Codento Levels Up Serverless Expertise at Google Cloud Nordics Serverless Summit 2023

Codento Levels Up Serverless Expertise at Google Cloud Nordics Serverless Summit 2023

 

Authors: Olli-Pekka Lamminen, Google Bard

In November, Codento was thrilled to be invited to attend the Google Cloud Nordics Serverless Summit 2023 in Sunnyvale, California. This two-day event, held at the Google Cloud campus, was packed with exciting updates, in-depth discussions, and valuable networking opportunities.

 

Cloud-Powered Efficiency: Cost, Performance, and Creativity

The ability to drive down operational costs featured heavily at the Serverless Summit. With a pay-as-you-go pricing model and reduced price for idle instances Cloud Run is one of the most cost effective ways for businesses to run their workloads in a serverless environment. Flexible scaling from zero aligns perfectly with the dynamic nature of serverless applications, ensuring that organisations only pay for the resources they consume. This together with low management overhead and ease of development makes serverless technology accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes.

Synthetic monitoring with Cloud Ops provides proactive insights into application performance and health, enabling businesses to identify and address potential issues before they impact real users. By simulating user interactions, this monitoring tool proactively identifies and alerts about potential problems, allowing businesses to maintain scalable and responsiveoperations. Together with capabilities like Log Analytics and AIOps, the Cloud Operations suite empowers businesses to prevent and address performance issues proactively, ensuring a consistently positive user experience.

Cloud based development environments, enhanced with Duet AI, bring the power of artificial intelligence to the creative workspace. Duet AI acts as an intelligent assistant, providing real-time feedback and suggestions, enabling creative professionals to enhance their productivity and achieve their visions. Google’s commitment to protecting its customers using generative AI products, like Duet AI and Vertex AI, in the event of copyright infringement lawsuits further reinforces the company’s dedication to innovation and responsible AI development.

 

Google’s Focus on Developer Experience with Cloud Run

It was evident that Google is placing a strong emphasis enhancing developer experience, focusing on making Cloud Run even more developer-friendly and efficient. The company discussed several new features and enhancements designed to streamline the process of building and deploying serverless applications, all of which are already available at least in preview today. These include:

  • Accelerated Build and Deployment: Google is streamlining the build and deployment process for Cloud Run applications with optimised buildpacks, making it easier and faster for developers to get their applications up and running quickly, efficiently and securely.
  • Improved Performance and Scalability: Google is continuously improving the performance and scalability of Cloud Run, ensuring that applications can handle even the most demanding workloads. Cloud Run has demonstrated the ability to scale from zero to thousands within mere seconds.
  • Ease of Integration with Other Google Cloud Offerings: With Cloud Run integrations, developers can easily take other Google Cloud services, such as Cloud Load Balancing, Firebase Hosting and Cloud Memorystore, in use with their serverless applications. Products like Eventarc allow developers to establish seamless communication between serverless applications and other cloud services, facilitating event-driven workflows and real-time data processing.
  • Simplified Networking and Security: While Cloud Run integrations make using load balancers a breeze, Direct VPC egress enables serverless applications to directly access resources within a VPC, eliminating the need for a proxy. This direct communication enhances performance and minimises latency. IAP provides a secure gateway for external users to access serverless applications, leveraging Google’s authentication infrastructure to verify user identities before granting access.
  • Effortless Workload Migration: Cloud Run and GKE Autopilot can run the same container images without any modifications, and their resource descriptions are nearly identical. This makes it incredibly easy to move your workloads between the two platforms, depending on your specific needs or as those needs evolve.

 

Project Starline and the Future of Internet in Space

Beyond the technical discussions, we also had the opportunity to explore Project Starline, Google’s experimental 3D video communication technology. Project Starline uses a combination of hardware and software to create a more natural and immersive video conferencing experience.

We also had the pleasure of discussing the future of the internet in space with Vint Cerf, a pioneer in the field of computer networking and often referred to as the “father of the Internet.” Cerf shared his insights on the challenges and opportunities of building a reliable and accessible internet infrastructure in space.

 

An Invaluable Experience that Spurs Innovation

Overall, the Google Cloud Nordics Serverless Summit 2023 proved to be an invaluable experience for us. We gained insights into the latest advancements in serverless technology, learned from Google experts, and connected with other industry leaders. We are excited to apply our newfound knowledge to help our customers build and deploy even more innovative serverless applications.

About the Authors

Olli-Pekka Lamminen is an experienced software and cloud architect at Codento, with over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. Olli-Pekka is utilising his extensive background and knowledge to design and implement robust, scalable software solutions for our customers. His deep understanding of cloud technologies and telecommunications empowers him to deliver exceptional solutions that meet the evolving needs of businesses.

Google Bard is a powerful language model that can generate text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and answer your questions in an informative way. It is still under development, but we are excited about its potential to help people in a variety of ways.

 

Learn more about Codento’s software intelligence services:

Top 4 Picks by Codento Team –  fooConf, Helsinki

Top 4 Picks by Codento Team –  fooConf, Helsinki

 

Authors: Codento consultants Samuel Mäkelä, Iiro Niemi, Olli Alm & Timo Koola

On Tuesday November 7th the second installment of fooConf was held at Hakaniemi, Helsinki. We (eight of us!) spent the day in the conference and asked our team what their one pick of the day was.

Here are our top 4 of the fooConf Helsinki 2023!

 

#1 Adam Tornhill: The business impact of code quality (top pick by Samuel)

To me, Adam Tornhill’s conference talk was quite mind-blowing. His ”10 years of trauma & research in technical debt” not only translated complex research data into clear visualizations about technical debt and code complexity, but also underscored the significant business impact of tackling these challenges. Through his presentation, Tornhill illuminated how addressing technical debt can lead to improved code quality, reduced maintenance costs and ultimately contribute to the overall success of a software project. It was a fascinating blend of in-depth research and practical insights, leaving a lasting impression on how we perceive and approach software development from both technical and business perspectives.

