- Software makes human lives better.
- Software unlocks massive enterprise value for companies that know how to deeply leverage it.
- Software is now defining a company's competitiveness and relevance.
Armory ensures outcomes for enterprises that want to unlock enterprise value through software:
Why Armory Exists:
A company’s ability to get software in the hands of its users now defines its ability to compete. We want to help companies trust their deployments and ship software better, safer & faster to stay competitive.
- Our long-term vision: Unlock massive enterprise value through software. Software helps enterprises dominate their industries and compete in new verticals. We help our customers drive enterprise value by enabling a deep core competency in software.
- Our immediate mission: Enable Intelligent Deployments (Stage 5 in the chart above). We help enterprises ship software with speed and confidence. Even the best boardroom strategy is meaningless in a software-first world without the ability to continuously deploy software in the background without downtime and errors. We inject safety, velocity and intelligence into our customers' software deployment processes.
Software Makes Human Lives Better
Software makes human lives better in very tangible ways. Not just a bit better, but a lot better. Some examples:
Automobiles: The car has been around for over 100 years. But each year, 1.25 million people die in car accidents -- that's a human life every 25 seconds. In the past few years, software has started driving cars, and they are literally orders of magnitude safer than human-driven cars. It's likely that future generations will find it incomprehensible that humans used to slaughter each other on roadways when software can do the job so much better. Additionally, software-first companies like Uber, Lyft, Turo and Getaround are re-defining the very essence of car ownership by turning cars into an on-demand commodity.
Retail: The customer relationship is being wrestled away from brick & mortar retailers by software-first platforms. Shopping via Instacart, Google Shopping Express, or Amazon renders the retailers solely as distribution centers to fulfill the user's software experience. The convenience afforded by having goods and groceries show up at a consumer's front door is hard to beat.
Hospitality: Airbnb and other software-first hospitality companies are competing in hospitality in entirely new ways. They don't have the burden of owning and managing real estate, or the complexities (nor overhead) of the staff required to run these properties. Airbnb now has 36% more room listings than the largest hotel chain -- without owning a single hotel room.
The examples of software-first companies re-defining entire industries (and competing in new ones) is becoming obvious, and yet it's just beginning. A recent New York Times article describes "The Decline of the Baronial C.E.O." -- how companies like General Electric and Whole Foods are facing activist boards that are becoming impatient as these companies try to adjust to a software-first world.
This seismic shift is being driven by technology, and specifically, by a company's ability to re-tool its core business to leverage the additional value that can be unlocked by delivering software. This chart shows the general trend since the Industrial Age -- private companies making human life better through the output of goods and services. Things like railroads, the automobile, the airplane, container ships, refrigeration, home appliances, etc:
But in the past decade, software-first companies have shown that it's possible to unlock orders of magnitude more value via software-first approaches, across industries.
Extreme software competency is one of the reasons Tesla's market cap rivals Ford & GMs, even though it produces 1/100th as many vehicles. It's also what's driving Amazon to purchase Whole Foods. Amazon will unlock additional value in the grocery industry by applying software to the vertical.
Why Is This Sea Change Happening Now?
In the past, companies did not need a strong core competency in software to thrive. In the year 2000, the average cost of running a top web property was $150,000 per month. Outsourced technology teams and slow release cycles were driven by a focus on minimizing costs.
By 2016, that cost had dropped to $1,500/month. This 100x drop has lowered the barriers to entry, ushering in an age where anyone with an idea and the ability to write software can harness technology to solve not just business problems, but more broadly, human problems.
