Exploring DevOps with Futurum’s CEO | DevOps Dialogues: Insights & Innovations

Exploring DevOps with Futurum’s CEO | DevOps Dialogues: Insights & Innovations

On this episode of DevOps Dialogues: Insights & Innovations, I am joined by The Futurum Group’s CEO, Daniel Newman for a conversation on exploring the intersection of DevOps, application modernization, and innovative development methodologies.

Our conversation covers:

  • Why The Futurum Group is investing in this new DevOps, Application Development and Modernization practice
  • The market trends that are sparking interest in this new practice area
  • What is top of mind for DevOps and how this practice can help

These topics reflect ongoing discussions, challenges, and innovations within the DevOps community.

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this webcast. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this webcast.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.


Daniel Newman: Hey, everyone, welcome to DevOps Dialogues. I’m Daniel Newman, your host today, CEO, founder of The Futurum Group. Excited to be here with your future host, Paul Nashawaty. Today, we are introducing the show. We call this episode zero, setting the tone on the whole space. AppDev, DevOps, the influence that AI and so many other technological trends are having on industries and enterprises. Paul Nashawaty, host-to-be, welcome to the show. How you doing?

Paul Nashawaty: Great, Daniel. Thank you. Excellent to be here, really excited to be here.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. It’s great to have you here. I’m really excited for the setup of this show. It’s fun for me to come in, as someone that’s done a couple of different podcasts, shows, videos, and get to play host to set up this show. But, I’ve spent time with you since you joined The Futurum Group, over the last few months, and really just gotten to know, and you are a wealth of knowledge in this space. I know this show isn’t going to be just about your wealth of knowledge, we’re going to be bringing technology leaders on, we’re gonna be bringing on end customers, partners. Maybe even some other analysts, from time to time. I just want everyone to hear what’s going on in the space. But before we even do that, you have a really exciting, interesting background. As the host of Episode One and then forever, which I’m hoping we’ll do this for at least a few more years. Give everyone a little bit of the intro, tell them a little bit about Paul Nashawaty, and the work you’ve done, and how you got into this modernization DevOps, AppDev space.

Paul Nashawaty: Absolutely, Daniel. Like I said, really excited to be here. It’s an exciting time in this space, because when we look at DevOps, it is growing. I spent about three years building a practice around DevOps and focused on application modernization, talking about day zero, day one, day two build, release and operations, and what that all means to modernization practices and such. It’s just really an exciting time where organizations are taking it from past, present and future, and really taking that step forward. A little bit about my background. I have 25 plus years as a practitioner across various industries and various technology spaces that I’ve been in. Both large and small companies, so I worked in the big, big vendors spaces, I was in M&A for a while. I focused in on the technology stacks, such as virtualization, and data protection, and storage, and application development. I wrote a book on application development, so I was really excited about that. Taking that space here into the-

Daniel Newman: Wait, wait, wait, wait. You did what?

Paul Nashawaty: I wrote a book. Is that what you were …

Daniel Newman: What’s the title of your book? You can never miss a chance on a podcast to tell people about a book.

Paul Nashawaty: Oh! I wrote a book, it’s actually a For Dummies book. It’s Rapid Applications Development For Dummies.

Daniel Newman: Is it one of those yellow books?

Paul Nashawaty: It’s around the focus on the space that we’re talking about here.

Daniel Newman: Is it one of those yellow books? The ones that’s For Dummies with yellow on it?

Paul Nashawaty: It’s one of those yellow books.

Daniel Newman: You have your name on a For Dummies book, so you’re basically, “I’m a smart guy for dummies.”

Paul Nashawaty: Well, actually, yes. Yeah, that’s how it worked.

Daniel Newman: I might have written a book, or seven. But the point is, is that I can tell you that is no small feat. Very, very cool. Congratulations on that, and all the background, and all the things that you’ve done. You’ve been an analyst, too. You’ve got to let people get to know you, you can’t give them everything right away. But over the course of maybe several hundred episodes, they can start to get to know a little bit about you, Paul, and why you ended up giving up real work to become an analyst. That’s a pervasive joke of myself and my dear friend, Patrick Moorhead, when we talk about back in the day, when we had a real job. This is hard work, people, this is not easy.