 

#2 Mete Atamel: WebAssembly beyond the browser (by Iiro)

Mete Atamel from Google discussed the evolving use of WebAssembly technology outside the browser environment. He emphasized that WebAssembly on the server, particularly with the WebAssembly System Interface (WASI), offers a compelling alternative to traditional methods of running applications, such as through virtual machines or containers. This perspective aligns with findings from the CNCF 2022 Annual Survey, which indicates a growing consensus that “Containers are the new normal and Wasm as the future”. Leveraging Wasm with WASI offers several notable benefits over containers, such as faster execution, reduced footprint, enhanced security and portability. However, despite this enthusiasm, it’s important to recognize that we are still some distance from having fully-featured and stable WebAssembly projects for server-side applications. This gap highlights the ongoing development and the need for further innovation in the field.

 

#3 Guillaume LaForge: Generative AI in practice: Concrete LLM use cases in Java, with the PaL

M API (by Olli)

Guillaume presented hands-on examples on how to utilize large language models via Google PaLM API. PaLM (Pathways Language Model) is a single, generalized language model that can be adjusted to specific domains or sizes (PaLM2). In his presentation, Guillaume utilized Google PaLM APIs and Langchain for building a bedtime story generator in Groovy.

Links below:

 

#4 Marit van Dijk: Reading Code (by Timo)

Presentation by Marit van Dijk (link to slides) starts with a simple observation: “We spend a lot of time learning to write code, while spending little to no time learning to read code. Meanwhile, we often spend more time reading code than actually writing it. Shouldn’t we be spending at least the same amount of time and effort improving this skill?“.

These questions take us into fascinating topics ranging from how to help our brain understand other programmers and our shared code (see book Programmer’s Brain by Felienne Hermans) to structured practices that build up our code reading capabilities. The practice called “Code Reading Club” is one way to practice code reading systematically in small groups. This presentation made me want to try this with team Codento. Stay tuned, we will tell you how it went!

 

 

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Introduction to AI in Business Blog Series: Unveiling the Future

Introduction to AI in Business Blog Series: Unveiling the Future

Author: Antti Pohjolainen, Codento

 

Foreword

In today’s dynamic business landscape, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative force, reshaping the way industries operate and paving the way for innovation. Companies of all sizes are implementing AI-based solutions.

AI is not just a technological leap; it’s a strategic asset, revolutionizing how businesses function, make decisions, and serve their customers.

In discussions and workshops with our customers, we have identified close to 250 different use cases for a wide range of industries. 

 

Our AI in Business Blog Series

In addition to publishing our AI.cast on-demand video production, we summarize our key learnings and insights in the “AI in Business” blog series.

This blog series will delve into the multifaceted role AI plays in reshaping business operations, customer relations, and overall software intelligence. In the following blog posts, each post has a specific viewpoint concentrating on a business need. Each perspective contains examples and customer references of innovative ways to implement AI.

In the next part – Customer Foresight – we’ll discuss how AI will provide businesses with better customer understanding based on their buying behavior, better use of various customer data, and analyzing customer feedback.

In part three – Smart Operations – we’ll look at examples of benefits customers have gained by implementing AI into their operations, including smart scheduling and supply chain optimization.

In part four – Software Intelligence – we’ll concentrate on using AI in software development.

Implementing AI to solve your business needs could provide better decision-making capabilities, increase operational efficiency, improve customer experiences, and help mitigate risks.

The potential of AI in business is vast, and these blog posts aim to illuminate the path toward leveraging AI for enhanced business growth, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Join us in unlocking the true potential of AI in the business world.

Stay tuned for our next installment: “Customer Foresight” – Unveiling the Power of Predictive Analytics in Understanding Customer Behavior.!

 

 

About the author: Antti  “Apo” Pohjolainen, Vice President, Sales, joined Codento in 2020. Antti has led Innofactor’s (Nordic Microsoft IT provider) sales organization in Finland and, prior to that, worked in leadership roles in Microsoft for the Public sector in Finland and Central & Eastern Europe. Apo has been working in different sales roles longer than he can remember. He gets a “seller’s high” when meeting with customers and finding solutions that provide value for all parties involved. Apo received his MBA from the University of Northampton. His final business research study dealt with Multi-Cloud. Apo has frequently lectured about AI in Business at the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences.  

 

 

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Google Cloud Nordic Summit 2023: Three Essential Technical Takeaways

Google Cloud Nordic Summit 2023: Three Essential Technical Takeaways

Authors, Jari Timonen, Janne Flinck, Google Bard

Codento  participated with a team of six members in the Google Cloud Nordic Summit on 19-20 September 2023, where we had the opportunity to learn about the latest trends and developments in cloud computing.

In this blog post, we will share some of the key technical takeaways from the conference, from a developer’s perspective.

 

Enterprise-class Generative AI for Large Scale Implementtation

One of the most exciting topics at the conference was Generative AI (GenAI). GenAI is a type of artificial intelligence that can create new content, such as text, code, images, and music. GenAI is still in its early stages of development, but it has the potential to revolutionize many industries.

At the conference, Google Cloud announced that its GenAI toolset is ready for larger scale implementations. This is a significant milestone, as it means that GenAI is no longer just a research project, but a technology that 

can be used to solve real-world problems.

One of the key differentiators of Google Cloud’s GenAI technologies is their focus on scalability and reliability. Google Cloud has a long track record of running large-scale AI workloads, and it is bringing this expertise to the GenAI space. This makes Google Cloud a good choice for companies that are looking to implement GenAI at scale.

 

Cloud Run Helps Developers to Focus on Writing Code

Another topic that was covered extensively at the conference was Cloud Run. Cloud Run is a serverless computing platform that allows developers to run their code without having to manage servers or infrastructure. Cloud Run is a simple and cost-effective way to deploy and manage web applications, microservices, and event-driven workloads.

One of the key benefits of Cloud Run is that it is easy to use. Developers can deploy their code to Cloud Run with a single command, and Google Cloud will manage the rest. This frees up developers to focus on writing code, rather than managing infrastructure.

