In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our podcast conversation with Chance Irvine, worldwide known expert IT consultant with more than 20 years of experience in planning and implementing cloud readiness and agile transformation for many industries such as telecommunications, manufacturing, and online marketplace technologies.
Welcome to Growth Interviews!
Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth. Our mission is to provide valuable insights from the eCommerce arena, and each episode is a fascinating quest into the best-kept business secrets and money-making strategies of an insightful world-class expert.
Recognized as a thought leader for cloud and agile transformation for established businesses, Chance Irvine is assisting organizations to discover their path from current state to their effective target within cloud and agile opportunities as well as options for appropriate partners that match the needs of their journey ahead.
For more than 20 years, Chance Irvine orchestrated the procurement, implementation and operational management of technology infrastructure resources, greatly improving reliability and stability for various organizations. He is instrumental in team development across IT operations, software and product development, collaborating with business leaders to make changes in skillset and mindset for constant improvement and increased effectiveness for business growth.
Here are the biggest takeaways:
- Everything about the pre-cloud era – 04.36
- Challenges in Delivering the Promise of a Company – 15.19
- Opportunities from the e-Commerce industry – 25.29
- Advice from an expert – 29.45
Everything About the Pre-Cloud Era
The last decade has been a constant revolution in information technology and we could clearly see how different things were ten years ago during our Growth Interviews talk with Chance Irvine when he drew us a mind map of the times before and after the era of the cloud.
Previously the cloud era, the main roles of IT leaders were to minimize expenses and providing the company with good solutions without necessarily looking at the latest technologies, the management expectations being focused on resources administration and the use of technology with the purpose of saving money. The expense center mindset, although healthy and reasonable is, post cloud transition, unfortunately obsolete as information technology has become a value-adding accelerator and in many cases the most important driver of change and economic improvement of a company.
The role of the technology experts has grown significantly and in a great diversity of directions while the IT departments became strategic for any healthy business. Leaders in IT are not administrators of technological and human resources anymore, but pivotal points between the old and the new way of thinking about technology and the growth any business can attain through it. “You need to realize that sometimes you need to translate to language that makes your business counterpart comfortable with the change that needs to occur because change is scary for everyone.” emphasized Chance Irvine and then, referring to the top management whose population is from the era before the cloud “you need to be their partner in helping them understand how technology can help facilitate new sales business growth to replace inefficient human processes.”
Changes are not easy and, particularly when it comes to IT, they might be scary for a lot of the non-technical managers. Helping everyone understand at a human level what kind of benefits the technology is bringing is in many cases the most important thing to do, before anything else. Without understanding, there will never be trust and all developments, new implementations and so on, will be impacted by this feeling of untrustiness and crucial projects might suffer delays or even failures because of that.
There are talented technologists and there are talented business leaders. The most important is in Chance Irvine’s opinion, to create a bridge between the two so that the real value of technology can be reached. “It’s especially scary when a non-technical person is experiencing a change that is effectively driven through or by technology and technologists. That’s very scary. And it in most cases it shouldn’t be.”
Challenges in Delivering the Promise of a Company
Most of the companies nowadays have a strong IT component and in many cases, it was developed over the years starting from a small app or tool. This incremental development of systems and applications most companies have, is in Chance Irvine’s point of view, one of the most challenging aspects when it comes to implementing new technology for a company, a technology meant to push the company forward.
The first challenge is the technical debt of the platform as Irvine calls it. The technical debt is a phenomenon that includes all the IT developments from before the existence of agile and decentralized apps when most of the apps were centralized and all the developments grew on top until it became a ‘monolith’. Monoliths are not only centralized systems but they are representing a mentality that still prevails in many companies and although new technologies are desired and proposed, the first that must be changed is the mentalities.
Agile methodology, small size components solutions, decentralized apps and API strategies that have lately become the norm in IT developments. Implementations and adopting them is a multi-phase project that, in order to be adopted, it must be understood.
The second challenge in delivering the promise of a company is the full understanding of the transformational process from the side of top managers and which are its implications. Many are reluctant and disregard transformations until the company is starting to lose money, clients and resources in obvious ways. Then, transformations become critical, urgent and the pressure is extremely high creating a lot of misunderstandings and frustrations in all the teams. On the other hand, there are leaders that, due to a mix between the need to keep the company competitive and lack of information consider the implementations as easy tasks and set targets that are too optimistic in terms of projects’ deliveries. The pressure is even higher than in the first case and as Chance Irvine concluded “they claim a failure of implementation” projecting from before a state of dissatisfaction due to lack of knowledge and understanding. “A lot of these strategies if you’re a brand new company you can just start with them and you’re good to go because you have no technical debt you don’t have any legacy solutions that you’re still trying to deal with. But there are so many companies out there that do and there is a way that they can apply these new strategies but they have to have realistic expectations that it’s going to take some time before you get over the hump with the amount of luggage you’re carrying with you from the past.”
To deliver the promise of a company the IT leaders must bridge the old and the new technologies as well as mentalities. No matter the pressure of the market, of competitors and so on, all transitions should begin with planning the best way to fulfill the company’s promise and which are the best tactics in terms of technology. “And those things take time and having clarity with your counterparts on what that investment’s going to look like and investment is an important word because sometimes it’s time. It’s not necessarily additional dollars spent but the human resources that we’re already paying for we just need to invest them differently.”, concluded Chance Irvine.
Opportunities in the E-commerce Industry
The e-commerce rapid global development creates new opportunities for an impressive range of technological developments and tools. From this perspective, Chance Irvine is a very optimistic expert, really excited about the future.
From the smallest solutions to API strategy type of solutions, e-commerce represents an exciting arena for creative tech development. Being able to build what e-commerce businesses need, to have the opportunity to provide the tools that execute the transactions within their marketplace is the most important opportunity Chance Irvine sees. “To me, the most exciting piece would be to be the supplier of the tools behind the scenes than to be a particular marketplace in itself.”
For mid-sized IT companies, from the business point of view the biggest opportunities are coming from niche solutions that even the biggest players are using and Chance Irvine explained us very plainly in our talk: “In today’s world if I’m a mid-sized company, do I want to be the marketplace that sells a particular item very well or would I rather be the supplier of all of the tools that ten thousand marketplaces use? Would I rather make a whole bunch of money on one item, or do I want to make a small fraction of money on one hundred and fifty million transactions a day? I’ll take a small part of one hundred and fifty million transactions! The opportunity to be a player in e-Commerce today to be the solution underneath the covers.”
For many companies and their business leaders, new technologies and tools seem like the right answer for quickly solving a lot of problems that are adding more and more pressure through their lack of obvious solutions. But all companies have a past, a point zero where technology became a part and from that everything else just piled up. The first place to start is actually understanding that tech solutions many times come with systemic changes inside a company and understanding that the first thing to start working on is the mentality on what those technologies are actually doing for the company.
We hope you enjoyed our podcast interview with Chance Irvine.
For more valuable insights, make sure you come back to check out our next Growth Interviews as well.
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