But having said that, sometimes not having to actually do the DevOp or do the app development, and just opining about it can be quite fun, and rewarding, and riskless. Let’s start with a little bit about the market trends. I’ve been analyst now, the firm’s almost eight years old, I’ve been at this for quite a while. The word DevOps, and AppDev, and this space, it’s just exploded in the last couple of years. It was a topic, I think it was more nascent or periphery, it certainly didn’t have nearly as many analysts focused on it, there weren’t as many companies in it. Talk a little bit about the market trends that have sparked the interest in making you one of the hottest practices here at The Futurum Group.

Paul Nashawaty: Yeah, absolutely, Daniel. When we look at the trends in DevOps and we look at the trends in modernization in general, we look at application modernization and what’s happening, organizations are moving very, very rapidly. Actually, they’re doing two to three times more now, with a fraction of the resources that they had just a few years ago. The amount of applications that are being built in the cloud, on-prem, at the edge locations, and everything that touches the environment is really taking off. When we see trends for these organizations, we’re seeing things like skill gap issues, we’re seeing tech debt, we’re seeing multi-cloud adoption. We’re seeing modernization, overall, as a challenge. When we look at it, it’s not just about the business logic, it also goes all the way down to the infrastructure stack as well. There’s a lot happening here. Organizations are looking at it holistically and trying to understand, what do they do?

Daniel Newman: Yeah. The overall trend line, if you could start with the major macros like AI. But then, you can also look at multi-cloud, you can look at remote and distributed work, and changes in workspace. You could talk about SaaS versus modernization of old and legacy apps. Let’s be very clear, Paul. Companies do not … Unless you were started in the last two or three years, there are very few companies that were born from the bottom days, first days, on all pure SaaS and pure cloud. There’s tons of legacy, and apps, and modernization.

Even if you maybe start here now, you end up acquiring a company, you end up getting connected in through ETL or something to a client, and all of a sudden, you find yourself using legacy apps. There is no way around this, it’s only about finding the best path to being able to, of course, modernize where modernization makes sense, optimize where optimization makes sense. This creates a lot of complexity. In your world, what’s top of mind for the DevOps space? More importantly, you work with a lot of customers. You’ve been a great value to so many that I’ve spoken to. What are you talking to these folks about, when it comes to the ways that a practice like yours can help these companies?

Paul Nashawaty: Absolutely. You’re spot on, there’s a number of pieces that you touched on that we really need to look at and unpack. I don’t like to use the L word, the legacy word, because a lot of organizations feel like it’s not legacy to them. I would say the heritage environments that they’re looking to refactor, the reality of it is everyone has this cloud craze. They want to move to the cloud, they want to a move to a better, faster way of doing things. But the reality is most organizations don’t know that they don’t need to refactor everything. Maybe they may take a siloed or monolithic application and encapsulate it into a VM, then make it a cloud-ready VM for example. Then, use that a system of record that organizations can access, but it’s still in the cloud. The way to modernize, a lot of organizations are moving to the present state. The way I would define present state is using containerized or microservices architecture, maybe build a react application, or something in front end that access that system of record so that stays intact. But really, it’s about that being dynamic, and agile, and being able to be fluid within the organization.