Google just released Direct VPC egress functionality to Cloud Run. It lowers the latency and increases throughput  for connections to your VPC network. It is more cost effective than serverless VPC connectors which used to be the only way to connect your VPC to Cloud Run.

Another benefit of Cloud Run is that it is cost-effective. Developers only pay for the resources that their code consumes, and there are no upfront costs or long-term commitments. This makes Cloud Run a good choice for all companies.

 

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Increases Customer Satisfaction

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a discipline that combines software engineering and systems engineering to ensure the reliability and performance of software systems. SRE is becoming increasingly important as companies rely more and more on cloud-based applications.

At the conference, Google Cloud emphasized the importance of SRE for current and future software teams and companies. 

One of the key benefits of SRE is that it can help companies improve the reliability and performance of their software systems. This can lead to reduced downtime, improved customer satisfaction, and increased revenue.

Another benefit of SRE is that it can help companies reduce the cost of operating their software systems. SRE teams can help companies identify and eliminate waste, and they can also help companies optimize their infrastructure.

 

Conclusions

The Google Cloud Nordic Summit was a great opportunity to learn about the latest trends and developments in cloud computing. We were particularly impressed with Google Cloud’s GenAI toolset and Cloud

 Run platform. We believe that these technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way that software is developed and deployed.

We were also super happy

that Codento was awarded with the Partner Impact 2023 Recognition in Finland by Google Cloud Nordic team. Codento received praise for deep expertise in Google Cloud services and market impact, impressive NPS score, and  achievement of the second Google Cloud specialization.

 

 

 

 

 

About the Authors

Jari Timonen, is an experienced software professional with more than 20 years of experience in the IT field. Jari’s passion is to build bridges between the business and the technical teams, where he has worked in his previous position at Cargotec, for example. At Codento, he is at his element in piloting customers towards future-compatible cloud and hybrid cloud environments.

Janne Flinck is an AI & Data Lead at Codento. Janne joined Codento from Accenture 2022 with extensive experience in Google Cloud Platform, Data Science, and Data Engineering. His interests are in creating and architecting data-intensive applications and tooling. Janne has three professional certifications and one associate certification in Google Cloud and a Master’s Degree in Economics.

Bard is a conversational generative artificial intelligence chatbot developed by Google, based initially on the LaMDA family of large language models (LLMs) and later the PaLM LLM. It was developed as a direct response to the rise of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and was released in a limited capacity in March 2023 to lukewarm responses, before expanding to other countries in May.

 

Contact us for more information about our Google Cloud capabilities:

100 Customer Conversations Shaped Our New AI and Apps Service Offering 

100 Customer Conversations Shaped Our New AI and Apps Service Offering 

 

Author: Anthony Gyursanszky, CEO, Codento

 

Foreword

A few months back, in a manufacturing industry event: Codento  just finished our keynote together with Google and our people started mingling among the audience. Our target was to agree on a follow-up discussions about how to utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) and modern applications for their business.

The outcome of that mingling session was staggering. 50% of the people we talked with wanted to continue the dialogue with us after the event. The hit rate was not 10%, not 15%, but 50%. 

We knew before already that AI will change everything, but with this, our  confidence climbed to another level . Not because we believed in this, but because we realized that so many others did, too.

AI will change the way we serve customers and manufacture things, the way we diagnose and treat illnesses, the way we travel and commute, and the way we learn. AI is everywhere, and not surprisingly, it is also the most common topic that gets executives excited and interested in talking. 

AI does not solve the use cases without application innovations. Applications  integrate the algorithms to an existing operating environment, they provide required user interfaces, and  they handle the orchestration in a more complex setup.

 

We address your industry- and role-specific needs with AI and application innovations 

We at Codento have been working with AI and Apps for several years now. Some years back, we also sharpened our strategy to be the partner of choice in Finland for Google Cloud Platform-based solutions in the AI and applications innovation space. 

During the past six months, we have been on a mission to workshop with as many organizations as possible about their needs and aspirations for AI and Apps. This mission has led us to more than a hundred discussions with dozens and dozens of people from the manufacturing industry to retail and healthcare to public services.

Based on these dialogues, we concluded that it is time for Codento to move from generic technology talks to more specific messages that speak the language of our customers. 

Thus, we are thrilled to introduce our new service portfolio, shaped by those extensive conversations with various organizations’ business, operations, development, and technology experts.

Tailored precisely to address your industry and role-specific requirements, we now promise you more transparent customer foresight, smarter operations, and increased software intelligence – all built on a future-proof, next-generation foundation on Google Cloud. 

These four solution areas will form the pillars of Codento’s future business. Here we go.

 

AI and Apps for Customer Foresight

As we engaged with sales, marketing and customer services officers we learned that the majority is stuck with limited visibility of customer understanding and of the impact their decisions and actions have on their bottom line. AI and Apps can change all this.

For example, with almost three out of four online shoppers expecting brands to understand their unique needs, the time of flying blind on marketing, sales, and customer service is over.

Codento’s Customer Foresight offering is your key to thriving in tomorrow’s markets.  

  • Use data and Google’s innovative tech, trained on the world’s most enormous public datasets, to find the right opportunities, spot customers’ needs, discover new markets, and boost sales with more intelligent marketing. 
  • Exceed your customers’ expectations by elevating your retention game with great experiences based on new technology. Keep customers returning by foreseeing their desires and giving them what they want when and how they want it – even before they realize their needs themselves. 
  • Optimize Your Profits with precise data-driven decisions based on discovering your customers’ value with Google’s ready templates for calculating Customer Lifetime Value. With that, you can focus on the best customers, make products that sell, and set prices that work. 

 

AI and Apps for Smart Operations 

BCG has stated that 89% of industrial companies plan to implement AI in their production networks. As we have been discussing with the operations, logistics and supply chain directors, we have seen this to be true – the appetite is there.

Our renewed Smart Operations offering is your path to operational excellence and increased resilience. You should not leave this potential untapped in your organization. 

