Clinton Bonner: And of course it goes through the wickets, and they're looking at their glove as if, as if the glove somehow, you know, evaporated.
Nate Berent-Spillson: (Laughs)
Clinton: And I'm being nice about it but I'm like, kid, it ain't the mitt. (Laughs)
(CATALYST INTRO MUSIC)
Clinton: Welcome to Catalyst, the Launch by NTT Data podcast. Catalyst is an ongoing discussion for digital leaders dissatisfied with the status quo and yet optimistic about what's possible through smart technology and some great people. Joining me in the studio once again is VP of engineering at Launch by NTT Data, Nate Berent-Spillson. Last time Nate was here with us, we talked about three historical examples of platforms, but in the physical world. We talked about railroads, talked about time zones. Great episode, go check that one out. This time around, we're bringing Nate back on because Nate, you wrote a book. We teased it last time, Nate, and we wanted to have you on for this time to talk about it specifically. And the book is called "Frictionless Enterprise: Shred Tech Baggage and Create Perpetual Momentum." First and foremost, congratulations. That's something, right? That's not nothing. What the heck was it like to, in the busiest of times, to go ahead and carve out the meaningful time to go create a business book?
Nate: Thanks, Clinton. Thanks for having me on. And... Writing a book has actually been on my bucket list for quite a while now. And it was one of those things where I decided I wasn't really going to tell anyone that I was writing a book until it was essentially almost done, or done. And then... (Laughs) A lot of people were like, you wrote a book? When did you find time to do that?
Clinton: (Laughs) Right.
Nate: But for me, writing is a very cleansing activity, mentally, for me. I have a lot of things that are kicking around in my head, ideas and notes, and I'm constantly jotting things down on stickies, or sending myself text messages for these little bits and these little nuggets, and putting these pieces together. And then, just getting some focused time to write, and to write in pursuit of an overall arc, an overall theme. It wasn't actually until, you know, three quarters of the way through the process that we landed on the idea of frictionless and frictionless enterprise, but it fits so well. As far as all of the themes that were coming out as this was being constructed. It's been a fantastic process, it's one of those things now, that, now that I've done it, I want to keep doing it. Because I feel like it is just such a way for me to get those ideas that are kicking around out into something that can be useful, that a lot of other people hopefully can find value from.
Clinton: You know, you mentioned that the concept or the wording, the phrase of "frictionless enterprise" didn't really come out... It's almost like it was drawn out from the work itself, right? But didn't really come out until about three-quarters of the way through. So we'll get into, like, what the... what the concept of the book is, who it's for, and hopefully the, the value that, that folks will derive from it. But what kind of ideas, you know, just to let the listeners know, if it wasn't frictionless enterprise, then what was it before it was?
Nate: Well, I mean, some of the other ideas we kicked around were... "continuous product" was one. So my background is technology. I'm a technologist, engineering background, and I often find us getting stuck down and churning on those areas that are more technology-focused. But really, we have to keep our focus at the business level. And that's really what a lot of the book is about, is freeing us up to bring the focus back to, and, in a way of thinking, to keep our focus on the business, and not getting mired in technology. It's easy for us to get mired in and spend a lot of time down there churning, and feeling like that activity is somehow going to drive us to outcomes. And rather, I'd like to focus on the business, and then have technology as something that is supporting and enabling. But it's not the end-all be-all.
Clinton: I loved some of the... the feelings and the emotions that the book itself and, and the way it's portrayed as well. It's, you know, I saw some of the H1s are, this book is for dissatisfied technology leaders. Like, okay. That's a curious phrase. You don't typically see those words kind of jammed up together on a billboard. So when we're talking about dissatisfied technology leaders, like, why is the book for them? But also, a little bit more specifically, who? Like, what roles kind of fold into the modern dissatisfied leader?
Nate: So what roles fall into that dissatisfied technology leader is firmly in the realm of, you know, the chief technology officer, chief information officer. Those who are leading development. Those who are responsible for infrastructure. All of those areas today, technology has been so front and center of the enterprise, whether we realize it or not. It has been a massive driver for the last, you know, 25, 30 years. And you've got 25, 30 years of this stuff that's accumulated over time.
