Posts By Monty Hamilton

2020 Tech Trends: New Decade, New Opportunities for CIOs

With a new year and a new decade, we’re taking a look at opportunities for our clients and the state of the technology market. As we’ve talked with our clients and studied the industry, we see two themes emerge.Expansion of Artificial Intelligence/Machine LearningA Full Transformation to Cloud TechnologiesArtificial Intelligence (AI)We’ve heard a lot about AI over the past few years, but for most enterprise companies this narrative has been about a leading-edge technology in search of good use cases. All that is set to change. AI is going from an R&D or pilot programs to the mainstream. That will have a massive impact on businesses of all types.We’re seeing a massive investment in AI. According to Gartner, 37 percent of organization have implemented AI in some form. That’s a 270 percent increase over the last four years. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, since spending on AI systems has increased drastically as well. The IDC reports a 44 percent increase from the prior year to more than $35 billion in 2019 and that number is expected to grow another 30 percent in 2020 according to Axios.There are opportunities to utilize AI through almost any technology or industry. Marketing and sales have been early adopters and believers in machine learning, but the use of AI will become ubiquitous in business operations as the decade progresses. Through AI, leaders and CIO’s can make better decisions by removing unconscious biases, allowing them to potentially find hidden truths, spot patterns and predict the future with more accuracy.Cloud TransformationCloud Transformation has also been a hot topic for a number of years in tech. In 2020, it will take a leap further.Initially, companies pursued the Cloud for server capabilities and infrastructure improvements, ie. getting rid of their own servers and data centers. In 2018, Gartner reported that the worldwide public cloud services market was $182.4 billion. In 2019, that number was up 17.5 percent.In mid-2019, Gartner had this to say:“Cloud services are definitely shaking up the industry,” said Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “At Gartner, we know of no vendor or service provider today whose business model offerings and revenue growth are not influenced by the increasing adoption of cloud-first strategies in organizations. What we see now is only the beginning, though. Through 2022, Gartner projects the market size and growth of the cloud services industry at nearly three time the growth of overall IT services.”That puts things into perspective and shows the scope of what is to come.We are seeing our clients utilize the Cloud to replatform and modernize their business applications to take advantage of the advanced technical development capabilities of the cloud platforms. Through the cloud, clients are embracing containerization, microservices, machine learning and natural language processing skills.2020 will continue to move the Cloud Transformation forward. We will see innovation and increased adoption as CIOs position their companies to succeed today and in the future.

Gartner: Geopoliticial Uncertainty Brings Risk to Offshoring

There has always been risk associated with outsourcing software development. The question of which outsourcing option (offshore, near shore, onshore) is right for a CIO depends on an equation that addresses price, speed and risk.That equation keeps changing as the risks of offshore rise.A recent Gartner report outlines major geopolitical concerns that are impacting both offshore and near shore development.“Political and economic stability is an important factor in offshore outsourcing arrangements,” said Jim Longwood, research vice president at Gartner.The outsourcing market has been relatively stable for the past few years, according to Gartner. But that may be the quiet before the storm. Recently, we’ve seen terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, a trade dispute between the US and China and political tensions in Hong Kong. These global incidents demonstrate the potential dangers of relying on offshore development.“Gartner has started fielding more questions from clients about how to address these scenarios. This includes whether to stop sourcing services from a particular country, move services to another country or bring them back onshore. Each option is quite costly and can disrupt service delivery in the short-to-medium term.”For example, Gartner estimates that China exports around $10 billion of IT application and business process services. Indian outsourcing firms generated more than $45 billion in global services in 2018.“Concerns include potential disruption to or cessation of services, increased tax added to export labor rates and reduced quality of service due to ‘patriotic’ backlashes by local staff,” said Longwood. “However, instability is not limited to the U.S./China situation. All organizations should review their offshoring and nearshoring arrangements.”With so much instability with offshore development, it is critical for companies to proactively mitigate risk to ensure the stability of their systems. According to Gartner, that is leading companies to develop a multi-country sourcing strategy. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 65 percent of large companies will switch to a multi-country sourcing strategy.The relatively new category that has been added to the procurement strategy for many companies is the low-cost, onshore development.We’re seeing more and more companies add the category as a strategic sourcing bucket to meet ever growing digital demand. Onshore outsourcing can be competitive while bringing the added benefits of speed, improved communication and lower risk. By finding tech talent in Middle America, where there is a lower cost of living, companies can lower costs while maintaining the high level of quality and security that CIOs, CISOs, and CTOs demand.Organizations cannot control geopolitical unrest, but they can control their exposure to risk. Onshore software development is the solution needed to manage risk, lower costs and ensure development work meets goals of speed to market and quality.