  • By smart scheduling your operations, we will help streamline your factory, logistics, projects, and supply chain operations. With the help of Google’s extensive AI tools for manufacturing and logistics operations, you can deliver on time, within budget, and with superior efficiency. 
  • Minimize risks related to disruptions, protect your reputation, and save resources, thereby boosting employee and customer satisfaction while cutting costs.  
  • Stay one step ahead with the power of AI, transparent data, and analytics. Smart Operations keeps you in the know, enabling you to foresee and tackle disruptions before they even happen. 

 

AI and Apps for Software Intelligence 

For the product development executives of software companies, Codento offers tools and resources for unleashing innovation. The time to start benefiting from AI in software development is now. 

Gartner predicts that 15% of new applications will be automatically generated by AI in the year 2027 – that is, without any interaction with a human. As a whopping 70% of the world’s generative AI startups already rely on Google Cloud’s AI capabilities, we want to help your development organization do the same. 

  • Codento’s support for building an AI-driven software strategy will help you confidently chart your journey. You can rely on Google’s strong product vision and our expertise in harnessing the platform’s AI potential. 
  • Supercharge your software development and accelerate your market entry with cutting-edge AI-powered development tools. With Codento’s experts, your teams can embrace state-of-the-art DevOps capabilities and Google’s cloud-native application architecture. 
  • When your resources fall short, you can scale efficiently by complementing your development capacity with our AI and app experts. Whether it’s Minimum Viable Products, rapid scaling, or continuous operations, we’ve got your back. 

 

Nextgen Foundation to enable AI and Apps

While the business teams are moving ahead with AI and App  initiatives related to Customer Foresight, Smart Operations, and Software Intelligence   IT functions are often bound to legacy IT and data  architectures and application portfolios. This creates pressure for the IT departments to keep up with the pace.

All the above-mentioned comes down to having the proper foundation to build on, i.e., preparing your business for the innovations that AI and application technologies can bring. Moving to a modern cloud platform will allow you to harness the potential of AI and modern applications, but it is also a cost-cutting endeavor.BCG has studied companies that are forerunners in digital and concluded that they can save up to 30% on their IT costs when moving applications and infrastructure to the cloud. 

  • Future-proof your architecture and operations with Google’s secure, compliant, and cost-efficient cloud platform that will scale to whatever comes next. Whether you choose a single cloud strategy or embrace multi-cloud environments, Codento has got you covered. 
  • You can unleash the power and amplify the value of your data through real-time availability, sustainable management, and AI readiness. With Machine Learning Ops (MLOps), we streamline your organization’s scaling of AI usage. 
  • We can also help modernize your dated application portfolio with cloud-native applications designed for scale, elasticity, resiliency, and flexibility. 

 

Sharpened messages wing Codento’s entry to the Nordic market 

With these four solution areas, we aim to discover the solutions to your business challenges quickly and efficiently. We break the barriers between business and technology with our offerings that speak the language of the target person. We are dedicated to consistently delivering solutions that meet your needs and learn and become even more efficient over time.  

Simultaneously, we eagerly plan to launch Codento’s services and solutions to the Nordic market. Our goal is to guarantee that our customers across the Nordics can seize the endless benefits of Google’s cutting-edge AI and application technologies without missing a beat.

About the author:

Anthony Gyursanszky, CEO, joined Codento in late 2019 with more than 30 years of experience in the IT and software industry. Anthony has previously held management positions at F-Secure, SSH, Knowit / Endero, Microsoft Finland, Tellabs, Innofactor and Elisa. Hehas also served on the boards of software companies, including Arc Technology and Creanord. Anthony also works as a senior consultant for Value Mapping Services. His experience covers business management, product management, product development, software business, SaaS business, process management, and software development outsourcing. Anthony is also a certified Cloud Digital Leader.

 

Contact us for more information on our services:

 

Codento Goes FooConf 2023 – Highlights and Learnings

Codento Goes FooConf 2023 – Highlights and Learnings

 

Author: Andy Valjakka, Full Stack Developer and an Aspiring Architect, Codento

Introduction

While spending most of our time consulting for our clients every now and then a perfect opportunity arises to get inspiration from high quality conferences. This time a group of codentians decide to spend an exciting day at fooConf 2023 with a bunch of fellow colleagues from other organizations.

 

FooConf 2023: Adventures in the Conference for Developers, by Developers

The first-ever fooConf has wrapped up, and it has given its attendees a wealth of information about tools, technologies, and methods, as well as inspiring keynote speeches. We got to experience a range of presentations that approached the listeners in differing ways, ranging from thought-provoking presentations where the attendees were offered novel perspectives all the way down to very practical case studies that illustrated how the learning is done by actually doing.

So what exactly is fooConf? As their website states, it is a conference that is “by Developers for Developers”. In other words, all the presentations have been tailored to those working in the software industry: functional, practical information that can be applied right now.

Very broadly speaking, the presentations fell into two categories: 

  1. Demonstrating the uses and benefits of different tools, and
  2. Exploratory studies on actual cases or on how to think about problems.

Additionally, the keynote speeches formed their own third category about personal growth and self-reflection in the ever-changing turbulence of the industry. 

Let’s dive deeper into each of the categories and see what we can find!

 

Tools of the Trade

In our profession, there is definitely no shortage of tools that range from relatively simple IDE plugins to intelligent assistants such as GitHub Copilot. In my experience, you tend to pick some and grow familiar with them, which can make it difficult to expand your horizons on the matter. Perhaps some of the tools presented are just the thing you need for your current project.

For example, given that containers and going serverless are current trends, there is a lot to learn on how to operate those kinds of environments properly. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to container security on Kubernetes, a presentation by Abdellfetah Sghiouar, had plenty to offer on how to ensure your clusters are not compromised by threats such as non-secure images and users with too many privileges. In particular, using gVisor to create small, isolated kernels for containers was an idea we could immediately see real-life use for.

