Cloud Native in the Enterprise ; What about outsourcing?


At the beginning of the month Geert posted the following question on Twitter ;

Where the “depends” was a common word to be found in this thread. đŸ˜‰ So let us delve into this today, shall we?


Preample : Wardley Maps and “Pioneers, Settlers & Town Planners”

As such, I am a fan of Simon Wardley’s “Wardley Map“-methodology. I have often used it in the past as a consultant to provide a solid foundation on strategical decision. If it is a new concept for you, then check out the following posts. Closely linked to that is the concept of “Pioneers, Settlers & Town Planners“.

Again… if you are not familiar with it, read up on the reference blog post! đŸ˜‰ Where in essence ;

  • “Pioneers are brilliant people. They are able to explore never before discovered concepts, the uncharted land. They show you wonder but they fail a lot. Half the time the thing doesn’t work properly. You wouldn’t trust what they build. They create ‘crazy’ ideas. Their type of innovation is what we call core research. They make future success possible. Most of the time we look at them and go “what?”, “I don’t understand?” and “is that magic?”. In the past, we often burnt them at the stake. They built the first ever electric source (the Parthian Battery, 400AD) and the first ever digital computer (Z3, 1943).” => Pioneers get your from ‘genesis’ to ‘custom’…
  • “Settlers are brilliant people. They can turn the half baked thing into something useful for a larger audience. They build trust. They build understanding. They make the possible future actually happen. They turn the prototype into a product, make it manufacturable, listen to customers and turn it profitable. Their innovation is what we tend to think of as applied research and differentiation. They built the first ever computer products (e.g. IBM 650 and onwards), the first generators (Hippolyte Pixii, Siemens Generators).” => Settlers get you from ‘custom’ to ‘product and rental services’…
  • “Town Planners are brilliant people. They are able to take something and industrialize it taking advantage of economies of scale. This requires immense skill. You trust what they build. They find ways to make things faster, better, smaller, more efficient, more economic and good enough. They build the services that pioneers build upon. Their type of innovation is industrial research. They take something that exists and turn it into a commodity or a utility (e.g. with Electricity, then Edison, Tesla and Westinghouse). They are the industrial giants we depend upon.” => Town Planners get you from ‘product and rental services’ to ‘commodity and utility services’…

Where the concept goes a bit further than Gartner’s bi-modal model.


Mapping methodologies to Wardley Maps!

Okay Karim… You had us read a lot of academic stuff. But what has this to do with outsourcing cloud native stuff? Bear with me… One last time to Simon, who did an awesome keynote on OSCON in 2012. Here he also referenced methodologies around about 8 minutes 20 seconds into the talk.


Now this is where things start to become interesting right? So now we know the archetypes of our key actors, and we can map them to the methodologies that best serve them…

  • Pioneers ; Agile works best, where it is best to be done in-house.
  • Settlers ; Can cater to both, where lean fits in nicely.
  • Town Planners ; Outsourcing falls into this place.


TomAto, TOmato So what about cloud native, eh?

I just quickly (and without much thought) drafted an example wardley map out (by using Atlas) ;


Though be aware that such a map is constantly evolving. So you should update it regularly! Though by doing so, we can now segment certain bits into our typical actors…


Where we can safely say that the pink thingie is best not put into an outsourcing mode or into a waterfall alike approach. Where the green wave can be regarded as something virtually any supporting service integrator or managed service provider should be able to handle. Where the blue one is typically something where you see those who are ahead of the (green) pack …


Closing Thoughts

So is outsourcing fit for cloud native service? YES! NO! YES! NO! … Kinde like Schrödinger cat? As the sentiment from the initial twitter thread, one can safely say “It depends!”. Where I hope that this post has given you a structure how you can look at what factor will influence that “It depends!” for your scenario. There is not one definition of “Cloud Native” (as I discussed in the past). Which in turn makes the answer vary depending on a given set of context. Anyhow, as always, I hope this was insightful for you and that it helps you on your journey through the cloud native space! đŸ˜‰

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