By Nicholas Brigman on March 15th, 2020
GfK’s syndicated Automobility research in the US, shows that 55% of those who plan to buy a new car (“auto intenders”) say their vehicle selection will be influenced by the technologies included in the car. Much of this technology is the blending of safety sensing and overrides, driving automation, personal communications, and entertainment. Among auto technology experts, self-acclaimed and otherwise, we have gone from 0 to 30-100 million lines of code that are spread across more than a 100 electronic control units of ECU.
What has happened in the confines of an automobile is a microcosm for the ideal of most businesses and the parallels that we can draw are truly endless. Comparing our business to a single car and how it is built, works, and sold, “Why do we think we can run any organization in such a disconnected manner?” If an automaker released a car the way we connect our business systems, that automaker would not last the week. No book ever described this journey better than the The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford.
I recently joined Edge Technologies this year. Over the last ten years, I have worked on digitizing the paper volumes of ITSM, building and designing digital platforms and analyzing a ton of tools with some great technologists, minds , and practitioners. I have witnessed the foibles within and without, some instrumented through my own short-sightedness. Yet, in this recent career decision, I wanted to find and work for a company that had the ability to bring some order to chaos and make it possible to run a business, government, or operations like a Tesla or even a Ford Flex. Among many candidates, there was something about Edge Technologies (Edge) that captivated my attention. I should disclose that I had a few encounters with Edge as a customer, but that is true of many, many companies. So let me share my hit list by starting with the end in mind – Covey style if you will.
In “Nick’s perfect world” (those who have worked with me know this phrase), every business encounter would be instrumented and based on the situation, I would have a perfect single pane-of-glass (SPOG) or heads-up-display (HUD) that would tell me what was happening, why I should believe it, and understand the implications of various actions. Sure the world of Minority Report is not here yet, but what is here is the ability to bring dissimilar systems onto a pane of glass, from a big screen to handheld, to land the right information to the right person with the ability to action complex things in a single touch, and if it was sensitive or needed some coordination, punt it to a manager who’s authorized to hit the magic button. Ideally these same views can be supplemented with expertise and traversable to elated views that satisfy the curiosity and micro-checks we all like to do when taking action. Whether it is a military command center or a communications provider NOC, contact center, business group or a field service force, Edge provides a very cool way to do this in a single project area while still making it extensible. So let’s break it down.
Multi-modal Hyper-Connectivity (Web, Data, Stream)
The endless years of accumulating systems require many of us to connect old systems “green screen” to modern API’s or use terminal services, like Citrix. Some are on-site, others are SaaS services which you have to access via web interface. Some systems while instrumented are isolated because the functional teams could not agree or there just wasn’t money to work smarter and the cost of integration was too high. What I liked about Edge over the multitude of iPaaS systems, is the ease and breadth of nearly being able to connect to anything. Some things are still a challenge, but there are ways to connect through RPA (use the embedded AI of one of the providers to breakdown and decompose a custom web interface) or even federated storage access.
Only Instrument What You Need and Data Residency
It’s becoming fundamental to not have you data everywhere, yet more countries have stronger privacy restrictions that demand data residency. It’s appealing to me to be able to make visualizations combine information from regions without having to create another data warehouse and only transfer what you need. This kind of control caught my eye as it simplifies the engineering and reduces exposure.
User Policy and Seamless Movement
The multitude of apps and passwords drive us all crazy. To land the right data to the person in the right situation means you need to have some pretty cool access controls and single sign-on function if you are going to have people move securely and smoothly across systems, while preserving good accounting of who did what. Mission Control, the supervisory system gives system owners the flexibility they need to manage the system and permissions, balancing function with security.
There is much more to describe, but I would be remiss if I did not add this to my top 3. What impressed me through this decision and continues to impress me are the people of Edge. We are global, yet we have a rich operational history that brings our experience to every encounter and we are passionate about making our customer heroes in their organizations. We love it when something that has plagued organization for years is solved with simplicity and complete instrumentation.
There is so much more coming so please learn more about Edge, our platform and subscribe at the top so you won’t miss a single move or announcement as we progress towards being the preferred Connected Intelligence Platform.
Special thanks to Keven Ku for his creative photo.