A company’s competitive advantage can’t be bought, it has to be built. And an organisation’s success, or lack of it, is often directly tied to how fast it can build and deploy a new application, and the quantity and quality of innovative features in that application.
Developers have become the driving force for innovation that will drive recurring, sustainable and scalable growth for their business. No pressure then.
How we use data to build applications has changed, but unfortunately typical data infrastructure hasn’t kept up and this is a problem. This mismatch has created what can be defined as a pernicious and recurring tax on innovation.
We’ve published a paper explaining how data architecture can drive this tax on innovation and how to solve it using a modern application data platform. In this article I will explain what that tax is and what Australian IT leaders can do about it.
What is creating this innovation tax?
As applications become more complex and feature rich – think search, mobile, analytics etc. – organisations need ever more infrastructure services and data management tools to build and manage these features.
This has resulted in 'band aid’ fixes to already messy infrastructure, leading to a classic spaghetti architecture.
Working with data has always been the hardest part of building and evolving applications. Now developers are spending time managing infrastructure complexity, rather than focusing on the next generation of product, service or application.
A lot of ANZ organisations still rely on old, legacy data architectures and relational databases and expect developers to build new features and service modern, rich applications on top of these unsuitable and mismatched infrastructures.
It's not a surprise the Boston Consulting Group recently pointed out 70 percent of digital transformation initiatives fail.
Is your organisation paying a hefty price?
In our experience working with thousands of customers we have seen recurring signs that organisations may have an innovation tax issue.
Here are four key things that IT leaders should keep an eye out for:
- A slippery slope towards a fragmented developer experience. It becomes incredibly difficult to innovate in any scalable and sustainable fashion if developers have to learn and keep up to date on multiplying technologies
- Evolution towards multiple operational and security models. Every single data technology has quirks that demand expertise and attention.
- A tremendous effort required to achieve data integration. Moving data between systems requires dedicated people, teams and sometimes a separate layer of technology investments.
- Too much time, people, and money going into dealing with massive and unnecessary data duplication. This has implications for the time you spend dealing with audits and enforcing data access when data is distributed across so many different systems.
Those are four tell-tale signs you're paying an innovation tax. So what should you do about it?
Reducing your innovation tax bill
Across the world, successful organisations that have built recurring, sustainable, and scalable innovation have several things in common:
- They understand the key role developers play in the organisation’s broader innovation agenda. They empower developers by prioritising removing all obstacles to productivity, including rigid data structures, fragmented developer experiences, and any undifferentiated work.
- They prioritise elegant and repeatable architectures and use niche technologies only when they are absolutely necessary.
- They are very intentional about how they address security and data privacy. They are able to satisfy sophisticated requirements without compromising simplicity or the developer experience, or let privacy become a separate, massive science project.
- The most advanced companies don’t compromise on deployment flexibility when it comes to their data. They’re ahead of data gravity and can deploy a single application globally across regions and multiple clouds without having to rewrite code or spend months in planning.
In Australia, we don't have to look far for examples of companies doing innovation right.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has a technology approach and innovation mindset centered around empowering developers with the right tools. Its most recent cloud transformation project saw the bank work with MongoDB's application data platform to completely reimagine its data infrastructure from the core out, removing complexity from security, compliance and governance, and ultimately enabling innovation to flow while planning for a multi-cloud future.
By removing complexity, rethinking data infrastructure, and empowering developers with the right tools it is possible to put a stop to the Innovation Tax. Time and money can then be re-invested in building a competitive advantage and innovation that is recurring, sustainable and scalable.
If you’d like to know more about how data architecture can become a tax on innovation and how to solve it using a modern application data platform, click here.