In fact, I was just on a call the other day, and I was talking about the refactoring versus moving to the cloud and building in the cloud. What we found in some of our research is that we found that 11% of organizations are using the cloud to rebuild, to basically refactor their applications. But yet, we ask the same question two years from now, and they’re looking at repatriating back on-prem. My argument here is they’re moving to the cloud, redoing their on-prem infrastructure to be cloud-like, and then repatriating back. They’re really using that cloud architecture to build an environment. That’s a big trend right now that we’re seeing. We also see that multi-cloud, distributed cloud environments, 96% of organizations are using two or more. 65% are using four or more clouds. That’s for production application, not just SaaS applications. Then, application portability is also critical. 20% of respondents said that it’s critical for organizations to use application portability. When you’re looking at the core, to edge, to cloud environments, those data points are really important to understand. Maybe, just from what the market landscape is doing. Then, your own organization will determine whether it meets your needs as well.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. There’s a lot going on and that’s why DevOps leaders, CIOs, CTOs. Of course, here at Futurum, we’re so focused on offering value, and thinking about the challenges, and working closely, whether that’s through market data intelligence, case studies and survey development, or even just advising based upon the overall conversations that you’re having with their peers. That’s always super important, as people get a good insight from their peer group.

By the way, Paul, beyond just you working your tail off, round the clock, going client to client, company to company and talking about the trends that we just mentioned, we’re also really trying to build a discipline across the organization. Some of the things I know you’re working on is building DevOps market intelligence and having a broader dataset. We started with our AI data that Futurum Intelligence offers, but you’re also building out a series of influence/advisory events that are going to customers and analysts closer together. I believe you and our tech field day team are working on DevOps Field Days. Talk a little bit about some of the things that you’re envisioning doing in your practice, beyond just traditional advisory, so everyone out there can learn a little more about your vision about where you can collaborate.

Paul Nashawaty: Absolutely, Daniel. When I think about the practice, I think about it in the context of application development and modernization in three sub-segments. There is a build, release and operations. Day zero, day one, day two. I’m really excited to be working with the intelligence team to be doing research studies for each one of those pillars. I’ll have an observability research study that’s being fielded pretty soon. We’ll have research around testing, we’ll have research around development, and DevOps, and platform engineering. Really excited about that. That research is really fresh and new. Of course, we’ll be able to cross-tab that and reference that against the AI research that we already have in the portal. That’s really exciting, there. The other factors you mentioned, Tech Field Day. Love Tech Field Day.

Tech Field Day is a birds of a feather environment, where we can get together and talk about, really some cool stuff about what’s happening in the space. I’m excited we’re going to have Tech Field Day, DevOps Tech Field Day in May. That’s when we’re kicking that one off. We’re looking at an Observability Tech Field Day, and that’s really going to be exciting as well. There’s a lot happening there. Across the board, I view myself and my practice as a way to help organizations, their marketing departments, their product departments, to help them through the funnel. We’re looking at things like economic and technical validations. We’re looking at top of funnel assets, anything around the content that has to do with webinars, or webcasts, or podcasts like this one. Or assets, written assets, papers and such. All of that stuff to help your demand gen needs and such. But really, just looking to be a trusted advisor for those organizations that are trying to understand what are they trying to do. This is a big challenge for many CIOs, modernization.

Daniel Newman: Yeah.

Paul Nashawaty: There’s so many directions you can go. Those 100 roads may not necessarily get you to the same destination. You have to pick the right one to get you to where you need to go.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. I love that you reiterated a couple things too, like economic validation. Something that we’ve been focused on is helping customers, clients and technology vendors that we work with, able to align closely with their customers, getting to their customers, and being able to get to their peers. And say, “Hey, I’m a financial services company, and I did this. This was my strategy and this was the technology we chose. This is how much value we were able to discern from that investment.” That’s really important. Companies, of course, want to do proof of concepts, everyone wants to sell that. But it’s always a faster way to get from where you are to a proof of concept when the company says, “Look, three of the peer companies in my industry chose this technology and were able to realize this value.” I know you have a really good pedigree for being able to develop that kind of insight. That’s something I’m really looking forward to see how you build out in this practice.