Other notable highlights are as follows:

  • For Java developers, in particular, there is OpenLiberty – a cloud-native microservice framework that is a runtime for MicroProfile. (Cloud-Native Dev Tools: Bringing the cloud back to earth by Grace Jansen.)
  • GitHub Actions – a way to do DevOps correctly right away with an exciting matrix strategy feature to easily configure similar jobs with small variations. (A Call to (GitHub) Actions! by Justin Lee.)
  • Retrofitting serverless architecture to a legacy system can be done by cleverly converting the system data into events using Debezium. (A Legacy App enters a Serverless Bar by Sébastien Blanc.)

 

Problems Aplenty

At its core, working with software requires problem-solving skills which in turn require ideas, new perspectives, and occasionally a pinch of madness as well. Learning from the experiences of others is invaluable as it is the best way to approach subjects without having to dive deep into them, with the added bonus of getting to hear what people like you really think about them. Luckily, fooConf had more than enough to offer in this regard.

For instance, the Security by design presentation by Daniel Deogun gave everyone a friendly reminder that security issues are always present and you should build “Defense in Depth” by implementing secure patterns to every facet of your software – especially if you are building public APIs. A notable insight from this presentation relates to the relatively recent Log4Shell vulnerability: logging frameworks should be seen as a separate system and treated as such. Among other things, the presentation invited everyone to think about what parts of your software are – in actuality – separate and potentially vulnerable systems.

Other highlights:

  • In the future of JavaScript, there will be an aim to close the gap between server and client-side rendering by leaving the minimum possible amount of JavaScript to be executed by the end-user. (JavaScript frameworks of tomorrow by Juho Vepsäläinen.)
  • Everyone has the responsibility to test software, even if there are designated testers; testers can uncover unique perspectives via research, but 77% of production failures could be caught by unit testing. (Let’s do a Thing and Call it Foo by Maaret Pyhäjärvi.)
  • Having a shot at solutions used in other domains might just have a chance to work out, as was learned by Supermetrics, who borrowed the notion of a central authentication server from MMORPG video games. (Journeying towards hybridization across clouds and regions by Duleepa Wijayawardhana.)

Just like learning from the experiences of others is important for you, it is just as valuable for others to hear your experiences as well. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge, and make an effort to free up some time from your team’s calendar to simply share thoughts on any subject. Setting the bar low is vital; an idea that seems like a random thought to you might just be a revelation for someone else.

 

Timeless Inspiration

The opening keynote speech, Learning Through Tinkering by Tom Cools, was a journey through the process of learning by doing, and it invited everyone to be mindful of what they learn and how. In many circumstances, it is valuable to be aware of the “zone of proximal development”: the area of knowledge that is reachable by the learner with guidance. This is a valuable notion to keep in mind not only for yourself but also for your team, especially if you happen to be leading one: understanding the limits in your team can help you aid each other forward better. Additionally, it is too easy to trip over every possibility that crosses your path. That’s why it is important to pick one achievable target at a time and be mindful of the goals of your learning.

Undoubtedly, each of us in the profession has had the experience of being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to learn. Even the conference itself offered too much for any one person to grasp fully. The closing keynote speech – Thinking Architecturally by Nate Schutta – served as a gentle reminder that it is okay not to be on the bleeding edge of technology. Technologies come and go in waves that tend to have patterns in the long run, so no knowledge is ever truly obsolete. Rather, you should be strategic in where you place your attention since none of us can study every bit of even a limited scope. The most important thing is to be open-minded and achieve a wide range of knowledge by being familiar with a lot of things and deeper knowledge on a more narrowly defined area – also known as “being a T-shaped generalist”.

(Additionally, the opening keynote introduced my personal favorite highlight of the entire conference, the Teachable Machine. It makes the use of machine learning so easy that it is almost silly not to jump right in and build something. Really inspiring stuff!)

 

Challenge Yourself Today

Overall, the conference was definitely a success, and it delivered upon its promise of being for developers. Every presentation had a lot to offer, and it can be quite daunting to try to choose what to bring along with you from the wealth of ideas on display. On that note, you can definitely take the advice presented in the first keynote speech to heart: don’t overdo it, it is completely valid to pick just one subject you want to learn more about and start there. Keep the zone of proximal development in mind as well: you don’t know what you don’t know, so taking one step back might help you to take two steps forward.

For me personally, machine learning tends to be a difficult subject to grasp. As a musician, I had a project idea where I could program a drum machine to understand hand gestures, such as showing an open hand to stop playing. I gave up on the project after realizing that my machine learning knowledge was not up to par. Now that I know of Teachable Machine, the project idea has resurfaced since I am now able to tinker with the idea since the difficult part has been sorted out.

If you attended, we are interested to hear your topics of choice. Even if you didn’t attend or didn’t find any of the presented subjects to be the right fit for you, I’m sure you have stumbled upon something interesting you want to learn more about but have been putting off. We implore you to make the conscious choice to start now!

The half-life of knowledge might be short, but the wisdom and experience learning fosters will stay with you for a lifetime.

Happy learning, and see you at fooConf 2024!

About the author: Andy Valjakka is a full stack developer and an aspiring architect who joined Codento in 2022. Andy began his career in 2018 by tackling complicated challenges in a systematic way which led to his Master’s Thesis on re-engineering front-end frameworks in 2019. Nowadays, he is a Certified Professional Google Cloud Architect whose specialty is discovering the puzzle pieces that make anything fit together.

Leading through Digital Turmoil

Leading through Digital Turmoil

Author: Anthony Gyursanszky, CEO, Codento

 

Foreword

Few decades back during my early university years I bacame familiar with Pascal coding and Michael Porter’s competitive strategy. “Select telecommunication courses next – it is the future”,  I was told. So I did, and the telecommunications disruption indeed accelerated my first career years.

The telecom disruption layed up the foundation for an even greater change we are now facing enabled by cloud capabilities, data technologoes, artificial intelligence and modern software. We see companies not only selecting between Porter’s lowest cost, differentation, or focus strategies, but with the help of digital disruption, the leaders utilize them all simultaneously.

Here at Codento we are in a mission to help various organization to succeed through digital turmoil, understand their current capabilities, envision their future business and technical environment, craft the most rational steps of transformation towards digital leadership, and support them throughout this process with advise and capability acceleration. In this process, we work closely with leading cloud technology enablers, like Google Cloud.