Nate: Depending on how old the company is. And as that's accumulated in all those different little vintages, and previous leaders, and previous initiatives, decisions made by decision makers who are long gone. But now we're the ones who are having to deal with them. So we're the ones who've sort of inherited this whole... you know, in some cases a mess, many cases a mess. We've got to figure out how to move it forward. So we're constantly, like, stuck trying to deal with the past, but yet challenged by the business in driving things forward. And that pattern of, you know, big reset or grand rewrite in the sky or whatever it is, like, that plays out again and again at enterprises. I'm sure people listening to this have been like, oh, I've been a part of one or more of those. But going back to, I think, like, the seeds of this were sown, you know, for me, just as being an individual contributor and being an engineer, and so frustrated with, you know, this is going back to the early 2000s, like...
Nate: Frustrated with a lot of the failures, you know, of being on engagements, being on projects where, you know, things didn't turn out great. And just being frustrated with that. The heavy process that we were dealing with. And so you saw the Agile Manifesto in 2001. But the seeds of that were sown in the '90s for, leading up to that manifesto. And then it took us another, you know, 10, 15 years after that to really start realizing some of the benefits of that approach. And similarly, so you saw these waves come through, crash through, and, like, they weren't just crashing through, like, in the enterprise. What was happening is, they were crashing through in the startups. The startups were the ones who were really challenging the model. The entrenched, ingrained model that was there. 'Cause before, technology was just a department inside of an enterprise. And with the startup, what we were actually doing is, we were freeing up an organization from that legacy baggage and allowing them to then purely iterate and refine on a completely differentiated model. That was really what you saw in the, like, 2000s and the teens, is you saw a lot of those tech startups that were then challenging or, like, taking a look at what that traditional model was, and like, hey, how can we break it? And disrupt it? And then once it was disrupted, you saw technology as this powerful, force-multiplying effect that then completely transformed industries. So, you look at Google. Google, like the search engine was just the first thing. It's really, what are they? They're an ad company. You know, that was what was transformative for them. You know, and then you look at the other big tech giants of today and how they were using technology as that disruptive force to disrupt the status quo. Of the, the traditional enterprise. So now we're in this realm where you've got enterprises who are now challenged with... and they have the opportunity, they have the opportunity, they've seen all of these disruptions, these disruptive technologies. We can either seize it, or, essentially, we're, like, putting ourself at risk for extinction. So that's where the whole concept and, you know, one of the, like, first lead-ins for the the book itself and the website is, like, for dissatisfied technology leaders. And I really believe that it's those people who are faced with that challenge, and we have to do something different. What was done before cannot be done going forward, or else we will not exist.
Clinton: I was at an innovation conference many years ago now, I think it was like 2012 or '13. And Dean Kamen was the keynote speaker. And he's the creator of the insulin pump, and he created the Segway. Like, tons of other things. He's... inventor and technologist. And he was very adamant about the concept of. If nothing changes, nothing changes. And he would repeat that over and over and over again. I mean, obviously simplified. Kind of the point. But to your point there as well, it is about recognizing that things do have to change. And I want to ask you one, one specific question here. You mentioned, you know, I asked you, who's the book for? And you mentioned some, some roles, right? Chief information officer, chief technology officer, perhaps even a CEO, if they are, if they're bending into that and really want to understand it for the business. But what about the other side? What about an organization where... that has now adopted a chief digital officer? Or maybe risen a chief product officer up to that level of that, you know, of the executive prominence. Or even a chief innovation officer in a place where it's not, where it's not innovation theater. Where it's actually well-thought-out, programmatic innovation happening at an enterprise level. What can they either learn from the book, or, how could they maybe use this as something to bring into the business as well?
