by Yogesh Gupta

App Economy Changing CIO Role: Stephen Miles

Oct 07, 2015

Staying agile is a culture shift for modern companies to thrive in the application-driven economy, says Stephen Miles, CTO, APJ, CA Technologies. 

Mobility is changing the way users interact with businesses. With mobile application becoming preferred interface to the business, CIOs and CTOs have to transform their business into thriving, proactive ‘software factories’ says Stephen Miles, CTO, Asia Pacific & Japan, CA Technologies.

How has the equation amongst C-Suite executives like CIO, CTO, CMO, CEO changed? Who calls the shots for IT projects?

The biggest challenge CIOs face is breaking away from cultures and structures that have been the foundation of company’s success. The C-suite is adopting various means to stay more agile, more adaptable, and create an innovation culture within their business.

The final call for IT project varies for different businesses. But collaboration is an absolute trend. It is no longer acceptable for businesses to operate in silos as there is proactive collaboration between C-Suite executives. As IT is strongly align with the business, anything executed by CTO and CEO is accountable on a business level.

Conversely, customer experience is the new watchword. A good or bad customer experience is the difference between success and failure. Hence the role of CMO becomes critical on the importance of rich customer experience and answering questions on how do we capture, how do we measure, how do we analyze, how do we use customer feedback for more futuristic decisions. These are few examples but collaboration is clearly a must-have for modern businesses. 

Digital transformation is the new way to do business. How can companies traverse the path from traditional infrastructure to new age technology?

It requires modern businesses to deliberate as a five step process.

IT is the business and hence companies need to manage IT in the context of the business. A simple statement which is proving difficult for many companies. With mobile application becoming preferred interface to the business, CIOs and CTOs have to transform their business into thriving, proactive ‘software factories’. Think about speeding up the quality of applications, the relevance to the users and quality on a scale that most organizations dream of today. The ability to continuously deliver software applications in iterative, proactive closed loop process is the second step.

The third step revolves around the business’ crown jewels – the heritage data responsible for company’s foundational success. Exposing them securely to new mobile applications from customers, partners and the larger ecosystem means a new business model for the company.

CIOs need to think about the implications on the identity of the user. Identity becomes a broader concept touching not just human beings –inside and outside of the organization — but in view of identity of things.  And the final step is utilizing all the collected rich data across the business in a pervasive manner and analyzing them for more deterministic decisions to utilize IT in the best possible manner.

How does CA technologies’ new pitch on Application-driven economy benefit modern organisations?

Digital Transformation is about people, process and technology. Developing and digitizing the business assets into applications can often lead to an explosion of projects as companies’ build, design, develop, test and move these applications into production. Each of them break down into huge number of projects in terms of resources needed, priorities, time to market etcetera. Project management through the eyes of developments of the business strategy becomes the key factor. Whether a waterfall based organization or an agile based company in terms of software development methodology, we are agnostic. CA technologies provides companies with pragmatic framework to speed up, build, deploy and execute IT projects.

The second aspect of App Economy is the fact that developed applications need rapid ‘Time to market’. CA enables the companies to speeden up that time by 90% to 95% compared to their previous processes. Rapid time to market, building in quality and moving applications into the users’ hands in quick time is extremely important.

The third area is unification of DevOps. Development and operations were architected to be separate silos for the clients. But they are now unified wherein both talk to each other within an integrated framework to work with speed. It is a new culture for businesses. There is no point speeding App development by 95% to run into a bottleneck on the operations side. The agile interaction becomes critical and we help deploy that continuous delivery capability.

CA builds the enabled security world through an entire lifecycle from – on-board / off board users, identity privilege access, access to what information on which device – and the capability to build into one integrated framework. We partner ably with customer’s entire app journey of plan, build, test, develop, operate, analyse and deliver as a continuous capability for their customers.

How crucial is Mobility play in App driven economy and how can CTOs make the most of it?

With approximately 2 billion connected mobile users today, half of the planet’s population will access smartphones in a years’ time. Most countries would have 4G or 5G. More carriers would have deployed advanced software defined networks in their core infrastructure. Agile networks will accelerate application economy.

Everything is built around the mobile as the preferred touch point. Ignore it and you are paralysed. We live in the world of mobile driven connected experience wherein businesses no longer have the control.

Mobility is changing the way users interact with businesses. Few years ago, the user did cursory website surfing before talking to a business. But today’s customer traverses 70% or 80% of the journey without talking to the business due to pervasiveness of the mobile connection. Unless that journey is rich and the experience is good, the user might connect with someone else. And that’s a concern.

Mobile touch point as the primary interface to every business becomes the priority for every CIO, CTO, and business execs alike. And that is driving every single component of change that we are participating today as part of our business.

How do you view India in terms of adapting to Application driven Economy?

I am excited to see the thriving businesses in India. Despite the fact that India has always been strong in IT since many decades, I don’t see Indian business resting on their laurels. Infact I see them being extremely progressive with the entire concept of the application economy and the required digital transformation necessary for all businesses. Both in terms of small and upcoming companies as well as existing established organizations recognizing the need to change through right measures and right investments to be the part of the change.

Your top three technology bets for 2015 and beyond?

‘Software defined everything’ is my first call because it’s an important missing link in the delivery chain. As carriers and enterprises adopt and deploy software defined infrastructure, SDE will help provide more deterministic path for applications. If applications are the future of global economy, then it makes sense to deliver the right set of message and software defined infrastructure solves that problem.

APIs is the second tech bet. Everybody has embarked on API based strategy. It’s the broader ecosystem or the value constructed that links the business with whole new environment, broader composite applications, richer value chain and the opportunity to completely redesign, rebuild and rethink business models. APIs will become the cornerstone to every digital transformation architecture over next couple of years.

And finally the importance of agility.  The traditional software development methodologies have been good and purposeful to build and deploy applications.  But honestly for speedy ‘time to market’, an organization’s ability and willingness to become agile should not be from development methodology alone but how the entire business – from top down – operates towards this change. Staying Agile is a culture change for the companies to not just survive but thrive in the application economy. 

Yogesh Gupta is executive editor at IDG Media. You can reach him at or follow @yogsyogi1