Where Are the Cost Savings and Advantages through Cloud Transformation?

As technology evolves, CIOs are looking to the Cloud. Embracing the Cloud Transformation is about more than just keeping up with the competition. It offers significant advantages that can be a game changer for innovative companies.Cloud technologies are great for enterprises looking to offload the overhead of server and hardware maintenance, which allows them to focus on building solutions for customers. One of the key benefits of the Cloud is the ability to prototype complex architectures in minutes. Additionally, if something doesn’t work, then it can be reworked quickly foregoing the approval process and money required for capital expenditures, yielding significant cost savings.Cloud Transformation was center stage at this year’s Cloud Summit in Albuquerque, N.M. A panel moderated by Rural Sourcing Chief Operating Officer Ingrid Miller looked at the options and benefits for companies moving to the Cloud in today’s tech climate.“When building out a Cloud architecture, services like AWS Cloud Formation and Azure Resource Manager enable businesses to create templates for their environments,” said Brandon Avant, principal consultant, Rural Sourcing. “This allows architects to quickly script out the resources that their business will need and make necessary modifications along the way. By doing this, they can mitigate the tedious process of manually creating and linking resources, which allows businesses to focus on more important endeavors, such as developing their enterprises’ applications.”With multiple Cloud-based options, there are some key considerations when making a decision between Azure, AWS and Google.“Spend time thinking about compliance and security requirements prior to investing in a Cloud-based solution for your enterprise,” said Mathew Zannoni, senior consultant, Rural Sourcing. “Sometimes the best solution to adhere to regulatory constraints is to take a hybrid approach. Azure now offers many different connectors that make it much simpler to create complex hybrid solutions to connect on-premise resources to Cloud-based resources.”As with any development or digital transformation, cost is a consideration. The panel experts say there are cost savings to be had, if you know where to look.“As you get started using the Azure platform it is a good idea to pay close attention to the various costs involved,” said Zannoni. “There are many ways to optimize spend and reduce the overall cost of cloud solutions. I recommend spending some time examining different pricing scenarios using Azure’s cost calculators. This is one area where planning ahead can realize thousands of dollars in savings each month.”In addition to cost savings, the cloud offers businesses access a variety of managed service at massive quantities of scale, giving access to cutting edge solutions and new efficiencies.“Almost any cloud provider you will find presents their offerings as metered services,” said Jarred Kozlick, senior consultant, Rural Sourcing. “This allows business to convert IT expenditures that were conventionally capital costs into operating costs, only paying for the resources consumed. This model allows business to pay for only what they use, and always have the resources they need, leading to reduced costs while still being able to scale applications based on usage.”Cloud providers also offer numerous managed services, such as databases and messaging queues. As Kozlick notes, using these services allows developers to focus on solving business problems instead of managing infrastructure.The move to the Cloud represents an opportunity for CIOs looking for cost savings, efficiency and flexibility. Companies that have already embraced Cloud Transformation are reporting impressive results. It takes a forward-thinking CIO to put an organization on this path, but with the right vision, team and partners, a successful Cloud integration will impact more than just a company’s backend. Cloud Transformation can positively impact the customer experience and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Thinking Security First: How to Lower Cost and Mitigate Risk

