July 2016 is a big milestone for UDig, as we celebrate our 15th year of business and our most innovative year yet. The ride has had bumps along the way but I am very excited about our future. We have been pivoting from a company focused on providing technology resources to a technology company built around focused practice areas. As we start to reflect on the past 15 years of being in business, we look to our past to reminisce about what technology was like in 2001. In 2001, less than 10% of the US population had access to broadband Internet service. The majority of people were using dial-up service to get email and Internet access. Our cell phones were being used for phone calls, not checking email, social media and your bank statement. Websites were dominated with clunky modular designs and blue links. A few big events from 2001 changed the technology landscape including the first iPod, Wikipedia, Xbox, and XM Radio. One of the biggest changes in our industry was in February 2001, the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development” was released by a group of peers interested in eliminating heavyweight, document driven software development processes.
As we fast forward to 2016, technology continues to evolve although the evolution is different than in 2001. Mobile devices dominate our web traffic and with much of the content being HD quality video. In 2001, we had 250 million websites, today we have over a billion websites. The data center is also much different in 2016 than 2001. The proliferation of cloud services has changed the way companies adopt technology and spend capital. Many companies are using a hybrid cloud strategy to help with cycle time and reduce Capex. The Agile movement that started in 2001 has enabled technology departments to focus on the right things and to get their business customers’ strategies to market quicker. Other processes like Scaled Agile Framework have given management insight into what’s getting prioritized and completed. Wearable technology continues to evolve with FitBit, Apple Watch and virtual reality devices. For the first time Virtual Reality is affordable with many real world application and autonomous cars can drive on a single charge for 300 miles.
In 2016, many of the challenges are less technical and more process and cultural. Legacy technical debt still causes issues for some clients but they are getting smarter on how to mitigate those problems. Businesses are focused on getting to market quicker, with smaller investments and better intelligence. We see advances in data technology with predictive analytics and machine learning to be the next big driver for business. With these advances, data is an organization’s most important asset, but generally the least understood. Cleaner, higher quality data that is easy to access and decision against will drive the future of software engineering and digital initiatives.
While the last 15 years have been a fun ride, we are even more excited about the next 15 years. We enjoyed serving our customers in many different capacities and becoming a trusted partner. Today, our conversations with clients are much different, not only providing the resources they need but helping them to solve their business problems and challenging them to think differently.
Looking ahead to 2031, regardless of how the technology itself evolves, I’m confident we will continue to build deep relationships with our clients and empower them to reach their goals, grow their knowledge and wow customers. The values that inspired us to start the business in 2001 – being transparent, providing exceptional experiences and being up-front and honest – will continue to drive us to do what we dig. But, by then, I hope I am thinking this post into an expandable, lightweight tablet from the backseat of my self-driving car with my virtual reality contacts.
I hope 2016 is also #themostinnovativeyearyet for your organization!