Why Leading Companies are Going Agile

AgileBeing faster, more efficient and better equipped for the demands of business today is a philosophy that isn’t just confined to the standard arms of an organisation. It should also extend to your software development.

It’s been touted for years that agile is the go and waterfall is out, but many companies are still yet to embrace the benefits of moving to the agile side. For those enterprises, the risk of falling behind in getting products and services to market is significantly increased.

On the surface it’s easy to see why the waterfall approach is still implemented. It involves detailed plans and schedules being created before any code is written, which sounds like the logical way to plan out a project, following the adage of the five P’s – perfect planning prevents poor performance.

But the difference with software development is that it can’t be treated like your run-of-the-mill business project. It is particularly susceptible to changes because you often don’t know exactly what you want until you see it, so there is always an element of refinement and trial and error that will happen.

Agile development processes, however, embrace this constant flux and accommodate the certain change by focusing on short term plans. Like the waterfall approach, the requirements for a project are defined before the code is written and then tested, but this is done in small iterations, many times. Progress isn’t measured by how much you’ve stuck to the original outline but rather how much usable software has been created after each iteration. With development teams able to continuously align the delivered software with desired business needs, no matter the changing requirements, the risk of a project failing is drastically reduced.

Increasing Speed and Quality

One of the leading banks in northern Europe wanted to deliver new services faster so opted to implement agile development methods.

Targeted acquisitions are central to the bank’s growth strategy but their principle surrounding this was built on the idea of “one group, one system” – a method that was extremely time consuming.

In an industry that is moving and transforming at rapid speed, it became crucial for the organisation to match the changes in the market to avoid being left behind.

With agile development they saw a strong increase in the efficiency of their IT development, reducing the time to market of their services from 14 months to an average of nine months.

The quality of these services was also improved because of the testing and changes made after each iteration.

Teams are seeing the results of their work faster thanks to the short planning and development timeframes, and this is boosting employee satisfaction.

Perhaps most importantly, the business units experience closer cooperation with the IT department, meaning there is a higher degree of certainty that the right developments are taking place.

Delivering Results

This focus on utilising agile processes to speed up time to market is a common benefit organisations are seeing after going agile. A survey by VersionOne revealed that 66% of businesses say agile increases their velocity and helps them complete projects faster.

More streamlined processes ultimately help reduce development and maintenance costs and increase business value. According to a study conducted by Actuation Consulting, 86.9 percent of agile users attribute increased profits to the adoption of agile.

To fully empower your business with the benefits of agile development you have to implement a framework that will support the speed of agile, and that framework should be built on flash storage.

NetApp®’s All Flash FAS enables optimised agile development, making it easier to bring near real-time data into the development cycle and get your applications to market faster.

With All Flash FAS you can create zero-space, near-instantaneous clones of copies of anything from a single dataset to entire end-to-end environments. The reduced storage capacity requirement for these environments takes the significant infrastructure cost out of the equation and when new data is created in these zero-space development/test environments, NetApp de-duplication automatically ensures the underlying storage remains very space efficient over time.

By automating the process of constructing new end-to-end environments or refreshing existing environments, the labour effort for provisioning and maintenance is reduced as well as the time the whole process takes.

The end result is being able to test apps in real time with real data and quickly delivering applications to your users that are faster and more responsive to your business.

Fujitsu is a Platinum Partner of NetApp across Australasia, providing professionally-delivered, comprehensive support for critical NetApp® infrastructure. Our consulting expertise helps you take full advantage of all of the product features and benefits necessary for your environment. With our assistance, not only does your NetApp infrastructure run smoothly, it’s optimised for performance.

Click here to download our infographic on how NetApp® All Flash FAS is helping businesses thrive in the new business world.

The Real-Time Revolution

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We already know about Big Data and its ramifications for enabling better business decision making, but what’s really becoming a business game changer is the importance of Fast Data.

This is the emphasis on being able to process information as it comes in – in real time – so enterprises can be aware and take action immediately.

Accelerating operations in real time

One renowned German automaker has a firm focus on producing vehicles capable of reaching impressive speeds, but that philosophy didn’t always translate over to its operations.

The engines constructed by the marque are central to their high-performance reputation but in the past the way in which these were being tested was holding back efficiency, productivity and further development.

The company realised that being able to monitor the testing data in real-time could significantly speed up the process as real-time engine data could be instantly correlated with historical test data to recognise an issue as soon as it arises.