Success today is about more than just delivering a product. In a world inundated with threats, securing our products and networks is paramount. As a result, DevSecOps plays an ever-expanding role in the digital economy.This topic was at the forefront of Rural Sourcing’s 2019 Cloud Summit in Albuquerque. In a discussion led by Rural Sourcing VP of Innovation & Sales Engineering Derek Perry, a panel of experts shared insights on how product-centric organizations are positioned in today’s marketplace and how DevSecOps can shape their security practices.“DevOps can best be described as a pipeline to package and ship production-ready code to the world,” said Kris Wall, principal consultant, Rural Sourcing. “Often times, security is an afterthought, and now security has been finally integrated into the DevOps lifecycle by building in security checkpoints throughout the lifecycle. Most importantly, this has shifted the industry's attention towards secure coding and testing services, a shift that should have occurred a long time ago.”For Brian Self, solutions architect at WhiteHat Security, putting DevSecOps at the front of the plan is critical. He notes data from a Ponemon Institute study conducted with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrating that the average cost to repair a defect in production is 100x more expensive than if it had been caught and fixed during development. The takeaway—the earlier a vulnerability is found the cheaper it is to remediate.“DevSecOps has required a far tighter and closer integration of security into all stages of the software development lifecycle (SDLC),” said Self. “This close and early integration of security is a very different approach and a change for many organizations. Traditionally security has been bolted on at the end of the SDLC, if at all. The sooner we integrate security, the better. It lowers cost of remediation and significantly lowers the risk/threat profile.”Bill Rose, who leads Rural Sourcing’s Fort Wayne Development Center and previously served as Head of IT and interim CIO for MGM Resorts International, says it’s an imperative to pull security forward into the design and development process. At deployment, it may be too late."In today's high threat/high risk environment, security can't be an afterthought, it should be closer to a first thought,” said Rose. "My advice would be to avoid over-analyzing and resist seeking the full answer first.  Dive in, utilize the principles and spirit of continuous improvement, and build toward the right process for your organization."“DevSecOps isn't a destination,” said Wall. “You can't add a new process and call it done. The security landscape is constantly changing, and the DevOps pipeline must continue to evolve with new threats as they're uncovered.”

The Goldilocks Syndrome: Finding Balance in Software Development

“Goldilocks and the Three Bears” has an important message about software development in today’s landscape.If you look at the story, you see that there are ultimately three options when it comes to porridge for Goldilocks. One is too hot. One is too cold. And one is just right.It’s the same when companies make decisions about software development. One is too hot (expensive). One is too cold (poor quality). And one is just right.When analyzing companies, we continually see the same three problems when it comes to software development—money, quality and talent. There is limited budget which forces CIOs to look for low cost development options and/or there are challenges with finding adequate development talent to handle the work. That conundrum leads us to what we’ll call the Goldilocks Syndrome.Finding success in the Goldilocks Syndrome requires the right balance.In-house resourcesBuilding an in-house software development team is a response to quality concerns. Logic dictates that by building internal resources, you will receive better quality.That may be true, but there are a myriad of challenges when it comes to in-house software development.It’s expensiveTough to scale Hard to find talentEven if you find good talent, the industry is seeing a high turnover rate. Searching for talent takes time and cuts into the advantages you see from in-house development. There is a place for in-house software development but like Goldilocks’s porridge, it’s too hot.Offshore resourcesOffshore software development is the direct result of one concern—cost. There is an unmistakable allure to offshore. To keep with the children’s story metaphor, it’s like the witch luring Hansel and Gretel to her candy house. It’s a temptation too great to resist. But at some point, you get burned and you see the cost savings for what they truly are.So the question is—are the upfront cost savings worth it? Are you willing to sacrifice quality and speed?As anyone who has spent much time managing software development projects will know—if you don’t have speed and quality cost savings don’t mean anything because you end up with expensive rework and delayed timelines. Soon the perceived cost savings evaporate.In the world of Goldilocks, it’s just too cold.OnshoreOnshore outsourcing is known to be less expensive than in-house development but more expensive than offshore alternatives. But initial costs don’t tell the full story.When you look at the full picture, onshore outsourcing can be competitive on all fronts. Innovative outsourcing models help companies find balance and meet their needs. By finding tech talent in Middle America, where there is a lower cost of living, we can mitigate costs while maintaining the high level of quality that CIOs demand. Think about that—controlled cost while maintaining the speed and scalability you need. Plus, you don’t have to recruit and retain talent. Onshore outsourcing can be the best of both worlds.To find success, find balance. With companies concerned about cost, quality and talent, onshore outsourcing has proven to be “just right.”Goldilocks had to try all three bowls of porridge before deciding which one was just right. But you’ve done your research ahead of time. You already know which one is too hot, too cold and just right. So, which bowl of porridge are you going to try?

