Last Updated Sep 13, 2021 —

Alan Brown and’s Derek Holt discuss Agile and DevOps portfolios at, the importance of valuable delivery, and what opportunities lie ahead for the future. 


Alan Brown, Digital Transformation Advisor at conducts a series of interviews with various members of the organization. The first in the series, Alan virtually sits down with Derek Holt, General Manager for Agile and DevOps portfolios at, to speak on how businesses are digitally transforming, the importance of valuable delivery, and what opportunities lie ahead for the future. 

As the world elapses the one-year anniversary of conforming to the “new normal”, businesses across all industries have been changing accordingly. Challenge must be met with adaptability, and that is exactly the mindset that has allowed organizations to survive, and in some cases thrive, despite the setbacks caused by COVID-19. 

When COVID first entered the scene, it resulted in panic and fear for many businesses as the threat of lockdowns and closures seemed imminent. But the promise of change has been lingering for decades, and much like Darwinian evolution, the businesses that have survived are the ones that are able to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which they find themselves. 

Derek Holt shared a similar notion on these dynamic times, stating that he has seen businesses expedite their path to digital transformation due to the impact of COVID. 

“If we look at it purely from a technical perspective,” says Holt. “I think many legacy businesses that were on the path of transformation already had to put their foot on the gas out of necessity in many ways. That includes not only the way they deliver value and engage with their customers, but it’s also how they engage with their employees.” 

Though some industries have had the opportunity to work from home for decades, for others this great migration was entirely new. Both employers and employees alike were learning how to go completely digital, an advancement many were not intending to make for quite some time.  

On the subject, Holt states, “You see CEO after CEO saying, ‘Hey, we’ve kind of accelerated our digital transformation in the first 5 or 6 months of the pandemic. That was sort of our plan over the next decade.’” 

Many thought they would have months or years to prepare for such rapid transition among process and procedure. But as quick decision-making forced the hands of CEOs, organizations looked to change to improve the operations of the business.    

Bumps in the road–Frictionless execution 

However, being the abrupt change that it is, the journey to digital transformation won’t always be a smooth one. Depending on the perspective, these challenges are all a part of investing in an organization’s future.  

When asked about what key issues will be present for organizations on their digital journey, Holt described two main problems. The first being that many large enterprises such as the ones Holt works with are struggling to scale a frictionless execution when it comes to delivery. In order to be successful, they need to execute in a way that is as compliant as it is secure; and above all, maintain a high level of quality when delivering. 

“Certainly, it’s a shift [in mindset] from, ‘Hey, let’s just go buy a bunch of random tools and stitch them together, and hope for the best.’” says Holt. “Today we’re seeing a more [collaborative mindset] of ‘Let’s get a great partner that can help be that execution layer for us– helping individuals, helping teams, helping domains, but also helping the organization as a whole be more successful and more streamlined.’” 

Bumps in the road–Information overload 

Investing the time and dedication in tying together different domains and capabilities in attempts to remain cohesive is essential in the digital transformation process. Identifying these capabilities allow for them to become visible in the face of Value Stream Management, ultimately measuring software delivery success. 

The second obstacle is the ever-present struggle to determine what to do with the terabytes of data that solutions can generate.  

“We see people using data to identify risks and opportunities for flow acceleration, and bottlenecks and quality, and it’s great we can do more builds,” Holt remarks. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re building the right things and we’re helping the business financially.” 

A surplus of information is only as good as how advantageous it can be for the business associated with it. Much like disconnected capabilities, too much data fragmentation throughout the pipeline will lead to a severe lack of visibility. The solution? Embracing an agile methodology that will allow for alignment among the business units and their IT counterparts. 

Beyond the horizon 

As businesses continue down the path of digital transformation, new capabilities coming through the tool base will allow potential opportunities to arise. Holt in particular is excited to see the improvement of individual domains. 

“Where I see the real value is between those domains,” Holt remarks. “The ability for the left hand to know what the right hand is doing as you’re going through this process; giving and, frankly, empowering, individual contributors and individual teams to have much more seamless visibility across all parts of the process.” 

Having this data from the domains be easily accessible will identify opportunities to not only drive increased collaboration, but also increase the effectiveness and efficiency, ultimately driving continuous improvement. Developers, such as the ones at, are starting to bring this to market–being able to give decision makers 360-degree views of what’s going on from a variety of perspectives. 

As companies plan to move forward in their DevOps endeavors, it’s critical for them to take the time to define success and determine how it relates back to their business. This new approach can uncover the value of being reactionary in the face of market changes, and will ultimately break the barriers forged by data fragmentation in the past. Through the merging of goals and execution, there is hope for organizations to carry along the path of digital transformation, and eventually arriving at their final unified destination. 

Learn more about how to expedite your digital transformation in our webinar: “Accelerate your Digital Transformation: Achieve Business Agility with Technology and IT Optimization.” 

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