THE BLOG

The Migration Conundrum

24/07/2014 16:34 BST | Updated 23/09/2014 10:59 BST

When Facebook changed their motto from "Move fast and break things" to the notably more practical "Move fast on stable infrastructure", many observers may have felt disappointed or at the very least, indifferent. But for those of us working in today's complex technology landscape, the change reflects an exciting time for Facebook as it recognises and deals with its transformation journey into a platform committed to supporting apps and their developer communities, and rising above mobile platform wars.

As a company, Facebook has realised that the gap between "IT" and "the business" has all but disappeared, and that the ethos driving its developer ecosystem must work hand in hand with the business to grow profitability and market share. This represents a major transformation journey encompassing multiple migration initiatives.

What they've also no doubt realised is that transforming to practice what they preach in their motto is no easy task, especially when it involves becoming a business-led rather than IT-led company. Even more complicated still, like a lot of companies Facebook is trying to make this transformation while maintaining 99.999% availability, optimal speed and simplicity across all devices and geographies. In short, it's aiming to move fast without breaking things, and it's no doubt a real conundrum even for the social media giant.

Facebook isn't alone in its transformation journey. In a digital world with cloud, data, mobility and the increasing demands of regulation and resilience, the range and complexity of opportunities provided by new technologies is becoming broader, smarter and more confusing. The landscape has changed. Companies are realising that they must turn to and rely on technology to solve business problems and to fuel their business strategies, many are experiencing what I have started to call "The Migration Conundrum."

It's in the Migration Conundrum, where converging, smart technologies meet bigger, more evolved business requirements, that companies experience both increased risk in terms of service disruption and cost, as well as increased opportunity to transform their businesses and move to what Gartner call the 'third era of IT'.

It's not only IT companies who are experiencing the Migration Conundrum. Successful, progressive companies across all sectors are realising that they must make the transformation to compete - it's innovate or stagnate, or adapt to survive. For every company that is struggling with the Migration Conundrum, there is another operating according to a technology empowered business strategy by nature (or at least putting the tools and processes in place to do so). Put simply, it's the new way of doing things, and some firms are tackling the challenge head-on.

At its core, the Migration Conundrum surrounds the ability to accelerate rapid change while keeping customers happy, and while firms may struggle with this, those that are successful in managing this "move fast without breaking things" transformation will ultimately emerge as highly effective organisations with competitive advantage. The established firms which tackle this successfully will be best placed to cope with the challengers in their sector that have been born in the 'mobile-cloud' or 'digital' era.

Facebook's transformation journey will surely be an interesting one, but we'll no doubt be hearing about more than one firm's Migration Conundrum. There's big change ahead, and more opportunity than ever before for IT and business to work together to drive transformation - increasing value to customers and profit for shareholders.