Where to Start with Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation is the ability of an organisation to remain competitive.  By using new technologies more effectively than their competitors, this leads to greater market share, lower price points, improved product and/or service quality and constant innovation for clients.  But where do you start?

This article is designed for medium to large organisations that want to know how to do this.  I’ll draw on my 20 years of experience as an enterprise and solution architect with DXC technology. I was fortunate enough to help a range of clients which I can now couple with my knowledge as a trainer, across the 12+ courses that I now run.

Click to open the infographic below to see a snapshot of the steps to take to perform a digital transformation successfully.


Here is my list of key steps in order:

Do you have questions with these steps?  Contact our awesome ALC Training team!

What is a Value Stream?

It may not be obvious, by the concept of a value stream is one of the most important concepts in a digital transformation.  Why?   Because once you understand a value stream, you start to truly understand your business and you’re on a clear path to improving customer experience.  Exceptional customer experience is your key business differentiator in the world of digital disruption and needs to be the core focus of any digital transformation.

Let’s define a value stream.  I’ll use what I consider, to be the best sources of knowledge reference. 

First from Scaled Agile.  

If you click on the image it will take you to the Leading SAFe 2 Day course I run at ALC Training.

Second from the TOGAF certification, written by the Open Group:

And here is a picture of a sample value stream map for an online purchase:

And here is another, outlining an emergency hospital admission:

As you can see it’s a simple overview, usually shown in 5-9 stages, of how a product or service starts life and is delivered to the consumer. 

As you can see, the business processes beneath can vary in complexity.  With an online purchase, the process is relatively simple.  With say intensive care, the process can be extremely complex and there are probably 1000’s or paths, depending on the type of care required.

It can also be known as:

Clearly, there are many values streams and they are quite different between industries.

Once we understand our value stream, we can then consider decomposing each component into systems and people.  An example of this is from Scaled Agile, where they define two types of value streams:

You’ll notice that the operational value stream is the one that is focused on the customer.  Whereas the development value stream is aligned to delivering systems in an agile manner.  In fact, these are development value streams are also known as a CI/CD pipeline:

So what we’ve now done, is to understand our business in the context of delivering value through software.  We cover this in our DevOps Foundation course:

Any questions on Scaled Agile or DevOps concepts, as always please reach out via twitter – @MusicComposer1 or find me on LinkedIn:

Governments Could Fall If Digital Transformation is not Successful

There are a number of examples in history, of how governments have fallen.  Either through the ballot box, through a coup d’etat or via a civil or military war.  But have you ever stopped to think that a lack of progress in a digital transformation, could be a fourth reason?

Let me back up a bit…and outline what I believe are the reasons we have a government.  Why does it exist and why we need one.  There are five:

Here is a great video that provides some more information on what government is?

Failure by governments to maintain those outcomes and deliver great customer experiences will result in disruption.  We’ve already seen this movie before right:

But hey, they’re all commercial examples.  Have you got anything that is relevant to government?  Sure:

Here is a great video explaining Brexit:

You can also extend that to local government, such as Queensland in Australia:

I talk about digital disruption and governments in the latest #AskTheCEO discussion here:

The same forces that have helped Uber, Netflix, Google and especially Apple become commercial disrupting forces, are the same for the government:

So what is the solution.  Well it’s important to understand what needs to transform in government and then do so, quickly.  Using the latest Lean-Agile and DevOps principles, along with great talent, is how Spotify undermined their competition, so government needs to do the same.  Here are three examples:

Interesting in learning more about digital transformation.  Check out a range of courses that I run at ALC Training:

DevOps Foundation

Cloud Security

Cloud Computing

Scaled Agile

Enterprise Big Data


What is Microsoft Azure and why should I use it?

Microsoft is one of the world leaders when it comes to cloud computing services.  In the last comparison of revenue streams from the cloud giants, back in Feb 2018, it seems that Microsoft was just ahead in front of AWS.

Want to learn more about Azure?  Well, there are options.  There is a great free resource from Microsoft that covers Azure fundamentals here:


Or, if you’re looking for more a hands-on 1 Day Azure Technical Quickstart to understand how to provision resources, you can check out our 1 Day course here:


You can also reach out to us, for customised Azure and Office 365 courses.

Azure is classed as an Infrastructure-As-A-Service (Iaas) and Platform-As-A-Service (PaaS) in the cloud computing world.  IaaS services are designed for system engineers, where you can set up and build servers, networks, and storage, and then install your apps on top.  If you’re in the software development business, then the PaaS services are designed for writing, testing and managing code, and target developers.  

Some important PaaS services that developers will need include:

Below is a brief snapshot of just the Compute services:

By combining together these services, you can create a rich tapestry of solutions.  It’s very similar to the age of analog electronics, where you could select oscillators, diodes and specific electronics components, to create solutions like creating a home radio.  