In this article, I will open up the journey towards digital leadership based on our experiences and available global studies.

 

What we mean by digital transformation now?

Blair Franklin, Contributing Writer, Google Cloud recently published a blogpost

Why the meaning of “digital transformation” is evolving. Google interviewed more than 2,100 global tech and business leaders around the question: “What does digital transformation mean to you?”

Five years ago the dominant view was “lift-and-shift” your IT infrastructure to the public cloud. Most organizations have now proceedded with this, mostly to seek for cost saving, but very little transformative business value has been visible to their own customers.

Today, the meaning of “digital transformation “has expanded according to Google Cloud survey. 72% consider it as much more than “lift-and-shift”. The survey claims that there are now two new attributes:

  1. Optimizing processes and becoming more operationally agile (47%). This in my opinion,  provides a foundation for both cost and differentiation strategy.
  2. Improving customer experience through technology (40%). This, in my opinion, boosts both focus and differentiation strategy.

In conclusion, we have now moved from “lift-and-shift” era to a “digital leader” era.

 

Why would one consider becoming a digital leader?

Boston Consulting Group and Google Cloud explored the benefits of putting effort on becoming “a digital leader” in Keys of Scaling Digital Value 2022 study. According to the study, about 30% of organizations were categorized as digital leaders. 

And what is truly interesting, digital leaders tend to outperform their peers: They bring 2x more solutions to scale and with scaling they deliver significantly better financial results (3x higher returns on investments, 15-20% faster revenue growth and simlar size of cost savings)

The study points out several characteristics of a digital leader, but one with the highest correlation is related how they utilize software in the cloud:  digital leaders deploy cloud-native solutions (64% vs. 3% of laggers) with modern modular architecture (94% vs. 21% laggers).

Cloud native means a concept of building and running applications to take advantage of the distributed computing offered by the cloud. Cloud native applications, on the other hand, are designed to utilize the scale, elasticity, resiliency, and flexibility of the cloud.

The opposite to this are legacy applications which have been designed to on-premises environments, bound to certain technologies, integrations, and even specific operating system and database versions.

 

How to to become a digital leader?

First, It is obvious that the journey towards digital leadership requires strong vision, determination, and investments as there are two essential reasons why the progress might be stalled:

  • According to a Mckinsey survey a lack of strategic clarity cause transformations to lose momentum or stall at the pilot stage.
  • Boston Consulting Group research found that only 40% of all companies manage to create an integrated transformation strategy. 

Second, Boston Consulting Group and Google Cloud “Keys of Scaling Digital Value 2022” study further pinpoints a more novel approach for digital leadership as a prerequisite for success. The study shows that the digital leaders:

  • Are organized around product-led platform teams (83% leaders vs. 25% laggers)
  • Staff cross-functional lighthouse teams (88% leaders vs. 23% laggers)
  • Establish a digital “control tower” (59% leaders vs. 4% laggers)

Third, as observed by us also here at Codento, most companies have structured their organizations and defined roles and process during the initial IT era into silos as they initially started to automate their manual processes with IT technologies  and applications. They added IT organizations next to their existing functions while keeping business and R&D functions separate.

All these three key functions have had their own mostly independent views of data, applications and cloud adoption, but while cloud enables and also requires seemless utilization of these capabilities ”as one”, companies need to rethink the way they organize themselves in a cloud-native way.

Without legacy investments this would obviously be a much easier process as “digital native” organizations, like Spotify, have showcased. Digital natives tend to design their operations ”free of silos” around cloud native application development and utilizing advanced cloud capabilities like unified data storage, processing and artificial intelligence.

Digital native organizations are flatter, nimbler, and roles are more flexible with broader accountability ss suggested by DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering models. Quite remarkable results follow successful adoption. DORA’s, 2021 Accelerate: State of DevOps Report reveals that peak performers in this area are 1.8 times more likely to report better business outcomes.

 

Yes, I want to jump to a digital leadr train. How to get started?

In summary, digital leaders are more successful than their peers and it is difficult to argument not to join that movement.

Digital leaders do not only consider digital transformation as an infrastructure cloudification initiative, but seek competitive egde by optimizing processes and improving customer experience. To become a digital leader requires a clear vision, support by top management and new structures enabled by cloud native applications accelerated by integrated data and artificial intelligence. 

We here at Codento are specialized in enabling our customers to become digital leaders with a three-phase-value discovery approach to crystallize your:

  1. Why? Assess where you are ar the moment and what is needed to flourish in the future business environment.
  2. What? Choose your strategic elements and target capabilities in order to succeed.
  3. How? Build and implement your transformation and execution journeys based on previous phases.

We help our clients not only throughout the entire thinking and implementation process, but also with specific improvement initiatives as needed.

To get more practical perspective on this you may want to visit our live digital leader showcase library:

You can also subscribe to our newsletters, join upcoming online-events and watch our event recordings

 

About the author: Anthony Gyursanszky, CEO, joined Codento in late 2019 with more than 30 years of experience in the IT and software industry. Anthony has previously held management positions at F-Secure, SSH, Knowit / Endero, Microsoft Finland, Tellabs, Innofactor and Elisa. Gyursanszky has also served on the boards of software companies, including Arc Technology and Creanord. Anthony also works as a senior consultant for Value Mapping Services. Anthony’s experience covers business management, product management, product development, software business, SaaS business, process management and software development outsourcing. Anthony is also a certified Cloud Digital Leader.

 

Contact us for more information on our  Value Discovery services.

Codento Community Blog: Six Pitfalls of Digitalization – and How to Avoid Them

Codento Community Blog: Six Pitfalls of Digitalization – and How to Avoid Them

By Codento consultants

 

Introduction

We at Codento have been working hard over the last few months on various digitization projects as consultants and have faced dozens of different customer situations. At the same time, we have stopped to see how much of the same pitfalls are encountered at these sites that could have been avoided in advance.

The life mission of a consulting firm like Codento is likely to provide a two-pronged vision for our clients: to replicate the successes generally observed and, on the other hand, to avoid pitfalls.