Five keys to rebuilding apps with microservices

The cloud offers IT organizations an opportunity to break down applications into reusable pieces of functionality called microservices that can be combined and recombined in almost endless variations. This rapid build-and-deploy approach, however, does not "play well" with monolithic existing applications that are wrapped into a single executable file. Making even the smallest tweak to those kinds of applications requires a whole new version of the application be built, tested and deployed – a counter to the improved productivity and efficiency that are hallmarks of microservices-based applications. To move existing applications to the cloud mandates a full rewrite with functionality being broken down into a cloud-native form, such as microservices, event-driven architectures and serverless technologies (such as AWS’s Lambda).During this rebuild effort, IT organizations need to follow four key principles to leverage the cloud’s benefits:Use domain-driven designCreate guidelines for code librariesResist the urge to share databases between microservices Measure performance when scalingAdditionally, IT organizations just starting their cloud migration efforts can learn much from those who have gone before them. A quick Google search reveals comprehensive migration white papers and use cases that can jump-start the effort, such as a step-by-step guide from AWS.‘Yellow light’ microservices’ first stepsWhen IT organizations elect to adopt this new microservices architecture, it is wise to proceed with caution. This advice is particularly relevant when selecting the first microservice container to build from scratch. Even experienced IT professionals will find it challenging to learn how to develop and deploy in the microservices environment as they build new containers. Our advice is to decide whether to build either the microservices environment OR the container as a first step – trying to do both will make the task more challenging than it needs to be. It is also recommended that IT leaders work with their teams to select a low-value application as the place to start the microservices-based effort. Customer-facing or business-critical applications contain too much visibility and too much risk to be a first effort.IT leaders should be confident that their DevOps teams have mastered the basics before assigning them to a complex project that can be overwhelming in its scope and depth. Remember that proficiency with the automated tools that are part of microservices is a table-stakes requirement. Finally, constantly measure the applications’ performances and keep a vigilant eye out if microservices seem to be “thickening” over time.Taking a deliberate approach in moving to microservices helps ensure that IT professionals can grow into their digital roles with confidence. In addition, a phased approach can help to lessen unrealistic expectations coming from the company’s executive team who may be pressuring this critically important, yet brand new, digital effort to move at a faster-than-normal pace.To learn more about how microservices-led innovation can improve staff productivity and application quality, visit to download the newest executive white paper from Rural Sourcing, “Microservices: Fast Path to Digitally Required Innovation.”

Managing through digital talent scarcity

An ongoing global lack of digital talent continues to be the number one limiting factor that constrains enterprise-level adoption of microservices-based development. This shortage creates particular pain for the U.S. where estimates place the number of unfilled computer science positions at 1.4 million by 2020. Only 400,000 computer science graduates will have the skills needed to apply for those openings. Technology giants, such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, are taking a "grow your own" approach to the shortage, making billion-dollar investments in local campuses across America to build the digital talent they need.To complicate matters further, the digital technologist that tops today’s talent list possess not only outstanding digital expertise but a wide range of "soft skills" as well. Collaborative, team-driven IT organizations need technologists who can problem solve and communicate. In the digital environment, advancing projects toward completion is as much about collaboration and communication as it is about individual skill sets.However, there are specific cultural and organizational integration strategies that can help level the playing field. For example, helping digital talent understand, during the hiring process, the IT organization’s mission, vision, values and culture goes a long way to assuring a candidate’s "good fit." Digital talent that learns the ins and outs of the competitive landscape will appreciate the business advantages available to companies with IT organizations that embrace change and pivot accordingly. Valuable digital talent seeks a professional home that takes risks, has an entrepreneurial approach to its work, and supports a "safe-to-fail" environment. Those qualities can do more to cement the digital talent’s loyalty to the company than compensation alone. In addition, "mainstreaming" digital talent into the IT organization, rather than keeping these individuals isolated in a skunk works operation, helps to build loyalty and a sense of belonging.One effective way to manage through this persistent shortage, is to seek out talent from trusted partners with a deep inventory of digitally prepared individuals. For example, a relatively new concept called Partnering with Intent™ centers on a purposeful approach to digital talent sourcing. As companies’ digital transformation rapidly shifts business priorities, the kinds of digital talent needed evolve as well. Partnering with Intent helps ensure that a few key partners who are aligned with their clients’ mission, vision and culture, as well as their talent requirements, deliver "employee-like" individuals who are culturally additive and possess the required digital skills. Partnering with Intent also enables IT organizations to quickly and easily 'restack the deck" with different combinations of digital assets as needs change. (For more information about how Partnering with Intent can transform digital talent building and retention, download the white paper.)Today’s digital talent seeks out IT organizations that encourage risk-taking, constantly strive for innovation and have a "safe-to-fail" culture. The majority of digitally skilled employees (72%) prefer entrepreneurial cultures with agility and flexibility.Competition for digital talent is high and few IT organizations can afford, from a productivity standpoint, to have this precious commodity walk out the door. That’s why so many IT organizations are adopting a more flexible approach to work responsibilities – a collaborative approach that empowers IT professionals to push the boundaries of what can be accomplished with technology. Entrepreneurial organizations often become "destinations of choice" for digital talent, which can leave competitors struggling.To learn more about how microservices-led innovation can improve staff productivity and application quality, download the newest executive white paper from Rural Sourcing, "Microservices: Fast Path to Digitally Required Innovation."