Software is becoming the competitive differentiator for companies that want to thrive and unlock shareholder value over the next decade. But the very first step a company must take in its journey to become software-first -- or at least competent in software -- is to be able to deploy that software to its users continuously, in the background. The best boardroom strategy becomes useless talk and no action without becoming world class at this first baby step. The leading software-first companies deploy software to their users multiple times per day, continuously in the background like running water. In contrast, the average low-performing large enterprise deploys software just once every other month, and each deployment is an 'all hands on deck' event fraught with the peril of breaking SLAs and customer trust with every deployment. The contrast between the best performers and the average performers is stark-- average high performing software-first company releases over 200x as often:
The rapid release cycles of these high performing companies provide 45x to 208x the learning opportunities of their competitors:
Companies today ship buggy software that causes downtime, breaks customer trust and breaks SLAs. Software deployments are scary for many companies. Their code velocity is painfully slow. They’re facing a new breed of software-first competitors that are playing by different rules and using software to wrestle the customer relationship away. They are having trouble staying (or becoming) compliant in a cloud-first world.
A company is now only as agile as its ability to get its code in front of customers. Gartner recommends companies evolve their software practices to optimize delivery, invest in automation and strive for increased agility.
How does this trend play out?
Over the next decade, we expect that a move to public and private clouds by the Global 2,000 will mean an abstraction of infrastructure from applications running on it (just like the creation of electricity became abstracted from our use of it 100 years ago with the invention of power grids). But the move to the cloud is just the first step — we expect to see a further abstraction of the data center from applications with technologies like Kubernetes, containerization, microservices, automation and serverless computing.
Virtual machines will commoditize the price of hardware and higher level value-add services will arise from cloud providers, like machine learning and artificial intelligence as a service. These services bundled into cloud infrastructure offerings will provide the value businesses will actually pay for. Machine learning will become commonplace and will serve as a thirsty beast to drive even more data collection demand.
A company’s ability to write, deploy and manage software will define its competitiveness not just against competitors in its industry, but also against the entry of software-first platforms playing by different rules.
Today: Armory is here to help, with Spinnaker, a best-in-class, open source, cloud-native continuous delivery and infrastructure management platform leveraging immutable infrastructure in the cloud, released by Netflix last year and supported by companies like Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Target, and Veritas. Armory works with customers to get an enterprise-grade version of Spinnaker running on-prem. We help fix software compliance issues, stop breaking SLAs and ruining the user experience through bad software deployments. In this new software-first world, an organization is only as agile as its ability to get code in front of users. Companies must make software a core competency to compete.
As a cloud-native continuous delivery and infrastructure management platform, Spinnaker represents a new class of cloud-native tooling that every company will need as it migrates its workloads from data centers into the cloud (whether public, private or hybrid). Spinnaker is an opinionated framework that enables companies to ship software continuously, and achieve global software delivery best practices.
Soon: Enterprise Operational Automation Intelligence & Compliance: Armory is building an intelligence and compliance layer into Spinnaker that integrates business, application and system level metrics & telemetry from leading providers to enable customers using Armory to canary (phase) deployments out to customers, and intelligently roll them back if metrics fail or compliance is at risk. We're evolving that platform into a sophisticated, self-optimizing & self-healing phased deployment & rollback decisioning platform, saving customers millions of dollars annually, keeping them compliant in their industry, and restoring their customer's trust.
Later: Although our initial focus is on Global 2,000 companies, our ultimate goal is to help humanity build better software; to provide tools, infrastructure & environments to help individuals & companies of all sizes, all over the world deliver software that meets customer needs, improves lives, and drives the Software Revolution.
Maxims We Live By:
We have three maxims we live by at Armory. You’ll hear us saying these around the office on a regular basis:
• “Why are we building this? Do we need to build this now?” It’s our goal to build technology that solves meaningful problems for our customers. We have an experimentation culture. We retrospect internally with our Tribe, and even externally with our customers. A key element of our culture is to constantly ask ourselves these two questions. It keeps us focused on delivering value to customers.
• “The Tribe is not built from 9 to 5.” A company’s culture is its operating system. As CEO, one of my four core responsibilities is to ensure the creation of a strong Tribe culture. We wrote an entire blog on this topic called “Work Somewhere Awesome!.”
• “One hour of talking to customers is worth 8 hours sitting in the office.” We strive to be in front of customers, listening, as often as we can. We put a premium on the learning we can get from customers, and we prioritize that time over being in the office. Our CPO Ben Mappen worked under Steve Blank, and one of his favorite sayings is “there are no facts inside the building.”