Drifting into avoidable repetitive pitfalls always causes a lot of disappointment and frustration, so we stopped against the entire Codento team of consultants to reflect and put together our own ideas, especially to avoid these pitfalls.

A lively and multifaceted communal exchange of ideas was born, which, based on our own experience and vision, was condensed into six root causes and wholes:

  1. Let’s start by solving the wrong problem
  2. Remaining bound to existing applications and infrastructure
  3. Being stuck with the current operating models and processes
  4. The potential of new cloud technologies is not being optimally exploited
  5. Data is not sufficiently utilized in business
  6. The utilization of machine learning and artificial intelligence does not lead to a competitive advantage

Next, we will go through this interesting dialogue with Codento consultants.

 

Pitfall 1: Let’s start by solving the originally wrong problem

How many Design Sprints and MVPs in the world have been implemented to create new solutions in such a way that the original problem setting and customer needs were based on false assumptions or otherwise incomplete?

Or that many problems more valuable to the business have remained unresolved when they are left in the backlog? Choosing a technology between a manufactured product or custom software, for example, is often the easiest step.

There is nothing wrong with the Design Sprint or Minimum Viable Product methodology per se: they are very well suited to uncertainty and an experimental approach and to avoid unnecessary productive work, but there is certainly room for improvement in what problems they apply to.

Veera also recalls one situation: “Let’s start solving the problem in an MVP-minded way without thinking very far about how the app should work in different use cases. The application can become a collection of different special cases and the connecting factor between them is missing. Later, major renovations may be required when the original architecture or data model does not go far enough. ”

Markku smoothly lists the typical problems associated with the conceptualization and MVP phase: “A certain rigidity in rapid and continuous experimentation, a tendency to perfection, a misunderstanding of the end customer, the wrong technology or operating model.”

“My own solution is always to reduce the definition of a problem to such a small sub-problem that it is faster to solve and more effective to learn. At the same time, the positive mood grows when something visible is always achieved, ”adds Anthony.

Toni sees three essential steps as a solution: “A lot of different problem candidates are needed. One of them will be selected for clarification on the basis of common criteria. Work on problem definition both extensively and deeply. Only then should you go to Design Sprint. ”

 

Pitfall 2: Trapped with existing applications and infrastructure

It’s easy in “greenfield” projects where the “table is clean,” but what to do when the dusty application and IT environment of the years is an obstacle to ambitious digital vision?

Olli-Pekka starts: “Software is not ready until it is taken out of production. Until then, more or less money will sink in, which would be nice to get back, either in terms of working time saved, or just as income. If the systems in production are not kept on track, then the costs that will sink into them are guaranteed to surpass the benefits sooner or later. This is due to inflation and the exponential development of technology. ”

“A really old system that supports a company’s business and is virtually impossible to replace,” continues Jari T. “The low turnover and technology age of it means that the system is not worth replacing. The system will be shut down as soon as the last parts of the business have been phased out. ”

“A monolithic system comes to mind that cannot be renewed part by part. Renewing the entire system would be too much of a cost, ”adds Veera.

Olli-Pekka outlines three different situations: “Depending on the user base, the pressures for modernization are different, but the need for it will not disappear at any stage. Let’s take a few examples.

Consumer products – There is no market for antiques in this industry unless your business is based on the sale of NFTs from Doom’s original source code, and even then. Or when was the last time you admired Win-XP CDs on a store shelf?

Business products – a slightly more complicated case. The point here is that in order for the system you use to be relevant to your business, it needs to play kindly with other systems your organization uses. Otherwise, a replacement will be drawn for it, because manual steps in the process are both expensive and error-prone. However, there is no problem if no one updates their products. I would not lull myself into this.

Internal use – no need to modernize? All you have to do here is train yourself to replace the new ones, because no one else is doing it to your stack anymore. Also, remember to hope that not everyone who manages to entice you into this technological impasse will come up with a peek over the fence. And also remember to set aside a little extra funds for maintenance contracts, as outside vendors may raise their prices when the number of users for their sunset products drops. ”

A few concepts immediately came to mind by Iiro: “Path dependency and Sunk cost fallacy. Could one write own blog about both of them? ”

“What are the reasons or inconveniences for different studies?” ask Sami and Marika.

“I have at least remembered the budgetary challenges, the complexity of the environments, the lack of integration capacity, data security and legislation. So what would be the solution? ”Anthony answers at the same time.

Olli-Pekka’s three ideas emerge quickly: “Map your system – you should also use external pairs of eyes for this, because they know how to identify even the details that your own eye is already used to. An external expert can also ask the right questions and fish for the answers. Plan your route out of the trap – less often you should rush blindly in every direction at the same time. It is enough to pierce the opening where the fence is weakest. From here you can then start expanding and building new pastures at a pace that suits you. Invest in know-how – the easiest way to make a hole in a fence is with the right tools. And a skilled worker will pierce the opening so that it will continue to be easy to pass through without tearing his clothes. It is not worth lulling yourself to find this factor inside the house, because if that were the case, that opening would already be in it. Or the process rots. In any case, help is needed. ”

 

Pitfall 3: Remaining captive to current policies

“Which is the bigger obstacle in the end: infrastructure and applications or our own operating models and lack of capacity for change?”, Tommi ponders.

“I would be leaning towards operating models myself,” Samuel sees. “I am strongly reminded of the silo between business and IT, the high level of risk aversion, the lack of resilience, the vagueness of the guiding digital vision, and the lack of vision.”

Veera adds, “Let’s start modeling old processes as they are for a new application, instead of thinking about how to change the processes and benefit from better processes at the same time.”