CIO Insights: 5 Questions with Dr. George Westerman, MIT Sloan Initiative

Rural Sourcing is excited to have Dr. George Westerman deliver the keynote address at this year’s Cloud Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.Dr. Westerman is a Principal Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy where his research and teaching focus on digital technology leadership and innovation. He is co-author of two respected books: The Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value, named the #1 Book of 2009 in its field, and IT Risk: Turning Business Threats Into Competitive Advantage, named one of the top five books of 2007. He is coauthor of a new recent book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation.We provided Dr. Westerman with 5 questions on digital transformation to provide CIOs insight into what comes next and how to be prepared.How do you define digital transformation?Musing technology to radically extend the performance or reach of an organization.   Its about new business models and customer experiences but also operational improvements. It’s not about the technology but about making your company better. In the digital space, where should companies be investing today?Certainly, you want to pay attention to AI/Machine Learning, Virtual/augmented reality, IoT and other advanced technologies.  But the key is to focus not on the tech but on how it can enable you to work differently. We see companies transforming in four major areas: customer experience, employee experience, operations, and business models.How can CIOs better communicate the value of technology and be leaders of the digital transformation?Don’t try to communicate the value of technology.  That’s a losing approach.  Instead, show the value of new ways of doing business.  The tech is just an enabler, not the lead story.What are the next trends for CIOs and IT leaders?We have not seen successful long-term transformations happen in large companies without the IT group engaged.  Whether IT leads digital or someone else does, find a way to work closely together.  When CIOs and CDOs fight, it’s often the CIO who loses. Senior business execs wouldn’t have hired a digital leader if they thought IT was up to the job. Find a way to get more agile and more business savvy, and to work with digital, not against.What can CIOs do to prepare themselves and their organizations for the future?Get more agile and easier to do business with. Work to understand the business and the challenges facing business leaders.  Then, instead of saying “no” you can say “here’s a better way.” And when you say “yes,” you can deliver great things. 

CIO Insight: Confidence in Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has become a buzz word/phrase in the technology world. According to Gartner, "two-thirds of all business leaders believe that their companies must pick up the pace of digitalization to remain competitive." The emphasis on digital transformation is putting stress on CIOs as they navigate change.As a result, Rural Sourcing put on its first CIO Forum in Atlanta, focusing on digital and the associated security considerations.  Some of the country’s top CIOs came together to share how they are tackling digital transformation, including Fred Lee with, Matt Ball with ParkMobile, Dan Burke with UPS and Dan Sheehan with Beacon Health Options. In addition, former Governor of Massachusetts and Managing Director/Co-managing Partner Bain Capital Double Impact Fund Deval Patrick kicked off the event with a keynote message on leadership and building communities.The panel reflected on the change they’ve seen in the technology industry and how they have overcome those challenges."We were focused on the product," said Fred Lee, chief technology officer at "Over the last five years, I’ve seen companies become focused on the back-end and how that can support customers. It’s about delivering the right experience to the right customer at the right time."As part of delivering these results, IT teams have been forced to change the way they see the business. Dan Burke, VP Network Planning Systems Development at UPS, has been with the company for 30 years. He has seen UPS grow into a major enabler of e-commerce due to investment and innovation."We had to perform significant changes to meet the challenges of global commerce and digital transformation," said Burke. "Like the Internet, our transportation network is alive with e-commerce. That has led to investments in automation and analytics."Engagement is critical to successfully integrating digital transformation with customers and within an organization, according to Dan Sheehan, EVP & CIO at Beacon Health Options. Previously, he oversaw IT at Dunkin Brands."It’s all about engagement," said Sheehan. "In previous roles, I was focused on engaging customers. Now in healthcare, it’s all about engaging patients. As a company, we went down one path with digital transformation but pivoted, because digital transformation needs to be about the patient and creating patient-centric solutions."Within digital transformation, security remains a hot topic. Our CIO panel addressed the concerns and gave advice for tackling security and risk within an organization."We need to bring all stakeholders together," Lee said. "Strategic alignment is critical to create an IT infrastructure that can stand up to today’s security challenges.""In the industry, we often say that risk, privacy and security are everyone’s job, but when that’s the case, it’s often no one’s job," said Matt Ball, chief technology officer, ParkMobile. "We need to define who is in charge of risk management, while baking security into everything we do.""Security is the top priority," said Burke. "On the IT side, it is built into our culture and part of everything we do. There is constant training, testing and attention."Digital transformation presents challenges for any organization. Although there are countless technologies and solutions that you can implement, our panel recommended being specific and conscious of your audience."Just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should," said Ball. "We forget that we’re in the business of enabling the product. If we try to do too much, we will lose sight of what is important to the customer."Digital transformation will continue to dominate discussions in technology. It’s important to know where you and your company fit within the discussion, and then be able to implement change. Know your options, be creative and look for targeted solutions. Find confidence in digital transformation.

