The best way to live a city is to walk its streets. That why, when I stepped out of my hotel to go to the Messe Frankfurt Conference Center and collect my badge for the HP Discover, I chose to walk. I could feel and live the cohesive mix of history and modern technology, and their healthy co-existence in the city of Frankfurt. Several buildings retain their pristine architecture, symbolizing Frankfurt’s cultural history, while modern technology manifests itself in various forms—from towering skyscrapers to underground trains. Fast-food chains coexist with full scale restaurants, competing to serve the world's best bratwurst. To me, the city of Frankfurt symbolizes the art of Applications Transformation. Never a complete revamp, the concept of Application Transformation is to change the landscape of applications within an enterprise. Modernization is selectively performed where it makes business sense—just as the city of Frankfurt has done by updating some of its architecture.
Applications Transformation is an art. You don't modernize every application component every time. The answer is likely to be different for each application. You may modernize the user interface for one application as one would transform a 1930 Pontiac Coupe. For another application, you modernize only its enabling infrastructure—like the city of Frankfurt did with Hauptbahnhof—its main train station. You could completely replace a dilapidated structure with a new, vertically scalable building literally reaching into the clouds. Therein lies the art of transformation: the scientific application of the right modernization strategies for the right applications.
In the city of Frankfurt, some buildings reach for the clouds. Others maintain their traditional splendor. When it comes to converged cloud solutions—the city of Frankfurt “gets it.” Is it sending HP Discover attendees a subtle message? I wonder.
Geoffrey Moore's characterization of Systems of Record, and Systems of Engagement come to mind. The buildings that are centuries old are the Systems of Record—stoic while projecting themselves standing upright as the authority on German architecture and history. However, newer generations have moved on to Systems of Engagement—every other person on the street holding a BYOD device, the network of taxis knowing exactly who is where, when and every transaction being captured and registered automatically to glean valuable business intelligence. The modernization of applications must expand its focus to include Systems of Engagement, building upon the founding principles of modernizing Systems of Record. If you have any doubts, just take a walk down Freidrich-Ebert-Anlage.
These are the thoughts that I will have in my mind when I orchestrate the Blogger Coffee Talk on Applications Transformation on Tue, Dec 4 at 4:45 PM.
How about you? Are you attending HP Discover? What messages are you getting from the city of Frankfurt? Have other cities sent similar messages to you? Please let me know. If you can comment on your experience in this post in the next 24 hours, I will make sure we factor that into our Coffee Talk!