Ryan King recently joined the SDLC Partners team as Vice President of Services, overseeing several new offerings in response to client needs and industry directives. Here is what he had to say on where tech is heading and the trends behind it.
TEQ: What is the most interesting, shocking or amazing shift you’re seeing in the technology enablement industry?
Ryan King: While I think artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are game changers that are as big as the advent of the consumer Internet, it’s amazing to see how hard it is for customers to take advantage of them. Many haven’t addressed the basic data issues that they have been plagued with for the last 10-15 years.
It’s time to address the root issues of the disjointed view of data and your customer before you can hope to gain deep insight that is actionable.
TEQ: Is there a blind spot that people are missing? What should be the focus now?
RK: Customers that optimize their core processes, and understand and manage their data outside of the constraints of legacy technical debt will win.
You can’t keep doubling down on sunk costs. Rather, you need to look at fundamental process improvements and use techniques like robotic process automation (RPA) to buy time to drive profound changes. Every dollar of technical investment should be spent to build the platform of the future, not in sunk cost of the past.
Approach your IT strategy focused on what the platform of tomorrow should look like and ruthlessly drive to it.
TEQ: What are you a radical advocate about that more people should be, too?
RK: I am a vocal advocate for Enterprise Architecture (EA) in an Agile world, which seems old school to many.
However, in order to really go fast, you need to focus on smooth and effective EA that can go a long way to establish “fast tracks” with standards and patterns that form the spine for Agile initiatives. This is particularly true in the real-world complexity faced by customers with legacy systems and large matrixed organizations spanning geographies.
Too often, Agile projects are treated as an entirely separate animal, which can lead to integration issues and erode benefits and reduce speed and adoption.
Enterprise Architecture, coupled with Agile techniques, is a relevant and powerful combination.
TEQ: What are you focused on now and why?
RK: Context. The real value of a firm like SDLC Partners is helping the customer recognize and align context, connecting the organization’s goals to those of individual projects and initiatives.
I am focused on bringing our perspectives of Enterprise Agility, coupled with the expertise from the technology space, to deliver solutions that make tangible business outcomes that can be traced back to what the client wants to achieve.
Don’t become over-enthused about all of the exciting technologies that are emerging. Focus, first, on the objective within the context of business goals.
TEQ: When you read the industry trends headlines, where is the truth and the hype?
RK: The advent of AI and ML has led to the power of correlation.
While this is a good thing, complex enterprises struggle when the causation is not crystal clear.
There is a lot of hype (justly) around evidence-based decision making. However, that only works if you understand the evidence.
Make the cultural and technical shifts necessary to realign insights from a series of AI or ML projects to actions to using technology to achieve strategic direction.