Microservices: Table Stakes in Digitally-Driven Development

Moving to a microservices-based design/build/deploy development approach enables you to deliver on the "multiple deployments a day" timetable that digital requires.The flexibility and speed-to-deploy advantages of microservices leave traditional three-tier architectures in the dust. With microservices, you can use different programming languages because each microservice has its own database. Tie these technical components together over in an endless variety of applications – and never again build an application from scratch. You can even scale a particular microservice up or down –without impacting the other components. Change microservices’ functionality on the fly without recoding the entire application as frequently as user expectations shift. You can even take several services down for maintenance without your users complaining – because they won’t even notice.Today, a myriad of tools and technologies stand ready to support microservices. Consider the impact on microservices developers when Docker containers and Cloud Infra became first became commercially available. Developers in large scale development campaigns were no longer required to adhere to traditional provisioning dictates. Now, multiple teams could create and deploy microservices simultaneously and independently, cutting build-to-test-to-deploy cycles from months to days and, in some cases, hours.Scalability continues to lead the list of microservices’ advantageous benefits – one that is as available to large public enterprises as it is to smaller businesses with limited IT resources. With microservices, you can scale applications up and down as the digital business environment mandates without investing in expensive staff, hardware and infrastructure. With everything in the cloud, capacity and flexibility become unlimited.But, microservices comes with some important post-build requirements that must be considered. For example, rigorous and vigilant monitoring is warranted to identify database errors, network latency, caching issues and service unavailability as soon as these problems surface. Then, after updates have been made to address these issues, complex testing is needed to verify if the problems’ root causes were resolved without compromising any microservice’s performance across the universe of instances where it is in use. This layered and comprehensive testing can be tedious when multiple applications share foundational microservices.A national lack of digitally prepared technologists continues to be the gating factor to fully unleashing the rapid-fire power of microservices. Next time, we will discuss how you can overcome that scarcity and power up for microservices at the enterprise level.To learn more about how microservices-led innovation can improve staff productivity and application quality, download the newest executive white paper from Rural Sourcing, "Microservices: Fast Path to Digitally Required Innovation."