Paul Nashawaty: Yeah. Daniel, with regards to validations around the space, when it comes to DevOps specifically, it really does come down to build versus buy. A lot of the DevOps teams want to flex their technical muscle. They want to understand that they can do the job. But CIOs need to look at it and go, “Well, is it worth my team’s time to build this platform, or should I buy a platform?” That’s when you start looking at the options in the market, because honestly, DevOps teams, those organizations are in the business to do what they do. If they’re in banking, or automotive, or manufacturing, that’s what they do. They’re not in the business to build DevOps platforms. Without having a clear understanding of that return on the investment of whether you should build versus buy, it’s pretty easy to go, “Well, we’ll just give it to the team over here to build it,” and they realize how quickly that adds up in spend.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, absolutely. “Let’s begin with the end in mind,” one of my favorite old Stephen Covey lines, as you know. We’re obviously, here at Futurum, making a big investment. We found, when we sat down and chatted, to be very like-minded, you and I, and the leadership here at Futurum and you as an analyst, in terms of the opportunity. Why is it so important for companies and why is it so important for us to be investing in this space?

Paul Nashawaty: Yeah. That’s a great question because I think, as organizations look at their modernization efforts, it’s no longer just about what server to replace, or what drive to replace, or which piece of hardware to replace. It comes down to what is the overall solution, and is it necessary to build it internally or should we look at a different location? Organizations are looking at other factors, external factors, such as sustainability, and governance, and regulations. What do you do in the cloud? Do you have data sovereignty issues? All of these things are complexities that, just a few years ago, were not a challenge. It was the treadmill exercise.

Years ago, I worked at a big storage company, and it was about going in and just giving the next hard drive, giving the next storage. It was just a treadmill. But now, it’s not like that at all. It’s like do we actually stand up a data center or do we shut that down, because it’s costing too much money from other factors. It’s important to really evaluate the entire solution from a fin ops perspective, from a sustainability perspective, from a tech stack perspective. Then also, I’d mentioned it earlier, your skill gap. Are you working it with your own team, can you hire people, or do you work with source delivery partners to get the job done? There’s a lot of different ways it could get there.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, absolutely. Well, Paul, listen, I got to ask you one final, really quick question. Are you ready to take the reins as host of DevOps Dialogues?

Paul Nashawaty: Daniel, I can’t wait to take the reins. I have a whole log of people lined up, literally, that are ready to do this. You mentioned it earlier, I have CEOs from these companies, both emerging companies as well as established companies. I have partners and vendors. I have end users as well as other analysts. I’m really thrilled and excited to be interviewing them, and having this series go and grow. Always looking for feedback, so to the audience, please provide that feedback, engage with me. I’d love to hear a topic that you’re interested in and we’ll bring it to the next episode.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, absolutely. Paul, I think you’re ready. All I ask is, at some point in the first 100 episodes, to just let me come back on so I can be part of this exciting growth. I am an absolute believer in this space. The work you are doing, the work we are doing is going to help the most important companies in the world do some of the hardest work there is in technology, and that’s bringing their technology up to where it needs to be without leaving all that investment, all that work that’s been done behind. It’s finding that balance. I trust you to take the charge there. Paul, and for everyone out there, hit that subscribe button, join us. Stay with us. The next conversations, I promise, are going to be better. You’re going to have a host that knows the most about this topic, and he’s going to be bringing on great guests in this space. But for this episode, for this first DevOps Dialogue, I appreciate the guest hosting opportunity. I’m going to sign off right now. Thanks for tuning in, we’ll see you all later. Bye-bye.

Paul Nashawaty: Thank you all.

Other insights from The Futurum Group:

Application Development and Modernization

The Evolving Role of Developers in the AI Revolution

Docker Build Cloud Aims to Revolutionizing DevOps

Author Information

At The Futurum Group, Paul Nashawaty, Practice Leader and Lead Principal Analyst, specializes in application modernization across build, release and operations. With a wealth of expertise in digital transformation initiatives spanning front-end and back-end systems, he also possesses comprehensive knowledge of the underlying infrastructure ecosystem crucial for supporting modernization endeavors. With over 25 years of experience, Paul has a proven track record in implementing effective go-to-market strategies, including the identification of new market channels, the growth and cultivation of partner ecosystems, and the successful execution of strategic plans resulting in positive business outcomes for his clients.

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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