Nate: That is the point of it. And even... I find myself like getting down and churning down in the, in the land of technology, and talking about all the challenges there. But really, what it should be is, the C-suite across the board should have the focus on the business. And we have to drag the organization, in many cases, kicking and screaming sometimes, to keep the focus on the business. And not just keep the focus on the bottom line. Because that's fine for operational excellence. But what are you really trying to do? You're trying to get out there and win market share and capture new markets and attract new clients. And so, in order to do that, you have to innovate. Going back to that statement, like, if nothing changes, you know, nothing changes. Okay, sure. There is a lot of organizational inertia to overcome for change. A successful organization is born out of a... a something that, at one point in time, was disruptive. It was a disruptive model that was winning, and you were capturing that, and then it was like, go, go, go, you know, on this model as hard as you can, and capture as much as you possibly can. That has a finite limit, though. At some point, though, that model will no longer be the differentiated model. So you either have to then have the next differentiated model ready to go, or someone else is going to come there and disrupt you with it. So it often is a challenge, and we say you've gotta disrupt yourself, o-r some people say you've gotta cannibalize your own business or whatever. And it's a hard pill to swallow, but it is truly reality. You know, you have to, in order to stay relevant you can't just keep trying to increase the size of your moat and protect the business that you have by keeping others out. That's what technology has done for us, more than anything else. Is it evaporates moats overnight. It's such a perfect, you know, analogy, you know, as well as thinking about things in terms of moats. Because it's such an old school way of protection. Who still builds a moat today? No one. (Laughs)
Clinton: Right. But... And yet we all, we all immediately understand it, we all immediately understand the visual behind it. And understand the purpose, when it was purposeful.
Clinton: And now it no longer is, right? There's, there's other ways to go about just insulating oneself. And, like you said, operational excellence. Great. Very important thing for the organization. We're talking about enterprises. Once again, we always like to juxtapose, like, hey, there's things we could borrow from the startup world. There's a lot we could borrow from the startup world that we want to understand. And, and bring in the great concepts. The reality is, the startup world and the enterprise world, they are quite different. So, in so many times, the enterprise, like you said, will just try to inch the moat out... (Laughs) A couple of inches a year.
Clinton: And just try to keep, keep doing that. And at some point, like you said, beautiful term, it evaporates. The moat is evaporated and you no longer have that insulation you thought you had. And by the way, by that point? Well, it's too late. They're at the gates and they're probably inside the castle at that point.
Clinton: It's... It's way too late. So, I love the ideas of the visuals. And a big, big piece of the, of the book itself. And yes, this is an audio podcast, so I'm going to have to ask people to put their imagination caps on a bit and just kind of think, think through the visuals as, as I'll ask you to describe them, Nate. But a lot of this book is also quite visual. There's a lot of compelling graphics in there. So there's this awesome centerpiece in "Frictionless Enterprise." It is a pyramid. I mean, I could break it down into a couple of chunks, or at least, I have as I read it. But why don't you do this for the audience? What does the base of the pyramid look like, and how would you define it?
Nate: So, I'm going to describe the pyramid, and think of it in terms of a top half and a bottom half. So, just sort of draw a line right in the middle. The bottom half, technology focus. The top half business focus. Within that bottom layer, all of the stuff in technology, the very foundational layer, it is the stuff at this point in time that really provides that stable base for modern software delivery and operations. And I do have to say, and this is really what I stress, is that, in this day and age should be table stakes. The patterns are well-established. Now, adoption is different. But at least we know what good looks like. We know what really good looks like. And we should be able to accelerate through that stuff very quickly. So along the bottom, it's all about flow. It is labeled as agile flow. But it really, it is, in terms of flow, of our ideas into reality. Then you've got DevOps, DevOps automation, infrastructure as code, all of the good things and advances that we've seen in the realm of cloud, but also in operating in your internal data centers as well. Automation, in the terms of the way that we test our software, quality engineering. And then our architectural best practices. So, we've got really well-defined, mature, well-established architectural best practices. And just encapsulating those, and making sure that we have patterns for everything that we're doing. That's a big part of architecture, is having patterns. So then, having those patterns defined as what is going to be our set of patterns that we take forward. And so that's our foundation, that's our frictionless foundation, and we try to make that as smooth and as effortless and easy to understand as possible. And not get stuck there.
Nate: And that's where I see... Like, when you say "dissatisfied technology leaders," like, going back to that, like, we end up getting stuck. We get mired spending a lot of time and activity in that base layer. It is valuable, but it's the outcome that's valuable. The activity and the process for getting there, we should be able to accelerate through. And let's truly challenge ourselves to accelerate through that, and then make that as easy and as frictionless to deliver our software as possible.