ROI & Risk: 3 Steps to Find Value in App Security

The threat is out there. Every day a new company is brought to its knees by a security breach. It’s enough to make a CIO throw up his hands in disgust and take an early retirement.But it doesn’t have to be. Risk should be managed—not avoided.A large-scale security breach can be costly in more ways than one. Even in the simplest terms of the direct costs to remediate it can ruin the ROI for a major software integration. That’s why it’s necessary to turn a critical eye to your vulnerabilities and proactively address any deficiencies.A proactive approach may require an investment up front, but that is a small price to pay for long-term piece of mind and can serve as a valuable tool to safeguard your ROI.These three simple tips can get you on the right track to manage risk and maximize ROI.Build for your needsYour business has specific needs and you need to meet those needs through custom software, built for you. You need these creative and innovative solutions to meet your customers’ needs and differentiate yourself in a competitive marketplace. There is a level of inherent risk with custom software development. That risk can be managed by the quality of development resources. Even “off the shelf” software comes with risks, although it has proved to be an untenable solution. Your business requires (and your customers expect) custom software that is tailored to your specific needs and provides a meaningful advantage.Every company has vulnerabilities and varying levels of security risks, but don’t let that cloud your judgement. Find the business problem and turn it into an opportunity. Custom software can provide an improved experience and be the investment that becomes the major differentiator for customers. You’ll be thankful you did, and so will your customers.Don’t bury your head in the sandLike an ostrich too scared to cope with the dangers surrounding it, companies often feel overwhelmed by the security vulnerabilities in their systems. In many cases, they know there are weak points but choose to ignore them and hope they remain hidden. That’s the equivalent of playing a high-stakes game of roulette with your company’s future.Do you know what your odds are of winning on a single role of the roulette wheel? A hint—they’re not good. It’s 37:1.If you could improve your odds on the roulette wheel, you’d probably do it, right? Wouldn’t it be nice to flip the odds on the house? You may not be able to change the odds at the casino, but you can in software application security.By using a risk-based approach and taking a hard look at your vulnerabilities, you can gain perspective and take the first steps toward safeguarding the business. After all, burying your head in the sand is not a strategy.Find it and fix itOnce you’ve made the decision to be proactive, you have to find the vulnerabilities in your systems. There are three components of the process which are necessary to ensure a comprehensive view of your situation: Software composition analysis (SCA) identifies where reusable components are within applications and detects vulnerabilitiesStatic application security testing (SAST) scans source code of the most commonly-used programming languages, identifying vulnerabilitiesDynamic application security testing (DAST) continually scans websites as they evolve, providing automatic detection and assessment of codes changes and alerting for newly discovered vulnerabilities Once vulnerabilities have been identified, you need to fix them fast. That’s where speed and security are critical.Once vulnerabilities have been identified, you need to fix them fast. That’s where speed and security are critical.Now the conundrum, do you pull existing resources from inflight projects to fix vulnerabilities thus delaying your promised delivery dates or do you look externally? It’s unlikely you have all the experienced resources to handle this type of development in-house. That means bringing in external resources to solve complex problems and execute on the plan. With sensitive projects, U.S. based software teams play a vital role in meeting the needs of corporate application development by delivering quality and speed at a low cost.ROI and risk go hand in hand. By managing risk, you can secure the ROI needed. But success takes a proactive approach that requires an experienced critical eye to software vulnerabilities and then brings the right teams together to solve the problem.Find it. Fix it. Breathe easier.

DevOps: Sea Change to Power Innovation

Traditionally, Development set out to build and deploy the capabilities the business needed, while Operations kept the infrastructure stable and fast. Development teams bundled new functionality and system improvements into periodic updates to appease the Operations teams’ resistance to any change that could disrupt system operations.Operational Overview of IT – Before DigitalDepartment Functional Perspective Responsibility Timeframe Development Silo Build the functionality and capabilities the business needs Quarters to years Operations Silo Keep the infrastructure running smoothly with as little change as possible Ongoing This chart captures the roles and responsibilities of Development and Operations groups in a traditional IT organization.In the digital age, the diametrically opposed goals of Development and Operations are falling away. A united DevOps process and supporting culture, which requires both sides to see beyond their respective functional silos, unites IT staffers behind a single, shared goal: to enable the business to compete and win.Operational Overview of IT – After DigitalDepartment Functional Perspective Responsibility Timeframe Development Blended and collaborative Build the scalable functionality and capabilities the business needs Create, test and produce 50 to 100 microservices simultaneously Rolls out “50 deployments” a day DevOps explained: This chart shows how the newly melded DevOps model unites IT organizations in the digital environment.While definitions of DevOps’ mission and culture vary from organization to organization, Rural Sourcing aligns itself with Gartner Group’s view of DevOps in the digital age:DevOps represents a change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach. DevOps emphasizes people (and culture), and seeks to improve collaboration between operations and development teams. DevOps implementations utilize technology — especially automation tools that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective.IT organizations’ move to a DevOps model and culture refocuses technologists’ view away from technical infrastructure onto the needs of the business. This sea change in the way IT approaches its work requires speed, not for speed’s sake, but for competitive advantage. Through microservices, DevOps organizations can leverage digital tools and technologies to engage IT staffers and compress the speed-to-revenue cycle.To learn more about how microservices-led innovation can improve staff productivity and application quality, click here to download the newest executive white paper from Rural Sourcing, “Microservices: Fast Path to Digitally Required Innovation.”