Elmo immediately lists a few practical examples: “Word + Sharepoint documentation is limiting because “this is always the case”. Resistance to change means that modern practices and the latest tools cannot be used, thereby excluding some of the contribution from being made. This limits the user base, as it is not possible to use the organisation’s cross-border expertise. ”

Anne continues: “Excel + word documentation models result in information that is widespread and difficult to maintain. The flow of information by e-mail. The biggest obstacle is culture and the way we do it, not the technology itself. ”

“What should I do and where can I get motivation?” Perttu ponders and continues with the proposed solution: “Small profits quickly – low-hanging-fruits should be picked. The longer the inefficient operation lasts, the more expensive it is to get out of there. Sunk Cost Fallacy could be loosely combined with this. ”

“There are limitless areas to improve.” Markku opens a range of options: “Business collaboration, product management, application development, DevOps, testing, integration, outsourcing, further development, management, resourcing, subcontracting, tools, processes, documentation, metrics. There is no need to be world-class in everything, but it is good to improve the area or areas that have the greatest impact with optimal investment. ”

 

Pitfall 4: The potential of new cloud technologies is not being exploited

Google Cloud, Azure, AWS or multi-cloud? Is this the most important question?

Markku answers: “I don’t think so. The indicators of financial control move cloud costs away from the depreciation side directly higher up the lines of the income statement, and the target setting of many companies does not bend to this, although in reality it would have a much positive effect on cash flow in the long run. ”

Sanna comes to mind a few new situations: “Choose the technology that is believed to best suit your needs. This is because there is not enough comprehensive knowledge and experience about existing technologies and their potential. Therefore, one may end up with a situation where a lot of logic and features have already been built on top of the chosen technology when it is found that another model would have been better suited to the use case. Real-life experience: “With these functions, this can be done quickly”, two years later: “Why wasn’t the IoT hub chosen?”

Perttu emphasizes: “The use of digital platforms at work (eg drive, meet, teams, etc.) can be found closer to everyday business than in the cold and technical core of cloud technology. Especially as the public debate has recently revolved around the guidelines of a few big companies instructing employees to return to local work. ”

Perttu continues: “Compared to this, the services offered by digital platforms make operations more agile and enable a wider range of lifestyles, as well as streamlining business operations. It must be remembered, of course, that physical encounters are also important to people, but it could be assumed that experts in any field are best at defining effective ways of working themselves. Win-win, right? ”

So what’s the solution?

“I think the most important thing is that the features to be deployed in the cloud capabilities are adapted to the selected short- and long-term use cases,” concludes Markku.

 

Pitfall 5: Data is not sufficiently utilized in business

Aren’t there just companies that can avoid having the bulk of their data in good possession and integrity? But what are the different challenges involved?

Aleksi explains: “The practical obstacle to the wider use of data in an organization is quite often the poor visibility of the available data. There may be many hidden data sets whose existence is known to only a couple of people. These may only be found by chance by talking to the right people.

Another similar problem is that for some data sets, the content, structure, origin or mode of origin of the data is no longer really known – and there is little documentation of it. ”

Aleksi continues, “An overly absolute and early-applied business case approach prevents data from being exploited in experiments and development involving a“ research aspect ”. This is the case, for example, in many new cases of machine learning: it is not clear in advance what can be expected, or even if anything usable can be achieved. Thus, such early action is difficult to justify using a normal business case.

It could be better to assess the potential benefits that the approach could have if successful. If these benefits are large enough, you can start experimenting, look at the situation constantly, and snatch ideas that turn out to be bad quickly. The time of the business case may be later. ”

 

Pitfall 6: The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence will not lead to a competitive advantage

It seems to be fashionable in modern times for a business manager to attend various machine learning courses and a varying number of experiments are underway in organizations. However, it is not very far yet, is it?

Aleksi opens his experiences: “Over time, the current“ traditional ”approach has been filed quite well, and there is very little potential for improvement. The first experiments in machine learning do not produce a better result than at present, so it is decided to stop examining and developing them. In many cases, however, the situation may be that the potential of the current operating model has been almost completely exhausted over time, while on the machine learning side the potential for improvement would reach a much higher level. It is as if we are locked in the current way only because the first attempts did not immediately bring about improvement. ”

Anthony summarizes the challenges into three components: “Business value is unclear, data is not available and there is not enough expertise to utilize machine learning.”

Jari R. wants to promote his own previous speech at the spring business-oriented online machine learning event. “If I remember correctly, I have compiled a list of as many as ten pitfalls suitable for this topic. In this event material, they are easy to read:

  1. The specific business problem is not properly defined.
  2. No target is defined for model reliability or the target is unrealistic.
  3. The choice of data sources is left to data scientists and engineers and the expertise of the business area’s experts is not utilized.
  4. The ML project is carried out exclusively by the IT department itself. Experts from the business area will not be involved in the project.
  5. The data needed to build and utilize the model is considered fragmented across different systems, and cloud platform data solutions are not utilized.
  6. The retraining of the model in the cloud platform is not taken into account already in the development phase.
  7. The most fashionable algorithms are chosen for the model. The appropriateness of the algorithms is not considered.
  8. The root causes of the errors made by the model are not analyzed but blindly rely on statistical accuracy parameters.
  9. The model will be built to run on Data Scientist’s own machine and its portability to the cloud platform will not be considered during the development phase.
  10. The ability of the model to analyze real business data is not systematically monitored and the model is not retrained. ”

This would serve as a good example of the thoroughness of our data scientists. It is easy to agree with that list and believe that we at Codento have a vision for avoiding pitfalls in this area as well.

 

Summary – Avoid pitfalls in a timely manner

To prevent you from falling into the pitfalls, Codento consultants have promised to offer two-hour free workshops to willing organizations, always focusing on one of these pitfalls at a time:

  1. Digital Value Workshop: Clarified and understandable business problem to be solved in the concept phase
  2. Application Renewal Workshop: A prioritized roadmap for modernizing applications
  3. Process Workshop: Identifying potential policy challenges for the evaluation phase
  4. Cloud Architecture Workshop: Helps identify concrete steps toward high-quality cloud architecture and its further development
  5. Data Architecture Workshop: Preliminary current situation of data architecture and potential developments for further design
  6. Artificial Intelligence Workshop: Prioritized use case descriptions for more detailed planning from a business feasibility perspective

Ask us for more information and we will make an appointment for August, so the autumn will start comfortably, avoiding the pitfalls.