Now that the engine data is available immediately there is no need to wait for an hour-long test to be finished before analysing it and engineers can halt a test at any step in the procedure the minute it exhibits unusual behaviour. That’s led to more engine testing capacity each week, enabling engineers to focus on further refinement of the company’s high-performance engines.

Respond or relapse

This importance on being able to monitor and respond to business opportunities as they happen is quickly becoming the norm for high-performing organisations worldwide. A study of global companies by The Hackett Group found that 70 percent of leading firms had access to financial, customer, and supplier information in near real time or within one day.

Being able to respond in real time, however, requires systems capable of working at break-neck speeds and that’s a capability you can take advantage of with NetApp® All Flash FAS. This flash storage solution delivers low latency and enables your systems to operate up to 20-times faster than disk storage. That can mean the difference between taking action on the spot and winning business, or losing out to your competitors.

Fujitsu New Zealand is the premier NetApp System Services Certified Partner (SSCP) in NZ, providing professionally-delivered, comprehensive support for critical NetApp® infrastructure. Our consulting expertise helps you take full advantage of all of the product features and benefits necessary for your environment. With our assistance, not only does your NetApp infrastructure run smoothly, it’s optimised for performance.

Click here to download our ebook on how All Flash FAS can transform your enterprise

Why flash is the future of business.

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How companies operate, make decisions and serve customers is quickly moving towards a model where speed is an essential element to getting an edge on competitors. This focus on being faster, alongside the rise of big data and the cloud, is making storage a crucial factor in accelerating business.

The operations vital to keeping your enterprise humming are becoming more and more demanding, thanks to the huge growth in data and the increasing usage of this data for applications and business intelligence. That increased demand is putting more pressure on databases to perform.

When it comes to achieving better performance, forget about completely replacing or rebuilding existing systems because these options are expensive and difficult to undertake. The solution lies in smarter usage and adding to existing infrastructure: enter flash storage.

For years disk storage has been the norm for companies but now flash has been significantly enhanced to cope with the pressures of enterprise systems. Compression and deduplication features have made the cost of flash much more competitive and flash storage systems now boast failure rates below those for disk storage.

When flash is enterprise grade, it can reach its full potential, providing lower latency and higher density than traditional hard disk storage solutions, which means you’ll not only get higher speeds, you’ll also fit more capacity into a smaller footprint and save on costs. Storage options like NetApp® All Flash FAS enable you to run database applications up to 20-times faster than disk storage and accelerate the speed of your business for better overall business results.

With NetApp® All Flash FAS you can:

  • Respond to business opportunities in real time
  • Get those inefficient applications running like new again
  • Harness the power of agile development

Fujitsu New Zealand is the premier NetApp System Services Certified Partner (SSCP) in NZ, providing professionally-delivered, comprehensive support for critical NetApp® infrastructure. Our consulting expertise helps you take full advantage of all of the product features and benefits necessary for your environment. With our assistance, not only does your NetApp infrastructure run smoothly, it’s optimised for performance.

Click here to download our eBook on how NetApp® All Flash FAS can transform your enterprise.

Transition to enterprise mobility – a cultural change

Mobilizing1The focus of mobility and implementing an enterprise mobility solution tends to be on the technology itself. New devices, new apps, and ubiquitous secure access are all delivered through technology. However, the introduction of these technologies will fall well short of business expectations of improved productivity, collaboration and morale, without a parallel program of behavioural education and change management.

Fujitsu recognises that the delivery of IT capability must be fully integrated with a programme of business transformation if the target benefits and value are to be achieved. We work with clients to drive the change and can provide skills and advice to complement client’s own capabilities.

Our Transformation Framework
We think that the outcomes you should expect from a successful transformation are:

  • New ways of working have become “business as usual”.
  • Enhanced technology platform is an enabler of future business capabilities.
  • Your organisation recognises that the target benefits have been realised and that the contribution to your strategy and your future operating model have been achieved.
  • Your organisation now embraces change and further improvements are being actively sought.

We have strong underpinning capabilities in process improvement such as lean transformation, business change, organisation design and benefits realisation, as well as technology and applications. This is combined with deep functional expertise in HR, IT, procurement, customer experience and, finance and accounting.