Clinton: When you said, hey, it should be, it ought to be table stakes. And hey, there's 20 years or so of understanding what good and, heck, even what great and beautiful and flowing feels like and looks like. There are best-in-breed examples out there of great organizations doing it exceptionally well. However, what's the reality on the ground? You know, we work with mainly Fortune 1000, for the most part, enterprises. When you get under the hood, what... is it table stakes? When you get to talk with the CIOs or the CTOs, and you get to pop the hood open, does it look smooth? Or, more often than not, do you find something that is less-than?
Nate: There is not a week that goes by that I don't have a conversation with someone who is spending a lot of time and effort churning on something that they should almost just get out a quarter and flip it. Flip a coin. And I sometimes take it to that level of ridiculousness, of like, look, if we're spending any more time on this decision, we're missing the point. And it's not intentional. I mean, they are well, well-intentioned in what they're doing. Like, they're trying to make the right decision. And this is part of what the book, also in the book, is like... it's not just making a decision, but then making sure that once you've made that decision, you insulate yourself as much as possible to allow for change. Because I think the thing that, that has made companies very, is they've seen this. I talked about that whole... decisions of past that can, you know, that haunt the present. They see the long-term ramifications of decisions that were made long ago. And it wasn't the technology decision itself that haunts us. It's the way that we let that become embedded, ingrained, entrenched in our organization. That's actually where we went sideways. And that's part of what I challenge us to do, is make these decisions on technology, and be intentional about how much you're going to let the, whatever that decision is, get its hooks into the organization itself. So it's focusing way too much on, like, for example, like, oh, well, we have this tool and this tool and this tool, like, do you have experience in doing something very specific with this combination of tools? Like, okay, those tools are all like, you're talking about a set of agile tools, or you're talking about a set of, like, DevOps tools, or a cloud platform, or CICD, or whatever it is, like... That's fine, the tools are fine, but like... what are you trying to achieve with them? And then just, you need to get to the point where you're focusing on, I'm going to use these tools. This is going to be my subset of tools that I'm going to use for that purpose, and I'm just going to use it effectively and just be intentional about it. And then not let... not get mired in the actual... like, trying to make the pile of tools work together. They, at this point, like, they all work. Like, you have to trust that. It's not... (Laughs) Believe me, if you're not getting the value from it, it's not the tools' fault. You know...
Clinton: (Laughs) I coach, I coach the little league, and I ran my local little league for two years post-Covid. I was happy to give that hat back. But it was a great, great two-plus years, and I've coached for six, seven years. And I always love a kid who will, like, look down at his mitt after missing a ball. I'm like, I'm like, kid. It's because, in that particular instance, let's, let's play that out a second. They didn't do the base things right to feel the ground ball. Get your base, get low, glove on the ground, get square, be ready for the hop, et cetera, et cetera.
Clinton: To your point. Hey, today, this is a beautiful golden era of APIs and bringing things together. Pipings and things that bring multiple APIs together. You can have event buses, you can do everything you want to go do. Technology-wise, right? You can do all that stuff if you want to go do it. And it could be smooth. So, it ain't, as you said, it ain't the tools. So stop, stop churning there and focus on, again, what are you trying to accomplish? What's the value? Which brings us towards the top of the pyramid. We said, we bifurcated it earlier. So if the base layer is the things you described, and it is to provide smoothness so that you can get towards the top of the pyramid - well then, okay, what is at the top of the pyramid? What's that... What's that top half look like?
Nate: Yeah. Let me finish on the bottom half. Just... And you touched on it a little bit, you know, with the APIs.
Nate: So, the base layer, you know, is all about just your infrastructure and delivery. The software delivery value stream. Making that as smooth as possible. The next place where a lot of organizations get stuck are, re-solving of solved problems. And that comes in, usually, two categories. One of which is, I've got something that my particular industry, every other company that, that I compete with, we all have to deal with the same stuff. And so that's just the cost of doing business. It's very important. It could be your product catalog. It could be, like, the way you have to do regulatory filings. All of those things are very important for your business, but none of them are strategic. They will never end up in a press release. Or they shouldn't. You know?
