We live in the age of surveys, whilst taken individually the results of a survey may be questionable, taken collectively trends are easily identified. One of the most prominent is the accelerating shift taking place in what, and where, Enterprises are choosing to invest in technology. Directly related to this, but much less remarked upon, is the aligned shift in how these new investments are delivered.

Moving from Monolithic Enterprise Applications to Apps dramatically changes the size of the project is a point that is generally well appreciated, but shifting the requirement from relative standardized Business activities into unique competitive differentiators is a wholly different proposition. Much less about writing software and much more about creating truly innovative code and capabilities.

Small projects delivered by new providers are hard to notoriously hard to track by the Industry watch keepers. An alternative way to measure is the ‘missing’ sum in the gap between the reported total expenditure on Enterprise Technology and amount recorded as being spent on ‘traditional IT’. The table below shows the priorities and makes it clear that there is a big shift towards ‘new’ enterprise business requirements that relate more closely to the ‘Digital Business’ agenda. It is instructive to look beyond the obvious values of relative importance of each heading, and consider which of the three groups is driving the activity.

The three individual colored bar graphs shown for each heading can be used to get an impression as to who is driving/funding the action. So while it might be interesting to argue about the relative importance and order it’s the make-up of the support for each initiative that tells the story about the type of project, and of course the delivery skills required.

The Green bar for ‘Strategic’ importance almost certainly relates to Business Management as the sponsor, whilst the ‘Functional’ description indicated by the Blue bar suggest it is more likely to be part of the traditional role of IT. The uncertainty that many managers, both Business and IT, feel over what to do about Digital Business seems to be indicated by the Red of ‘Transformation’ falling half way between the other two choices. However, there are two exceptions, as might be expected when aligned to the actual issue of ‘Transformation of existing Business Processes’ the answer is positive.

More seriously noteworthy, is the ‘Ability to find and retain Talent’ is also seen as a ‘Transformation’ factor, rather than either of the other two factors. This is an important aspect that illustrates people with the right skill are recognized as a critical success factor in transformation whether at a project, or an enterprise level.

Listing the Business Strategic and IT Functionality investments in the manner below both highlights the differences as well as providing an alignment to the business and technology deployment architecture; Systems of Engagement, Systems of Intelligence and Systems of Record.

The IT delivered actions can be seen to be part of the continued battle for improvement in existing activities largely within Systems of Record, the traditional role of IT. In contrast, the Business deployments initiatives relate to Systems of Engagement and Systems of Intelligence and the delivery of direct Competitive capabilities for Digital Business.

Business Deployed Strategic Initiatives

IT Delivered Actions



- Introduce New Digital revenue streams

- Improve organizational agility

- Improve the customer experience

- Meet compliance requirements

- Optimize worker productivity

- Increase Cyber security protection

- Increase operational effectiveness



Skill Requirements

Skill Requirements



  • Systems of Engagement
  • Systems of Record
  • Systems of Intelligence




New, sometimes Hybrid, skill sets relating to new technologies and business models

Traditional skills and role of IT

These Business led actions to grow Digital revenue streams and improve the customer experience are readily recognizable to be based on increasing interaction or ‘engagement’, but what exactly does that mean in launching a project to actually define and deliver? Who will take the lead, and where do the boundaries lie with the existing installed IT systems?

The Roles for ‘Systems’ in the Enterprise

For the IT department, it’s not easy, or practical, to lead as their core role is, and must remain, to protect the operational integrity of the Enterprise processes and systems; acting as a ‘disruptor’ in deploying solutions that directly challenge their status quo is counter intuitive. Additionally, these new initiatives require a challenging new mix of business, technology and sector skills working in partnership with often younger tech savvy business managers whose own tech skills may be disruptive to established IT staffers.

Creating the necessary truly innovative solutions that are called for by the competitive Transformation of Digital Business in the Enterprise’s markets equally calls for a Transformation in the design and delivery processes.

Solutions for Systems of Engagement and Systems of Intelligence have little in common with the solutions developed for Systems of Record. The new technologies, and more importantly the new business practices are both built differently as well as measuring business value in their deployment outcomes in ways other than the cost centricity of IT Systems of Record.