For more information on Fujitsu Mobility go to: http://www.fujitsu.com/global/services/infrastructure/end-user-services/mobilize-workforce/

Digital Media improves the patient experience…

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Healthcare is an industry, in which technology can make a real difference to peoples’ lives. Our Digital Media team have put together an impressive demonstration of how innovative digital media solutions can be used to improve communication between patients and staff. Technologies such as Interactive Way Finders, Mobility, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Hotspots and Augmented Reality can significantly improve the patient experience while allowing providers to make the best use of limited human and medical resources.

In line with Fujitsu’s Human Centric Vision, these technologies allow health providers to enhance the patient experience and reduce perceived waiting times in lobbies, waiting rooms, and other areas throughout the facilities. Our solutions are based on Fujitsu’s dynamic award winning TELentice™ Digital Media Solution software. Digital Media will transform the way you interact with your audience. Fujitsu provides an end-to-end digital media managed solution from hardware, software, integration, implementation, support, content management and network monitoring and reporting.

If you are interested in seeing these technologies in action, come and visit our Digital Media team at the very first Connect Expo in Melbourne on March 13th and 14th. We will be at Stand #75 and visitors will have a chance to win a brand new Fujitsu Slate Tablet Q572. To find out more information around Fujitsu’s Digital Media offering or to set up an alternative time to view this demonstration please visit us on http://au.fujitsu.com/digitalmedia or email us at digital.media@au.fujitsu.com

Do you really need the desktop?

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Charles Ponniah, Fujitsu’s lead architect for End User Services challenges the role of the desktop in the organisation…

With so much technology around us, there are plenty of questions for every CIO, IT Department and the end users themselves.

One major question that seems to be constantly asked is “Do you really need the desktop?”. The “desktop” here isn’t about the hardware workstation or PC that sits on or under your work desk. The “desktop” here is all about the familiar sight we all see once we’ve logged in past the “CTRL + ALT + DEL” screen and for some of us its that “cluttered” workspace with all our shortcuts, files, folders, music, pictures and anything we can get our hands on.

The “desktop” still has a part to play in the end user computing world and how we use our workstation today. Currently around 80% of applications require a desktop,  but in 2-3 years time this could reduce to as low as 30%.

This predicted massive percentage drop over the next 2-3 years has very much to do with the proliferation of the multitude of devices ranging from tablets, smartphones and “phablets (combining the feel of a tablet with the convenience of a smartphone).

The huge way in which end users make use of their smartphones and tablets at home is quickly being transferred to the workplace. End users expect the ability to work with these devices at work and the quickly changing technology landscape is fast becoming an enabler for these devices in the workplace.

The reason: people are using and want to use applications in their natural form, sized for things like the iPad with a smaller form factor, portability, responsive on touch screens, tablet ready and so on.

In today’s world the VDI word keeps getting repeated for the ability to deliver end user’s their workspace anywhere, anytime and from any device. But you’re still stuck with a desktop that appears hard to navigate on a small form factor device as mentioned above.

Enter the applications only workspace. Take away the desktop, the need to secure the desktop, the need to have shortcuts on your desktop or in your documents folder and the need to launch a start menu to launch applications.

Imagine a world where, you pick up your mobile tablet, scroll across your tablet screens and find an icon called Office Email, touch the icon to launch it and hey presto your working on your office email and happily responding to work emails, adding meetings, responding to meeting invites and so on. Then you look for an icon that says Office Browser, launch that and perform functions like approving time sheets, expenses and entering your timesheet for the day. The next thing is to launch an icon called Office Docs which then you proceed to launch a document called “Company Ideas – My review.docx”. You then type in your review, comments and corrections.

From the above, you’ve just done what you normally do by getting to a company office desktop but this time avoiding the need to go looking for the start menu or shorcuts to the programs, finding the shorcut you’ve created in a folder called “a million shortcuts” through launching Windows Explorer, to finding the shortcut to a word editing document and you do get the picture of how very quickly the “desktop” world will be replaced by the “apps” world. Continue reading

Towards the Agile Workplace

An interview with James Mercer, Solution Director for Virtual Client Services at Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand

What exactly do you mean by the term, ‘Agile Workplace’?

There are two aspects to agility in the workplace:

  • The agility of the workforce, and
  • The agility of the organisation in general

A truly agile workforce has the ability to access corporate systems and information from a variety of devices and locations. Access to corporate systems and data needs to be flexible enough to cater for employees varying work and life commitments. This typically means the ability to change devices and still be able to access corporate information at any time. We all find that the ideal device varies with what we are doing at the time. For example a mobile phone becomes our choice of device while travelling or between meetings. A tablet may be the choice at home, while the corporate PC or laptop is our chosen device when in the office. The key to agility in the workforce is to enable the same access regardless of the device that is being used at the time. 