Nate: Because it's not something that's strategic. And then you have the stuff that are truly, at this point in time, solved problems. And you should be able to go out and get those as a service. Get 'em as a service, and then provide a layer of insulation for that. Now, that point is really important. Because once you decide that you're going to go out, and I'm going to get something as a service, you have to make sure that you insulate yourself so that that does not, essentially, contaminate your... your ability to change. It's not that it's contaminating your business, it's just preventing your ability to change. So provide an insulating layer for that. And then for everything that you're doing that are just the cost of doing business, do that as cheaply, simply as you possibly can, because, you know, it's important to have a good experience for your internal users. But ultimately it's about getting the job done. Not necessarily, like, customer-level experience, customer-level slickness. You know, those type of things. That completes the bottom of it. So the bottom of it is, cost of doing business stuff, and then everything that's something that I can get as a solved problem, as a service. That's going to be a buy versus build, and most of the time it's going to go into a buy decision. Buy and insulate. Buy and encapsulate.
Clinton: Yeah, and as you said, you end up talking to a lot of, a lot of clients, and a lot of high-end folks who spend either the majority or simply way too much of their time there. So if they're there, then where are they not?
Nate: They're not focusing on the top. They're not focusing truly on the business. And so, I've seen clients do this where C-suite is focused at the top. They're focused on differentiation in the market. They're focused on capturing new markets. So you had a client who was trying to go out and capture. They saw a market opportunity, and it was going to manifest itself in two ways. And so it was multilingual, multi-language support. That was really, ultimately what they needed to support this. But really what it was is, they wanted to be able to sell into markets where it was not English. English wasn't the predominant language there. And there were some domestic opportunities, as well as, then, some foreign opportunities for that. So ultimately it came down to, when they boiled it down, they were like, we gotta get multi-language support, we gotta get it as quickly as possible. What that turned into, though, was a very, I'd say, distracted, or... What ended up happening with that was, then, internally they got distracted. Especially in and around the things that were really solved problems and things that were not strategic. And so, they did make the right decision, to do buy versus build, because at one point in time, what they were buying was strategic for them. 20 years ago, when they first built their system, it was strategic. And so that's what you see a lot with enterprises, is that they confuse something that was strategic in a previous decade with something that's still strategic. When really it's not. So now they were spending a lot of time and effort, like, customizing, over customizing a buy decision. Essentially making it to the point where you weren't going to get the benefits of the buy decision. And confusing something that was a solved problem as a service was something that was strategic. So now I'm spending my good strategic differentiating money trying to just customize the heck out of this thing, to try to recreate what the legacy system did and looked like. Rather than just putting laser focus on, we've gotta get multilingual support. That's what we're trying to do, and, like, you've got to pull that value forward as much as you possibly can. Rather than, I'm going to go off on this multi-year quest to re-create the legacy system in something that should be off-the-shelf. Like, it just, everything gets all mired up, and then you wonder why we're having trouble realizing the actual value. The focus on multilingual. What's the simplest possible thing that we can do that's still scalable to get to that point? What parts of that do we buy? Just take it out of the box, insulate yourself from it. And then what are the things that we need to extend to truly support the parts of that capability that are not coming out of the box with that? Now, that's how I strategically attack it. Now I'm getting to the point of having multilingual support on a timescale of eight months, rather than 36 months.
Clinton: That's a 4X shrink, right? Of actually getting that to market. Which I think is, again, part of the whole purpose of frictionless enterprise, is that... Again, we all say we want to act like startups, but in the, in the enterprise world, it's not that simple. It's not that easy to shred all this tech baggage so that we can focus on the net new experiences. So if we're at that top layer, you went item by item earlier, Nate, with the things like, you know, flow, the agile flow and DevSecOps. So what is in that top layer, if you had to name it for the audience?
Nate: Yeah. Top layer is start... it starts with experience. Start with your experiences, and use that, then, to drive what your strategic differentiators are going to be. Your strategic domain concepts. That's your true secret sauce. And many times it is combinatory. Like, I am composing a bunch of capabilities together to provide that experience. And there will be pieces of that that truly are differentiated special sauce. And then I'm going to, you know, put my best investment on that, and creating that very rich experience, because those experiences are what's driving that market share. That market capture. So, the best experience... and just think about that. Like, that's everything associated with your whole value chain for what your customer is experiencing, from the point of purchase all the way through support operations. And that, that might take a lot of different, like, you may have a physical product that has, then, a digital component to it. Or you may have mostly a digital product, but then you've, you know, whatever. I don't want to confuse, like, user experience with just like, wireframes and screens.
