Every innovation journey starts with understanding what the customer is facing. I’ve learned this truth having driven my fair share of market leading product development efforts over the years. After leading many such efforts across multiple organizations, it’s been during my time at Broadcom that I’ve seen this lesson put most powerfully into effect. In our journey to deliver the promise of AIOps to our Mainframe customers, I have learnt a lot from my Broadcom peers, and more importantly from our customers, in how to do customer-driven innovation.
The Mainframe is the workhorse of most major companies. As companies become digital enterprises, workloads on the Mainframe continue growing and have become subject to dramatic spikes. The pandemic made this trend even more pronounced with rapid fluctuations in how our digital economy operates. To complicate matters further, as companies increasingly adopt DevOps on the Mainframe, they are making hundreds or thousands of changes to their Mainframe applications every month. This puts a lot of strain on even the world’s most secure, scalable and reliable platform as well as the people that manage it. If the Mainframe goes down, core business functions stop working. These challenges have companies looking increasingly to AIOps to address these concerns.
Customer-Driven Innovation (CDI) is at the core of our approach to AIOps and grounded in three deeply held beliefs:
1. Deep partnerships: The basis for CDI is Trust. To earn customer trust, we always strive to deliver value, even if not directly related to our products. A major financial services company using our AIOps solution called out the need to train new people. Within weeks, our top z/OS experts onboarded their next generation of operators and system programmers through a structured program. And we have helped customers install, configure, and integrate other vendors’ products because they were stranded. These are prime examples of how you build trust, and they are hallmarks of our partnership commitment.
2. Design-driven customer collaboration: We have built up a world class design and product leadership team. Over the last year, we have had collaborative innovation sessions with more than 220 users across 36 customers in the AIOps space alone. Truly understanding the problems our customers face every day and jointly evolving the solutions to these problems is the basis for delivering real value.
3. Lean product innovation: After more than ten years of applying Lean-Agile practices, including 5 years at a scaled level using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), we continue to push the limits for how to do lean product development. Customer sprint reviews, incubators and innovation sprints ensure that we drive innovation that really matters. Obsessive focus on cycle times improves our speed of innovation. And our customer focus drives us to prioritize defect fixing, which reduces technical debt and improves development speed.
The results are in! Customers have made proactive alerting real, including dramatically reduced noise of alarms and 5x faster problem resolution. Our open-first architecture has enabled innovation through integration, while reducing vendor lock-in. More than for any other product company I ever worked for, our AIOps customers are willing to talk to other customers and industry analysts about the partnership and value they get.
Banrisul provides a wonderful case in point. Jorge Motter, Executive Manager at Banrisul, recently noted that the company is seeing double-digit growth from new workload demands, and offered the observation that “the mainframe has easily scaled to support. Growth will further accelerate as we deploy our Open Banking platform for next-generation payments. We see the application of AI/ML capabilities and intelligent capacity management from Broadcom as being core to our strategy in delivering the business outcomes for us now and in the future.”
Banrisul’s experience is one I’m happy to say is widely shared among the customers we’ve worked with. Thanks to our CDI approach, we are expanding adoption within existing customers, and accelerating the speed with which customers are moving from competitive products to our products.
None of the above CDI concepts are entirely new. But I have never seen them applied as effectively or with as much commitment as here at Broadcom. CDI is the ultimate win-win, allowing us to deliver more value to our customers with less waste. That’s innovation that drives real value. And that’s what Broadcom is all about.