Small teams working in a collaborative manner to quickly define new possibilities in terms of their business value, delivery risk, and cost require equal innovation in staffing and methods. The intellectual contribution of each individual member, their ability to solve challenges successfully, and actually deliver, are likely to count for more than strict adherence to methodology. Not that this is suggesting an abandonment of tested principles merely a recognition that methodologies may ensure quality delivery, but in so doing can constraint innovation.

All of which may be recognized as a statement of principles, but given the very real shortages of skilled staff seems an unrealizable ideal! But where there is a market requirement there will be new entrants offering their own go to market innovation!

It would be pointless to draw attention to these issues if there was no solution. In conclusion, here are outline profiles of two Enterprises that have recently briefed Constellation Research on their abilities to answer these challenges.

SoftServe https://www.softserveinc.com/

SoftServe has 25 years of experience in the design and build of unique bespoke business solutions, always maintaining a position at the leading edge of Software creation. SoftServe both supports and drives their clients through the entire process from an initial business workshop, develop of the solution design, into creation and deployment. A major additional differentiation comes from their mathematical skills in creating the necessary unique algorithms that can truly competitively differentiate their clients’ solutions.

At a time when digital business calls for genuine innovative competitive differentiation to be rapidly defined, delivered and deployed by small teams with hybrid skills, SoftServe has built a strongly referenced position in a crowded market.

SoftServe states itself to be; ‘A digital authority operating at the cutting edge of technology to deliver the innovation, quality, and speed that its clients’ users expect. Fully aligned to four specific journey states of business maturity, SoftServe reveals, transforms, accelerates, and optimizes the way Fortune 500 and independent software vendors do business across healthcare, retail, media, and financial services industries’.

‘Focused on open innovation – from assessing compelling new ideas, to developing and implementing transformational products and services. Provided as a cohesive and comprehensive approach built on a foundation of empathetic, human-focused experience design talent natured and developed by their own SoftServe University.’

SoftServe is an excellent example of being large enough to be able to bring together the range of skills required through deep technology and business model savvy experience, and nimble enough to deploy through small teams using design experience. A well-focused client delivery model to suit the very different conditions that digital business solutions are demanding.

TopCoder https://www.topcoder.com/

Imagine being able to draw on the talents of over one million technologists to find and put together a perfect team to develop your requirement. Founded in 2001, Topcoder has created a unique marketplace that establishes relationships with and develops the software skills of developers through a competition-based model.


This remarkable pool of talent is applied to requirements by Topcoder’s secure, seamless project management platform, on which the work and deliver are both managed. By quite literally having 24/7 access to a truly global network of designers, developers, and data scientists, Topcoder can deliver innovative, creative solutions — ranging from unique apps, complex websites, to secure, ultra-reliable enterprise-grade software, and beyond.


References range from small to large across every vertical sector ranging from; developing an app to keep astronauts aboard the International Space Station fit; to optimizing an algorithm for DNA sequencing; to building 17 solar energy application MVPs in parallel in just 60 days.


Through Topcoder Challenges, developers have the opportunity to compete in software challenges for real businesses — all on a platform that allows up-and-coming coders to step into the spotlight. This enables them to break into the industry in front of peers, experts in the field, and real-world Fortune 500 clients. Members can compete in all types of development challenges to win prize money and establish their credibility in the market. They can hone their skills and learn new technology while working on real-world projects for some of the biggest businesses in the world.


The unique crowdsourcing model enables Topcoder to both build contact with and individually rank the skills of each member to establish their unique differentiator. Businesses and the larger marketplace can benefit greatly from the first-of-its-kind combination of open source and crowdsourcing across a massive talent pool. Topcoder describes their approach and value proposition as follows:


“At Topcoder, we don’t sell services. We sell outcomes; elegant, intuitive, functional digital solutions — no matter the complexity of your challenge. You pay only for a finished product, not the hours it takes to create it.”



Constellation Research is drawing attention to these companies and their innovative additions to the technology market place as examples and is not making specific recommendations. Buyers should carry out their own due diligence on prospective technology services partners, and technology product vendors.

Business Research Themes