In Azure you can create very complex business solutions.  Below is an example of how you might integrate a complex corporate environment with Azure services, in a model known as hybrid cloud:

There are some very important services that are available in Azure, that align nicely to medium to large clients that have to comply with complex regulation.  Clients involving in banking, government, healthcare, and defence, need to maintain a level of corporate and regulatory governance, as well as a high level of cyber security protection in their cloud services.  Tools such as:

The diagram below shows an example of the types of recommendations that the Azure Advisor can provide:

Feel free to reach out anytime with your Azure of Office 365 questions or queries?


Why Governments will be Disrupted?

Digital transformation is the process of cultural,  technological and thought leadership innovation, that is required to ensure businesses remain competitive, relevant and able to survive.  Let’s break that down and explain what I mean.

Click on the image below to see ALC’s range of courses that can help with your digital transformation journey:

Cultural Innovation

This means allowing people within a business to develop and grow, by learning in a safe environment.  We often call this Failing Fast.  This helps to foster a culture within an organisation, that moves away from:

And move towards:

You can only innovate when you allow people to take risks.  But in concert, you need to provide tools and an environment for continual fast feedback.  This includes:

All these concepts and learnings appear again and again in many of the cultural change courses I run:

Click on the picture below to watch an awesome video from our DevOps Foundation course, covering Spotify Engineering Culture:

Technological Innovation

This means adopting the latest technological innovations, to help business leaders learn and act quickly.  There are many examples:

It’s no surprise that at ALC, we’re focusing on these key technological innovations:

Click on the diagram, below to see an awesome video from the Enterprise Big Data Professional course on why we use Hadoop over SQL when dealing with Big Data:

Thought Leadership

This is the most critical.  Leaders are the people in a company that pave the way for new things.  Just like in music, they are the avant-garde, breaking new ground, failing fast and leading by example.  They are skillful coaches that bring all their people with them on the journey.  They lead through:

You’ll find these leadership traits are exemplified in the following courses for leaders:

The diagram below shows you the Scaled Agile Framework, of SAFe for short.  Click on it and you’ll be taken to the FREE clickable version on their website:


If you have ever worked in a government department or a local council, there are very few examples of these digital successes.  Why?  I believe many leaders of governments, whether they be the lord mayor of a council or the elected minister, fundamentally do not understand digital disruption.  They believe it is a phenomenon that only affects commercial entities and is not relevant to them. And the ones that do try and embrace digital disruption, don’t focus on cultural change, with leaders not leading by example.

Unfortunately, it is extremely relevant.  I believe governments will be disrupted, just like every organisation in the world will be disrupted.  Charities, councils, regulatory bodies, none of them are immune.  In fact, they are the entities that are most at risk of being irrelevant.  Why?

Because for every government service, there is are much better ways of delivering, by adopting the key tenants above and embracing digital transformation.  This means, if enough people do not see the value in government services, they will protest, they will resist taxes and want to live in a place where the services are incredible. 

We’ve seen trailers of this movie before:

Click on the diagram to show you how you digitally transform your government organisation using SAFe:

Check out my latest conversation on “Navingating Digital Disruption” on the New York hit show, #AskTheCEO with Avrohom Gottheil:

HitchHikers Guide to Cloud Computing?

This blog is going to explain, in non-technical jargon, two things:

I was inspired to write this article after ALC Training released a FREE 20 minute Cloud Computing Mini-Course last week, where I personally take you through a fun and engaging cloud journey.  It’s aimed at a non-technical audience, where you’ll learn the basic knowledge needed for all industry recognised cloud computing courses:

Why Use the Cloud?

Because that is the technology that powers how mobile apps work…..and it powers the entire app ecosystem:

And it also powers the largest social media platforms work:

It’s also how online shopping works:

And now it’s how core productivity apps work.  I mean your Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps are all cloud-based:

And it also powers the biggest email systems:

You can store files:

It can also update software in cars:

In fact, it all started with web site hosting, at the birth of the internet, for most people, in the late ’90s:

Here is the first web site, created by Tim Berners-Lee…and yes…it’s still live.  Click to the picture to visit:

What is Cloud Computing?

In simple terms it’s a new way of doing business, enabled by technology.  Not just business, business, but also personal business.

It’s accessible via a store, or via a web browser, which provides lots of benefits:

In fact, every form of communication known to man, you can post somewhere using an app, and other people can view and interact with it.

But what really is the cloud?

In the technology world, we call it a platform.  A foundation for hosting apps.

There are 3 types of cloud:

If you found this article interesting, and want to take your cloud knowledge to another level then check out my course.  In partnership with ALC Training, I offer a 2 Day Cloud Foundation course for non-technical or semi-technical people.  It’s a classroom-based environment where interaction, games, and fun are key learning tools. 

