas where they can gain a competitive advantage during turbulent times. It’s time to not just hold on to ground won, but aggressively look to displace competition.
For years, ‘non-tech’ companies have been talking about software becoming a strategic asset. The advent of a rich public cloud ecosystem has enabled many to create and capture incremental value that was previously unattainable or unreachable. Yet when you dig into the state of cloud software and the proficiency of development teams, most have a long way to go before software truly becomes a competitive advantage. Industry studies reporting on DORA metrics attained by elite software teams versus the rest of the coding universe expose a huge chasm in development velocity and the ability to reliably release stable code. Elite teams are performing in a different universe all together. Companies on the undesirable side of the chasm have a great opportunity in 2023 to change this dynamic. They need to get serious about embracing industry best development and deployment practices and automating error prone processes. ‘Binning out’ their legacy application portfolios and determining which apps should just run forever as old school monoliths (i.e. stop wasting cycles on them), which should be refactored and rewritten cloud native. And aggressively embracing a cloud native approach to designing all new applications. Pursuing these actions with a sense of urgency will enable companies to deliver value faster, improve customer retention and gain new ground — even in a trying economy.
Armory’s sole focus is helping companies accelerate their cloud native journey. Helping them achieve elite velocity, reliability and stability through automated continuous deployment. We’re very grateful for the opportunity to work with platform engineering and development teams at outstanding companies. Some are very advanced and far into the cloud native future. Some are enthusiastic beginners who recognised the advantage of moving in this direction faster than their peers. All of them are maniacally focused on improving their ability to deliver value to their customers through software. We’re blessed with the opportunity to teach cloud native best practices every day — and learn new approaches from outstanding customer teams every day. I’d like to thank all of our customers for the opportunity to serve you. We look forward to working with you in 2023 and beyond as you strive to build and sustain great companies.
I’d like to also extend a big thanks to the incredible team at Armory. Like the rest of the world, our team dealt with many personal and professional ups and downs over the course of the year. Several were blessed with new additions to growing families. Several had to deal with the incredible sorrow associated with a loved one passing away. All dealt with a tumultuous economic environment at home and in their professional lives. Throughout all the highs and lows, two things were consistent: 1) unwavering support for each other; 2) laser focus on enabling our customers’ success.
From my family to yours, I want to wish you happiness and joy as you celebrate the Winter Solstice in whatever tradition you follow, and a happy and prosperous 2023.