Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, tru welu, Blue Box Blog

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java, Microservices Journal, Open Source, Virtualization, Cloud Expo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Developers: The New Kingmakers

Their choices are setting the direction for all software, no matter the organization within which they work

I just read through "The New Kingmakers," a thought-provoking book by Stephen O'Grady of the small, but influential, analyst firm Redmonk. The thesis of the book is straightforward: technology changes have moved developers, previously of little importance within the world of IT, to a central direction-setting role within companies.

O'Grady attributes this change to four factors:

  • Open source, which democratizes both creation and access to software components, enabling developers direct access to useful software without having to obtain budget or endure sales interactions. This accounts for the move to PHP, MySQL, Cassandra, and Cloud Foundry rather than their proprietary equivalents.
  • Cloud computing, which makes infrastructure to run software (especially the just-mentioned open source) available for pennies. Amazon Web Services kicked off this revolution and it is continuing to cause pain to traditional system vendors and hosting companies as the move to ever-cheaper infrastructure permeates IT.
  • Internet communication, which eases distance and allows developers to collaborate across geographies and, crucially, work from wherever they happen to be located. MySQL is well-known for having staff strewn around the world; while this caused challenges due to varying employment laws and management coordination, it allows MySQL to seek out the best talent, no matter where it is located.
  • Micro-investment, which allows developers with a good idea to obtain the small amount of funding necessary to launch new software-enabled products or services. Incubators and crowdfunding like Y Combinator and Kickstarter, respectively, have made it possible for a developer with a good idea and access to the cheap resources listed above, to jumpstart a business idea quickly and inexpensively.

I think he is spot-on with his assessment. The software industry, and end user IT, has changed enormously over the past 15 years. Certainly, within the software industry, developers are now avidly pursued and well-compensated, with some companies like Google and Facebook providing incredible perks and benefits. That's a big change from the past; at one company I worked at software engineering was openly despised by the CEO, regarded as nothing more than a unfortunate resource needed to create the product, and crammed into ever-shrinking cubicles in an ongoing effort to reduce engineering spend.

However, the fact that software vendors recognize developers as a critical resource to be nurtured and cherished does not account for their increasing importance and influence within end user IT shops, which have always been viewed as, well, a necessary evil, or, more charitably, a cost center to be reduced as much as possible. After all, while developers may make different technology choices today due to the above-cited changes, it doesn't necessarily make IT more important and, would not, in and of itself, result in developers gaining more clout within the larger company.

Nevertheless, I think O'Grady's thesis is correct, even within end user IT organizations, but I don't attribute it only to the changes affecting software development. I believe that the same factors underlying those changes are also having a powerful effect on the products and services companies deliver into the market, and this is causing IT (and developers who are setting the technical direction within IT) to take on a much higher prominence in companies.

Said succinctly, Marc Andreessen's phrase "software is eating the world," by which he means all companies are permeating their offerings with software capabilities, means that IT is no longer a back office concern. It is now critical to every company's revenue stream, which means that the creation and delivery of IT is now a core capability requirement -- and this leads, indirectly, to the increased influence of developers.

So, developers are the new kingmakers, whether they work at a software vendor or a software consumer. Their choices, enabled by the four factors O'Grady cites, are setting the direction for all software, no matter the organization within which they work. The "software is eating the world" trend is only going to grow and become more important, so we can look forward to developers being ever more influential.

Source: ActiveState, originally published, here.

More Stories By Bernard Golden

Bernard Golden has vast experience working with CIOs to incorporate new IT technologies and meet their business goals. Prior to joining ActiveState, he was Senior Director, Cloud Computing Enterprise Solutions, for Dell Enstratius. Before joining Dell Enstratius, Bernard was CEO of HyperStratus, a Silicon Valley cloud computing consultancy that focuses on application security, system architecture and design, TCO analysis, and project implementation. He is also the Cloud Computing Advisor for CIO Magazine and was named a "Top 50 Cloud Computing Blog" by Sys-Con Media. Bernard's writings on cloud computing have been published by The New York Times and the Harvard Business Review and he is the author of Virtualization for Dummies, Amazon Web Services for Dummies and co-author of Creating the Infrastructure for Cloud Computing. Bernard has an MBA in Business and Finance from the University of California, Berkeley.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
For better or worse, DevOps has gone mainstream. All doubt was removed when IBM and HP threw up their respective DevOps microsites. Where are we on the hype cycle? It's hard to say for sure but there's a feeling we're heading for the "Peak of Inflated Expectations." What does this mean for the enterprise? Should they avoid DevOps? Definitely not. Should they be cautious though? Absolutely. The truth is that DevOps and the enterprise are at best strange bedfellows. The movement has its roots in t...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impac...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. 8th International Big Data Expo, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. As advanced data storage, access and analytics technologies aimed at handling high-volume and/or fast moving data all move center stage, aided by the cloud computing bo...
Every day we read jaw-dropping stats on the explosion of data. We allocate significant resources to harness and better understand it. We build businesses around it. But we’ve only just begun. For big payoffs in Big Data, CIOs are turning to cognitive computing. Cognitive computing’s ability to securely extract insights, understand natural language, and get smarter each time it’s used is the next, logical step for Big Data.
There's no doubt that the Internet of Things is driving the next wave of innovation. Google has spent billions over the past few months vacuuming up companies that specialize in smart appliances and machine learning. Already, Philips light bulbs, Audi automobiles, and Samsung washers and dryers can communicate with and be controlled from mobile devices. To take advantage of the opportunities the Internet of Things brings to your business, you'll want to start preparing now.
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Enterprises are fast realizing the importance of integrating SaaS/Cloud applications, API and on-premises data and processes, to unleash hidden value. This webinar explores how managers can use a Microservice-centric approach to aggressively tackle the unexpected new integration challenges posed by proliferation of cloud, mobile, social and big data projects. Industry analyst and SOA expert Jason Bloomberg will strip away the hype from microservices, and clearly identify their advantages and d...
In a world of ever-accelerating business cycles and fast-changing client expectations, the cloud increasingly serves as a growth engine and a path to new business models. Dynamic clouds enable businesses to continuously reinvent themselves, adapting their business processes, their service and software delivery and their operations to achieve speed-to-market and quick response to customer feedback. As the cloud evolves, the industry has multiple competing cloud technologies, offering on-premises ...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
Over the years, a variety of methodologies have emerged in order to overcome the challenges related to project constraints. The successful use of each methodology seems highly context-dependent. However, communication seems to be the common denominator of the many challenges that project management methodologies intend to resolve. In this respect, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be viewed as powerful tools for managing projects. Few research papers have focused on the way...
As the world moves from DevOps to NoOps, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. However, applications have been architected with a much tighter coupling than it needs to be which makes deployment in different environments and migration between them harder. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, Netflix and so on is at the heart of CloudFoundry – a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS...
In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally. DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.
The OpenStack cloud operating system includes Trove, a database abstraction layer. Rather than applications connecting directly to a specific type of database, they connect to Trove, which in turn connects to one or more specific databases. One target database is Postgres Plus Cloud Database, which includes its own RESTful API. Trove was originally developed around MySQL, whose interfaces are significantly less complicated than those of the Postgres cloud database. In his session at 16th Cloud...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...