Nate: You know, it truly is looking at it from the perspective of, what's the, what's the user's experience, the developer's experience? Like, make sure that you're not limiting yourself to just the externally facing persona, as well. Like, you're going to have your customer's, your actual end user's experience. You're going to have the developer's experience, who may be then interacting with, I have to combine these services together and make sure that I can run them efficiently. That's going to impact your operational personas. Make sure that you keep in mind all of the very important personas that can make or break that product. And then invest accordingly, to support those. So, some are going to be that strategic, differentiated domain stuff. Some of it are going to be solved problems as a service and those supporting subdomains. And then at the very top, the pinnacle of the pyramid, is sustained innovation. And that is where everyone wants to get to.
Clinton: Sure. Yeah.
Nate: But I'd say it's less of a point of arriving at, and something, again, and this is a big part of the pyramid, is that it's less, it's not really like a maturity model or, like, you gotta build from the ground up. It is a way of thinking that you can quickly orient and categorize things to, how much should I be investing? And that can be, in terms of, like, the mental overhead of the organization that we're investing in that as well. And sustained innovation is no different. Everyone talks about innovation and how they need to be innovative and et cetera, et cetera. But a lot of times it doesn't go past innovation theater.
Nate: It doesn't go past just innovation lip service, or we're going to have a couple of day off-site and, you know, we're going to do some stuff, and then at the end of it, we're going to have some ideas that never go anywhere. Or we're going to have our little, like, incubator that we're going to go spin up. Every good idea that comes out of that, or good innovative way of working and thinking and, or, new product idea, and we're going to squash it. So, it really needs to become a part of your DNA where you're, you have a mechanism to identify those new opportunities, those new things that are very far forward-looking, and then nurture them, and bring them in to the realm of being transformative in your organization. And then, when you get something that has real potential in the market, then that becomes the thing that you're, like, adding to your existing offering. And that becomes the motion that's default. Sustained innovation is not something that you, like, arrive at at some state of nirvana. It is a way of thinking that is built into your organization as this constant motion. Having that, though, as a solid foundation, from a solid foundation, from a technology, and solid foundation of us always putting the focus on the business that's what enables that sustained innovation, is when we can really keep the focus on the business, and that's part of our default way of operating.
Clinton: Well, I mean, if you just juxtapose the two potential scenarios, right? One is, you're spending your time churning at what you described as the base of the pyramid, on solved problems and other things, and you're putting your sweat and your equity and your time and your people's time and your capital, and you're, literally or figuratively, churning. You're there just churning.
Clinton: And that's, and that's a mental state, along with a reality. But you're, you're so focused there that you're like, this is where we're getting value. And you're just putting this book in people's faces, being like, no. That's not the valuable thing. And as you said, the top of the pyramid is not some state that you arrive at, but it is the mental vision and focus. Be like, no, no. Instead of being down here with our churn, let's always be up here. But in order to do that, it's not a light switch and it's not a magic wand and it's not, it's not startup land. It is, let's get the organization right so that we can enable this move towards the highest-value stuff over and over and over. And that becomes the default motion. And over time, that's going to pay huge dividends for, for any enterprise that truly has the ability to kind of stay there and focus there. And I do want to end on one, one concept, Nate. Because, the things you're describing, right? You've got this base, you've got this, then, focus and, and then ability to go focus on experiences, to go take, let's say, go take your swing so that you can get to that point of continuous and sustained innovation. When we had you on the pod last time, we talked about platforms. So maybe it's kind of fitting to end this time, we've got about five minutes to go, end this time with this idea that actually, what you're describing is a platform. And again, you don't gotta be Netflix, you don't gotta be Facebook or Meta to treat yourself like a platform. So if you've, if you've set this up for yourself, how is this pyramid and this framework, how does it act like a platform for those that then want to go access it so that they could actually do what we talked about? Focus on experiences, focus on net new products? How does that become a platform for the users?