Are you an entrepreneur, a project manager, an auditor, a talent acquisition specialist, a human resources professional, a marketing whizz….in fact anyone with a strong interest in the cloud….then this course is a good fit for you.

The best part is that it leads to an industry recognised certification, backed by APMG International……which shows up as a digital badge on your LinkedIn profile.  Perfect for showing that your current employer is serious about cloud computing.

Interested in attending…..check out the dates, by clicking on the image below:

If the dates are not suitable, please reach out to our awesome team at ALC Training, and we can customise the course to your needs and bring to your location.

I hope you enjoyed this blog article.  Have a great week.






How To Select A Cloud Adoption Roadmap in 10 Steps

Many CIOs, CTOs and business leaders are all working through their cloud strategies. Most large companies in Australia have adopted a hybrid cloud approach, using both private and public cloud services. In this blog, I’ll  outline 10 critical steps on how you can create a cloud adoption roadmap and then align this roadmap to your current execution path.

A cloud adoption roadmap is a really important tool, as it serves to visualise and communicate your plans to all key stakeholders in your organisation. The important part of the roadmap is to ensure you have a clear 1 page visual outlining the key milestones and decisions points, backed up by clear definitions behind the roadmap of what each component on the roadmap means. My suggestion is to use a modelling tool to create your roadmap and my top pick is the Abacus tool from Avolution.

Before we delve any deeper into our cloud adoption roadmap, let’s be clear on some basic terminology, to ensure we’re all on the same page:

Software as a Service (SaaS)

These are services that end-users consume. Examples include: Social Media Tools, Salesforce, Office 365 and Xero. The apps that you download to your mobile phone are predominantly SaaS.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

These are services that developers consume to create SaaS products.  Examples include: Development Tools, Testing Tools and Datastores.  Apps that you download to your PC or laptop at home to allow you to write code, test code and setup datastores in the cloud are all examples of PaaS.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

These are services that operations teams will build, test and commission to support developers, who consume PaaS and end-users, who consume SaaS on the PaaS, or SaaS via a 3rd party.  IaaS can be virtual machines, networking or basic storage.

If you’re interested in digging deeper in cloud definitions, there is a simple whitepaper that the National Institute for Standards and Technology have produced. It covers everything in 3 pages.

I’ve also created a simple reference model below:



This is cultural change centred around ensuring that the developers (working on PaaS) are collaborating and communicating effectively with the operations teams (working on IaaS). This is important to create secure, reliable and engaging SaaS apps.

The DevOps Institute have a great video on DevOps that can teach you more. 

Or you can read my further thoughts here.  

Hybrid Cloud


All organisations I have worked with in Australia, that have more than 100 employees will have a combination of private and public clouds in their environment. This is the definition of hybrid cloud. Probably 99% will have an on-premise (or 3rd party hosted) private cloud for Active Directory and using public cloud for Office 365 with Azure Active Directory. The 1% is a single instance of G Suite I have come across. 

Great video on hybrid cloud here:

10 steps to set up a cloud adoption roadmap

Now that we have defined these terms, we can take a look at our Cloud Adoption Roadmap and our 10 steps:

  1. Perform a current state architecture analysis to understand how each department / business area is already adopting SaaS apps in your organisation.
  2. Understand the needs each department / business currently has and develop a feature-centric SaaS cloud adoption roadmap to cover the next 12 months.
  3. Communicate and seek feedback with the key stakeholders regularly, to guide your cloud adoption roadmap, particularly as the business investigates and pilots new SaaS apps and develops new business capabilities.
  4. Define a clear strategy at the CTO / CIO level as to whether you are going to adopt PaaS and/or IaaS services, or simply remain with SaaS-only services.
  5. Ensure your IaaS / PaaS strategy includes key business drivers and evidence of business need.
  6. Feed in your IaaS and PaaS strategy into the cloud adoption roadmap and socialise with key stakeholders.
  7. Based on business situational awareness and factors that are important to the key stakeholders, embark on a short IaaS / PaaS cloud service provider shortlist selection.
  8. Once the IaaS / PaaS shortlist is down to say 2-3 candidates run a proof of concept for each cloud service provider to determine the value, test your hypothesis on how you may transform your legacy IT and seek input from key stakeholders.
  9. Extend the IaaS / PaaS proof of concept to a pilot with a single cloud service provider, to further strengthen the more complex hyposthesis you’ve made with your current legacy IT investments.
  10. Extend your cloud adoption roadmap to include how you will transition your current private cloud and/or legacy IT investments to IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services, being cognisant that this may be a 2-5 year journey.

I recommend using the Lean UX method for testing out your hypothesis when validating your cloud adoption plan.  This can be found in the Scaled Agile Framework.


You can learn more about Scaled Agile on my own blog

If you’re interested in learning more, I offer a range of Cloud, DevOps and Scaled Agile courses at ALC Training: