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InfoQ Homepage News CA Technologies CEO Says "Built To Change is the New Paradigm"

CA Technologies CEO Says "Built To Change is the New Paradigm"

CA Technologies CEO Mike Gregoire opened the recent CA World conference predicting that successful companies of the future will be “Built To Change” by putting software at the center of everything they do, and that they need to be "built to change" from the ground up with software as the primary enabler of competitive advantage.  He said:

We are in the middle of a massive global business revolution, where conventional leadership, human resources, and financial management principles are being challenged. All of this requires a new mindset – and agility across your business – in how you use technology and how you build software. We must optimize for responsiveness to capitalize on new opportunities, make room for innovation, and deliver unique value to our customers.

In his talk he gave examples of this disruption and how they are impacting a wide range of industries. 

InfoQ spoke to Ryan Polk, SVP of Product for the Agile Management business unit at CA Technologies about the implications of this "new paradigm" for companies and their technology departments.

InfoQ: You say that companies need to be “Built to Change” – what does that mean, and hasn’t it always been the case?

Ryan Polk: Companies need to be continuously innovating and improving to be highly competitive in the market -- limiting their ability to be disrupted and also focusing on disrupting competitors as well. Interestingly, this hasn’t always been the case. What’s changed is the pace of innovation and the introduction of a whole sector of the market designed around disrupting other companies.  Business culture has changed over the last twenty years and evolving technology has changed how quickly we move as an organization. It used to take a year to get new software out the door at minimum (often more like two years). Now we can get new products and software to market in months (if not sooner), and quickly driving value for customers shortly after that. And that ability to innovate in the ‘space of software’ is driving our mentality in all products, not just software. Consumers are not willing to wait and product delivery cycles are getting faster every year.

InfoQ: What are the implications of this for technical leaders in organizations?

Polk: Tech leaders have to build an organization that is continually improving and evolving - you can’t rest on your laurels at any point. You not only have to be thinking about how quickly your development organization is moving, but also whether they are building the right things, and whether what they're building is something that will be sustainable in your current market. Additionally, are you so focused on continually evolving your current market that you’re not seeing a huge market in front of you?

Additionally, often leaders’ management styles need to change. Leaders need to be continuously improving the organization. If you’re a software company, that means working in an agile fashion. You understand how that impacts every element of what you do, and your teams have a full understanding of what it means to be a fully agile organization. Which is more than just “doing” agile.

InfoQ: What new technologies or approaches should organizations be investigating and adopting to facilitate this?

PolkAgile and agile at scale. Along with agile, the concepts of devops, continuous delivery - those are table stakes. You should also look at how you can quickly deliver products to customers and how to service your customers to drive faster feedback cycles.  If you can’t tie the loop between the idea you have, the revenue/money you make from that idea, and how happy it makes your customers, you haven’t completed the system you need to create.

InfoQ: What are the implications for things like management structures, team formation, HR policies and other areas of business in order to support the new ways of working?

PolkManagement needs to be designed for speed and organized around the value we give our customers - not around political structures. That means, from an agile perspective, flatter organizations, minimum viable HR policies, and a strong concept of team throughout all levels of the organization.  That concept of team is core to everything we do from the engineers through the executive team, including how those teams use agile activities and behaviors to understand and manage their organizations.

InfoQ: How does CA support organizations as a whole, and technical teams in particular, as they adopt new ways of working?

PolkFirst of all, we focus on the whole solution for our customers. That solution includes a better way of working and a better way to get from ideas to outcomes. With coaching and transformation services, we work with companies to be more agile and serve their customers in a more effective way. We help leaders understand the need for change and give them a framework for both rolling out change to org and managing that change long term.  Beyond that, we then provide the products to help them plan, manage, continuously deliver and service their software and IT products. This combination of thought leadership, transformational services, and products that are aligned to those concepts is one of our key differentiators. It allows us to drive new ways of working in combination with new ways of managing, supported by our products.


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