Can’t you just hear this discussion happening in many board rooms today? I can!
Enterprises are struggling with cloud and software defined networks -- just as Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane, struggled to build a winning franchise in the movie Moneyball. Beane’s efforts to rebuild the Oakland A’s roster, to compete and win a championship with limited financial resources, is akin to the continued struggles facing enterprise IT. Pervasive issues -- shrinking IT budgets, getting the most out of the resources you can afford -- create barriers to success, and loom as large as Art Howe’s refusal to play Scott Hatteberg at first base. Not exactly the obstacles you need when trying to uncover new ways to attract new clients, create market leadership and differentiation or accelerate delivery of new services.
With these challenges in mind, here are my 3 takeaways on how Moneyball applies to Cloud and Software Defined Networks:
- Adapt or die: Billy Beane, the general manager of a small-market, low-budget team, is faced with the seemingly impossible task of rebuilding a contender without three All-Stars: Giambi, Damon and Isringhausen. Adapting his approach, and applying Bill James’ Sabermetrics theory, Beane finds a way to compete and to enter the post-season, by spending a scant $260K per win (versus the NY Yankees’ $1.4M per win)! Many enterprises are achieving success by adapting -- and revolutionizing -- their IT and business processes, leveraging cloud and software defined networking to meet the demands of today’s fast-paced business environment.
A recent IBM study, “Under cloud cover: How leaders are accelerating competitive differentiation”, describes how leading enterprises use cloud to deliver higher revenue & gross margin than their peers. Simply stated, cloud is “an escape route from the status quo,” with leading companies, known as pacesetters, recognizing the opportunity to use cloud to facilitate change and innovation and to achieve competitive advantage. “Under cloud cover” points to how pacesetters use cloud to listen, “read the signs”, identify, understand and create actionable insight to enable new business models, deliver new services and offerings, rapidly.
Unlock the winning formula: Moneyball illuminates “baseball’s imperfect understanding of where wins come from … and how baseball’s thinking is medieval.” Historically, one could make the case that enterprises are wrestling with a similar lack of understanding of “where wins come from.”
For confirmation that many enterprises are still searching for the meaning to “winning,” all one has to do is look at the findings from a recent IBM virtualization study that documents only 30% of the clients surveyed have virtualized storage and 15% have virtualized networking on a wide scale.
Leaders and pacesetters are beyond simply getting on base with basic virtualization; essentially, they are stealing home, having unlocked the winning formula using cloud and software defined networks to develop deeper understanding and make better, more accurate, decisions, faster. Just as Billy Beane and Assistant GM Paul DePodesta, (AKA Peter Brand), unlocked the potential of undervalued players by focusing on OBP (on base percentage), as a key metric that drove runs and ultimately wins, pacesetters leverage analytics from the cloud to unlock the winning formula for success.
- 170% more likely to use cloud-based analytics to drive insight.
- 3X more likely to use cloud-based analytics to dig for deeper insights.
- 2X as likely to leverage cloud to share data across the enterprise applications to drive more informed decisions.
- 2/3 more likely to state that cloud has contributed to helping make data-driven decisions.
- 55% more likely to be evaluating, and 20% actively using, software defined networks now
- No “I” in team: Somehow, what appeared to be a rag-tag mix of players, from an “island of misfit toys” in spring training, eventually jelled as a team, went on a record-setting winning streak, and advanced to the post-season. This only happened because of teamwork and collaboration between ownership, management, and players. C-levels, line-of-business executives and IT personnel at pacesetting companies have broken down organization and technology silos and “use cloud to locate and leverage expert knowledge across their ecosystem.” The IBM study, “Under cloud cover”, shows that 60% of leading companies are driving higher levels of collaboration through cloud. Even more use cloud to find and tap expertise anywhere in their ecosystem.” Lastly, the study found that pacesetting organizations are “74% more likely than chasers to use cloud to improve integration between development and operations.”
Let’s face it: in our business the adage “no one cares if you don’t win the last game of the season” applies to every decision, every day. How quickly an enterprise can react to market shifts, emerging customer preferences or competitive threats affects winning in the marketplace just as much as OBP and runs scored affected Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s. Cloud and software defined networks can help catapult organizations to the top of the standings.
Hope you enjoyed reading. Tell me what you think by sending a tweet to @AlphonsoBrodie. And, I hope you are enjoying the MLB Fall Classic! Unfortunately, my team, which spends over $1.4M per win, is sitting at home watching the Classic on television … just like me!
Please feel free to download a copy of the IBMCenterfor Applied Insights study “Under cloud cover: How leaders are accelerating competitive differentiation”. Also, check out our upcoming Smarter Computing Debate Series on the pros and cons of open computing when it come to cloud, big data and software defined environments.