Nate: Yeah. Platform is a... Again, it's a, it's a way of thinking. Platform is a way of thinking. And having a platform mentality and a platform mindset, just in the way that you approach it, approach things. So, that platform mindset, though, is just, hey, this should be something that I have as a capability. I need the people who are, as part of that, for example, platform team, business platform team or technical platform team. I need you to go figure it out as quickly as possible, and we're not going to waste a whole bunch of time turning on that. We're going to stay focused on the business. And the other thing there is, like, design-led is crucial. So being design-led in our experiences. And then looking at, now, ideally, it should be, how little do I actually have to go build that new? How much do I not have to do to support this, this experience that I'm trying to drive? This design-led experience? And over time, that should become less and less and less. As far as, like, net new stuff that I need to create. Because your platform becomes that much richer, your capabilities become, your patterns get down to the point where it's like, I can quickly slice through this, and looking for, what are the capabilities I need to create this experience? And then, how much of that do I have to actually go and construct net new? That should be a small subset. The majority of that I should be going and getting through those other mechanisms. And so, that's what I'm trying to do with this, is like, help organizations realize that so much of the stuff that they had to trudge through before, they don't anymore. Don't keep trudging through just because once upon a time you had to trudge through it. You gotta move through it quickly. And when you really do truly push yourself to move through it more quickly, and focus on that outcome that you're trying to achieve, and your organization is looking at it, is like, how do I get through this as quickly as possible with the least amount of friction as possible? That was really the birth of the concept of "frictionless."
Nate: In that we've gotta be able to make our enterprise itself have the least amount of friction, so that we can keep our focus up at the differentiated, design-led experiences and the innovation. That's where we want to be. Everyone in this company wants to be at that place. And we don't want to mess around with that stuff that... It just takes up a lot of cycles. It's a lot of activity, but not a ton of outcomes.
Clinton: One of the last concepts I'll touch on in the book, and I'll encourage people to, I'll tell people where they can go to get it, of course, too, is... When, Nate, when you talk about, hey, we need to be able to move through that and do that quickly. Some people might be, you know, saying, okay, well, we've heard the fail fast, fail fast for a long time. And again, hey, let's borrow from the startup world. They fail fast. In the book, you turn that a bit, a bit further, I'd say a bit more evolved, and say, yes, we want the velocity. However, it's really about failing small. Because you've set up a platform where you can amortize your tech, your tech debt. You could get your tech debt right. You could amortize your risk-taking so that every time you're taking your next swing, you're getting the best of what you've, you've built previously. You could add to it quicker. You could... So that you can be more, have more velocity. That's a, that's a consequence of it. But you could also try these things at the... towards the top of the pyramid, new experiences, et cetera, et cetera. But with a heck of a lot less baggage, which comes in the form of how much, how much did it cost you? And how long did you have to spend to get to this space where you're releasing a product that could get actual feedback in the market? It's about what happens when you do it right. And that's kind of where I want to land it with you today, Nate. I will say this, folks. So, the book is Frictionless Enterprise. The author is Nate Berent-Spillson. If you want to go grab a copy, very simply go to launch.NTTdata.com/frictionless. You can email Nate. Simple way to do that: frictionless@NTTData.com, and that'll go right to Nate's inbox. You'll see all those. If you want to have a conversation with Nate, I believe, Nate you'll be open to that as well. Any last things you want to, want the audience to know about the book? Anything at all? Go ahead.
Nate: Yeah. Just one last point on that "fail small." In a startup world, the startup itself exists to succeed or fail, and many startups fail. In an enterprise, we don't have that same luxury. Failure's not tolerated. So we can talk about wanting to act like a startup, but when failure is not tolerated, it can be career-ending.
Nate: If done incorrectly. If you make too big of a bet and fail, it can actually cause, you know, real harm to the enterprise. So that's why failing small is important, because the smaller the potential for failure, the more likely you are... like, the smaller bets you can make, the more likely you are to make more of those small bets, then. And when you do have something that's, that has real promise and potential payoff, that's where you can really get aggressive and drive. That's the motion that you want to get for continued innovation. Making lots of small bets with potentially huge payouts.
Clinton: Love it. Great. Great place to end it there. So Nate, thank you so much again. Nate wrote the book on it, it's called Frictionless Enterprise. Make sure you go get your free copy. I'll be flying out soon, Nate, to go record the audiobook with you, so I'm excited for that, we're going to get that released as well. So go grab the book and tell us what you think, because in this studio we believe in shipping software over slideware, that fast will follow smooth, and aiming to create digital experiences that move millions is a very worthy pursuit. Join us next time as the pursuit continues on Catalyst, the Launch by NTT Data podcast.
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