Red Hat this week announced it has created a Global Transformation Office focused on bringing about digital transformation via broad adoption of best DevOps practices.
The Global Transformation Office initiative is comprised of Andrew Clay Shafer, vice president of transformation at Red Hat; Jabe Bloom, chief sociotechnical officer for PraxisFlow; Kevin Behr, general manager and chief science officer at PraxisFlow; and John Willis, CEO of Botchagalupe Technologies.
Shafer said Red Hat is trying to encourage organizations to take a more holistic approach to transformation by simultaneously addressing the need to understand how new technologies impact the organization in terms of skills required and the business model around which the organization is built.
Instead of focusing solely on IT skills, Shafer said the Global Transformation Office at Red Hat is also seeking to educate line of business executives how to engage with DevOps teams to advance digital transformation initiatives, many of which never come to fruition because the IT teams working on those projects don’t know what the end business goal really is. If line-of-business executives can communicate that goal in a way DevOps teams can appreciate, they soon discover how much faster those DevOps teams will be able to drive the organization toward that desired outcome, he said.
Rather than simply telling IT teams they will have a new role, Shafer said business leaders need to back up those claims by investing in training. Otherwise, IT professionals who today often associate their identity within an organization to the process they manage will resist that transition out of fear of losing their position. Right now, too many organizations are also asking IT teams to embrace DevOps without ever really informing DevOps teams why any given project matters to the business strategy, added Shafer.
Red Hat is investing in this initiative because the amount of demand for enabling technologies such as the Red Hat OpenShift application development platform will be constrained unless business and IT models evolve in tandem. It makes no sense for organizations to embrace containers only to try managing them using the same processes they previously employed to manage virtual machines and bare-metal servers, said Shafer. Organizations need to realize they will not get the maximum value out of such platforms unless they have the skills and expertise needed to apply them within the context of achieving a business goal, he added. In many cases, organizations may need to reorganize themselves because too many business leaders still value themselves in terms of the size of the organization they lead instead of the contribution the business unit makes to the company.
It’s not clear to what degree the DevOps tail may be able to wag the business dog. In many ways, it’s only a matter of time before the business needs to be reorganized in a way that makes it as agile as DevOps teams are becoming. The real question is how long that transition will occur. Of course, many organizations that don’t make that cultural DevOps transition won’t be around to find out how it all turns out.