Kara Sprague, Senior Vice President and General Manager of F5’s Application Delivery Controller business unit, explains the importance of applications and how chaos can lead to innovation


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F5s Kara Sprague explains how chaos can lead to innovation

F5's Kara Sprague explains how chaos can lead to innovation

Kara Sprague is Senior Vice President and General Manager of F5’s Application Delivery Controller (ADC) business unit, responsible for the company’s ADC product portfolio management, product and solutions.

Kara shares the importance of applications as the modern digital economy and how chaos can lead to innovation for companies through application capital.

Applications help businesses develop and deliver

"Applications are now the primary vehicle through which digital businesses develop and deliver their goods and services. Moreover, the soaring valuations of today’s most well-known digital giants are attributable to those companies’ application portfolios," says Kara.

"Simply put, applications and the data they manipulate are the currency of the modern digital economy. They are a balance sheet-worthy asset of the digital enterprise and can drive tremendous value creation. They are also an asset that can be exploited and produce terrible value destruction.

"Effective stewardship of that valuable but vulnerable resource, an organization’s application portfolio, must extend beyond the confines of IT to the entire C-Suite. In the application economy, corporate IT need to embrace and enable chaotic innovation, as well as minimise enterprise risk."

Chaos leads to innovation and growth

Kara describes how, for many companies, chaos can lead to innovation. She cites Intel's Andy Grove who said “let chaos reign, then rein in chaos”.

"The approach created a culture within the organisation that allowed chaos to thrive, enabling workforces to think outside of their normal patterns and take the time to experiment with new ideas," explains Kara.

"As a former management consultant, I’m often asked if this type of thinking is about more than just technology companies. MTV recently surveyed Millennials on their work habits, and found that 78% believe it’s important to have a side project that could become a different career. Many companies, irrespective of industry, are known to be explicitly tolerant of side-entrepreneurship," explains Kara.

Chaos relating to application capital

Kara explains how chaos links to application capital.

"Application capital is built, enhanced, and optimised during times of chaos. To me, chaos means innovation. Innovation leads to opportunity, and within that opportunity lies value," comments Kara.

"Opportunities to improve IT operations do not come along often, but as applications are migrated to the cloud, operations teams can position themselves for success even as decision-making around technology adoption shifts towards developers. Developers are operating in a world of controlled chaos–one that should be fostered–but also given user-friendly developer-centric controls for application services."

"Through easily applied, consistent application services, developers are now increasingly free to engage in controlled chaos while conforming to the needs of their IT counterparts, as well as the development of new structures and approaches delivering business value."

Enhancing and securing application capital 

Kara uses multi-cloud application services as an example. 

"Backed by a world-class customer support organisation, businesses are more able than ever before to enhance and secure application capital, including improving the performance and end-user experience of applications; making developers more productive; improving enterprise security/risk posture by offering easy-to-attach security services, consistent policy management across applications, wherever they sit; and visibility and monitoring across your application portfolio," says Kara.

"When made a core part of an enterprise-wide infrastructure, a strong application services provider can provide a level of assurance to the business that its application portfolio remains available, reliable and secure," adds Kara. "The key is to build and protect your application capital while supporting the need for chaotic innovation."

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