Enterprise Future-Proofing and Complimentary Technologies — Perspectives From Our Director of Customer Success

5 min readDec 9, 2019


Our Head of Customer Success, Dick Brown, shares his perspectives enterprise future proofing and complimentary tech

In this interview Dick shares his perspectives on:

  • Distributed microservices architecture — and the move to reactive advice for larger organizations
  • The 5G roll out and the interesting factors in play
  • Kafka messaging as a complimentary, rather than displacing, disruptive technology
  • How future-flexibility is a key goal for large organizations, and how to achieve that

On Distributed Architecture and the 5G roll out…

Gemma: What are 1 or 2 industry trends that are interesting to you right now and why?

Dick: There’s two I’m currently keeping up with. One which is interesting to me from a consulting and approach perspective, and the other is from an industry that I track and have tried to keep my pulse on, and I’m interested in how recent moves are shaking out:

Distributed microservices architecture — and the move to reactive advice for large organizations

The first, is shifting to distributed architectures; how companies are breaking apart their monoliths, and how that takes shape with their downstream consumers. There’s a lot of different ways you can break apart a monolith into a distributed architecture, and allow teams to take advantage of the development autonomy this provides.

The concept has been around for a while and it’s the finer grained, natural evolution of services-oriented architecture (SOA). Smaller, more agile teams have taken this concept and run with it. However, when larger companies try and take on this methodology, you can see a breakdown in adoption. I think folks are starting to realize that it’s a 5–7 year journey that they’re in the middle of when building microservices.

For more nimble companies, the move has had a lot more success. The methodology is applied to a greenfield approach — when you’re building something new it’s easier — and you can go straight to right-sized applications and set up frameworks and org structure in a distributed way. But a monolith isn’t going to embrace it in the same way. It becomes very difficult and the companies realize the long journey it requires.

As a result, we’re seeing the consultation and advice shifting from proactive “these are the best practices” and “this is what you need to do” to, more reactive and “this is what you should prepare yourself for”. A lot of the information out there is geared towards how to brace your teams and business while staying aggressive and still do business.

Gemma: So, is it more of a pragmatic approach to shifting between an academic exercise and the real implementation of a distributed architecture?

Dick: Yeah, there’s only so many recommendations you can make. Over time people realize how long this would take big companies, so you run out of proactive advice to give. Now the consultants are being very pragmatic; offering sustainable advice that you can work on for the next 1–2 years, while maintaining this overall 5–7 year vision.

5G roll out

The second big industry trend is 5G roll out. Everything from bidding on different bands, to the acquisition of real estate and what’s happening with smart cells that can learn how to switch for increased reception.

The telecom industry is something I’ve been involved in in the past, and is something that always interests me. Not only from a technology perspective e.g. the hardware and the software used to keep it running, but also the political environment that it runs through; the bidding wars companies get into, and now with big mergers in the US, and companies trying to maintain competitive advantage. It reminds me of the spectrum auction in the UK between 3, O2 and Vodafone — every company trying to compete with each other, and smaller carriers banded together to say “hey you have to bar these larger folks from bidding, because we can’t maintain competitive advantage if they do”.

It’s interesting to see how everyone balances trying to do their best to provide leading service to their customer, while also navigating this tight rope of becoming anti-competitive. The state must ask: “Is this going to cause a monopoly and restriction of choice for consumers?”

The industry is moving super-fast and always evolving, and seeing the fallout from all the factors I’ve previously mentioned shows how many factors are at-play.

Kafka messaging as a complimentary, rather than displacing, disruptive technology

Gemma: What emerging technologies are you currently following?

Dick: One I’m following very strictly is things in the world of Kafka; so, event streaming.

The concept is around sending out data to a distribution layer, that consumers are subscribed to, and not caring necessarily about the information being picked up. It’s a vastly different strategy than request/response, which is built into a majority of systems.

Commands and queues, and messaging services have an action that has occurred, and are reliant on the consumer picking up that message and processing it.

With streaming you send this data out into the nether. I know people are consuming it, I have an API which shows me that, but I may send the same information 5, 6, 10 times, and it’s really on the consumer of how they’re receiving it.

There’s been a conceptual evolution with certain technologies; where power is flipped to consumers over providers. You have a lot of consumers specifying to providers “if you don’t care whether this message gets to a consumer or not, I’m going to tell you the information I care about and establish this contract between us. This way, you won’t provide information that varies from this contract and break my consumption”. “I know it’s not going to break your sending of the information if I don’t consume it, but it’s going to break my application if I can’t consume the information properly”.

What’s also really interesting for me is to see how this technology has settled, and not become the brand new thing that’s going to replace everything.

For example, with Docker,…

To continue reading and learning more about Dick, see the complete story on our blog: https://www.digitalml.com/enterprise-future-proofing/

About the Author

Gemma Sindall
Gemma is a Marketing Manager at digitalML. She has a keen interest in digital strategy and the best ways to merge people, process and technology. Her experience spans Marketing and Client Services in the Technology and Financial Services industries.

Originally published at https://www.digitalml.com.




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