An agile organisation needs to have the ability provide its workforce with the IT resources to meet its business needs at any point in time. This often means the ability to scale up and down in response to seasonal events. For example Christmas time is a big push for Retail organisations, while the end of the financial year is a big period for accountancy firms. An agile workplace must be able to scale ‘compute power’ up and down to meet the needs of users based on seasonal or unusual requirements. From a commercial point of view, consumption-based delivery models lend themselves better to this approach than traditional managed services models that rely on capacity to be forecast well in advance to accommodate all requirements – ultimately resulting in organisations paying for more capacity than they really need.

How are your customers embracing the concept? Do you see any patterns emerging?

We are seeing a lot of interest in Virtual Client Computing (which we brand Virtual Client Services (VCS)) – led by large enterprises. We are working with large organisations in transport, logistics, and financial services. We have had a lot of interest from all levels of government as well as support functions for government such as police forces. We are seeing this across Australia and New Zealand and I’m informed by my global counterparts that there is a significant demand worldwide.

The demand for VCS is definitely being led by large enterprises. It is clear that reducing costs is a major driver towards consumption-based services but there is also a clear requirement to be able to provide a more mobile experience for users.

There is a lot of talk about BYOD – does this approach have a place in the Agile Workplace and what challenges does this present for corporate IT departments?

 BYOD definitely plays a big part in the drive towards centralised computing, although many organisations are still struggling with the concept. What we will see is a change from managing devices to managing corporate applications and data. The technologies are becoming available to enable enterprises to manage applications and data regardless of the device. Currently there is still concern as corporates want to select and control devices but that mindset will change as the security around applications and data is improved through technologies such as the Citrix ‘Mobility Bundle’.

So do you think we are finally seeing the end of the PC in the corporate world?

We are still seeing good use cases particularly for people who work offline or who don’t have continuous access to communications infrastructure. People who travel a lot on trains or planes where the constant access to the network is not always guaranteed will still benefit from using a laptop. But for those who are always connected – whether it is by a telco data connection or Wi-Fi – remote desktops are fantastic. I can see that in a short time frame people will just go to work and log into a corporate device rather than carry their own laptop around. Alternatively PC’s and laptops may be replaced by lower cost devices such as Netbooks .When staff are away from the office users will be able to select the device or devices of their choice and access corporate systems securely – and all of these devices will have the ability to access to the same business applications and corporate data to allow the user to be productive. It will be less important to travel with a laptop and therefore promote more sustainable practices such as cycling or walking to work.

Of course there will always be a use case for people with specific needs to use a PC or laptop at work – for example high-end developers, and people who need access to bespoke systems, and legacy applications – so PCs will hang around for a while. But I think you will see a shift towards remote desktop computing with virtualised end-user services.

Is the Agile Workplace the domain of Gen Y? How will Baby Boomers adopt to this way of working?

Regardless of their generation, people will adopt a new approach to technology if they see value. The key for organisations to make the implementation of Virtual Client Services a success is to demonstrate to end users a superior service to the service they are currently using. Essentially we need to show people that there is no difference while they are in the office, but they have a much richer experience when they are out of the office. Our service provides a highly personalised, enterprise grade solution to ensure that users feel like they have been ‘upgraded’. Whereas traditionally people felt like they were being ‘downgraded’ by moving to a thin client.

What is the impact of Agile Working on corporate IT departments and what strategies do you recommend to make their lives easier?

In short, corporate IT are generally our biggest fans! A lot of headaches go away and it improves the agility of the organisation. It makes it easy for them to make changes and maintain policy. VCS has a significant impact on the corporate IT department and it is mainly all positive.

Firstly, computing is centralised so there is a much lower security risk than in a decentralised architecture. With a centralised approach it is also easier to encourage the use of best practices. For a large organisation it could mean the difference between having only a few hundred servers to manage as opposed to thousands  of Operating systems on PC’s- and most of the server images are copies of a Gold Build master – this makes managing VCS relatively simple to manage.

Software upgrades and adding new services is significantly easier. For example in the case of Microsoft Office instead of a gigabyte upgrade for each of several thousand PC’s the upgrade can be applied once and rolled out to the organisation almost immediately.