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Building and Enhancing Your Application Capital through Chaotic Innovation

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Over the last few months, I’ve both written and spoken about the concept of Application Capital. Applications are now the primary vehicle through which digital businesses develop and deliver their goods and services.  Moreover, the soaring valuations of the most well-known digital giants today are attributable to those companies’ application portfolios. Consider Facebook or Lyft.

Simply put, applications and the data they manipulate are the currency of the modern digital economy. For a growing number of companies, they are a balance sheet-worthy asset… an asset that can account for tremendous value creation. But also an asset that can be exploited and drive terrible value destruction. The single largest one-day drop in a company’s market value – Facebook’s $120 Billion drop in late July 2018, 19% of its market cap – happened after the company told investors that user growth had slowed in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that resulted in data from 87m Facebook profiles being used to enable a foreign power to interfere in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

While Facebook is an extreme example of a digital native, the lesson holds true even for aspiring digital companies. Effective stewardship of that valuable but vulnerable resource, an organization’s application portfolio, must extend beyond the confines of IT to the entire C-Suite. As applications ascend beyond being simply the nuts and bolts of how a company does business and increasingly become the business itself, the role of Corporate IT must evolve as well. In the Application Economy, Corporate IT has two imperatives: 1) embrace and enable Chaotic Innovation and 2) minimize enterprise risk.

Chaotic Innovation?

Chaos has long been used as a tool for companies to unleash innovation. Some examples:

  • Intel’s Andy Grove used to tell people that they needed to "Let Chaos Reign, Then Rein in Chaos." This approach created a culture within the organization that allowed chaos to thrive—allowing people to think outside of their normal patterns, take the time to experiment, and come up with really great ideas.
  • Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin highlighted the idea behind the need for chaotic innovation (in not so many words) in their 2004 IPO letter. The letter plainly states, "We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google." This approach led to many innovations, including AdSense, Gmail, and a host of other well-formed and capitalized ideas.

As a former management consultant, I’m often asked if this type of thinking applies to more than just technology companies… MTV recently surveyed Millennials on their work habits, and found that 78% believe it’s important to have a "side hustle" that could become a different career. And companies of all types are known to be explicitly tolerant of side-entrepreneurship.

These chaos-friendly companies understand the benefits of that openness. In fact, many start-ups are hatched by founders that launched their company while working elsewhere, then quit to pursue their passion full-time. And according to Chris Trimble, a professor at the Tuck School of Business, these types of policies give employees a taste of freedom as well as the frustration of not being fully able to embrace it… Chaotic innovation at its finest!

For current and aspiring digital businesses, chaotic innovation thrives when application developers are free to build and deploy new applications unencumbered by concerns about availability, stability, security, or compliance. Developers are in short supply. As the scarcest resource in the Application Economy, every second wasted by a developer impacts a company’s rate of value creation. Companies serious about building and enhancing their Application Capital are sorely in need of solutions that save developers time, reduce unnecessary complexity and expertise, and keep them focused on rapidly deploying the code they care about, and that the business values the most.

How F5 Helps

F5 is the leader in Multi-Cloud Application Services. Our multi-cloud application services enhance and secure your Application Capital in many ways. Here are a few:

  • Improves the performance and end-user experience of your applications – Simply put, our world-class application services make your applications go faster.
  • Makes your developers more productive – By offering best-in-class Application Services off the shelf; through integrations with CI/CD tool chains and robust automation and orchestration solutions; by simplifying workflow around policy attachment and self-service tools; and by providing actionable insights in to the applications themselves.
  • Improves your enterprise security / risk posture – By offering easy-to-attach security services; consistent policy management across applications, wherever they sit; and visibility and monitoring across your application portfolio.

Why F5? Why not other application service providers? Our value proposition is simple:

  • F5 has the broadest and deepest portfolio of application services in the industry
  • F5 offers the most flexible consumption and multi-cloud deployment options of any vendor
  • F5 backs it all up with a world-class customer support organization

When made a core part of an enterprise-wide infrastructure, F5 provides a level of assurance to the business that its application portfolio remains available, reliable, and secure.

Recap

To survive in the digital economy, every company must enhance and secure their Application Capital. The solution is a consistent set of application services that can be applied to any app, anywhere. F5’s industry-leading Multi-Cloud Application Services improve the performance and end-user experience of your applications, make your developers more productive, and improve your enterprise security / risk posture. F5 is the best partner for enhancing and securing your Application Capital.

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