Jason Tice, MBA, leads the Business Innovation practice with WWT’s Application Services group and specializes in the use of collaborative frameworks and serious games to help organizations discover measurable business outcomes, generate data to build consensus, measure progress and return on investment towards goals, and foster a culture supportive of greater learning. Jason has led multi-team agile transformation efforts in both the private and public sectors, and as a Six Sigma Black Belt pioneered practices by which agile transformation can be aligned with Six Sigma, Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Management (BPM) activities.

Q&A with Jason Tice

Tell us about your background and how you got into technology.
I seem to have been involved with technology throughout my entire life, going back to learning how to program in Basic on a Commodore 64 as a kid, since I thought the games I bought at the “software store in the mall” (remember that?) were boring. Getting involved with software development as a career track in the 1990s, mentors quickly guided me to business school based on the belief that the future of software development would entirely “off-shore”. Applying lessons learned in business school and then spending a bit of time on the dark side, otherwise known as “management”, I came to realize and appreciate that technology and code are only parts of the digital business equation. Even before joining WWT I was involved in multiple IT projects that failed because there was too much focus on technology and not enough focus on ensuring the awesome technology was well-aligned to business outcomes that would result in business impact.
What innovation is happening in your technology focus area?
In the application development space, there is a new focus to ensure development efforts are linked to, and driven by, business initiatives benefiting end users. This requires application owners to work in close collaboration with the business, and ideally with end users, to determine the features that will maximize the business impact of new software created. Product owners and product managers are holding focus groups and ideation sessions with mixed audiences to discover these features with greater frequency. An effective focus group contains not only current users, but also possible future users (and maybe even prior users) working together, as the ideas generated by such a group typically provide the greatest business impact. We are also seeing new collaborative techniques emerge to better prioritize development investments by looking across an organization’s entire application portfolio, and prioritizing work by business impact rather than segmenting the portfolio into allocations for each individual business unit. Collaborative prioritization techniques are resulting in the creation of more cross-domain digital business strategies, rather than building an app for a specific segment of our product, and organizations are finding ways to build apps that drive growth across their entire product line.
Describe a recent interaction with a customer that led to solving a problem.
In late 2015, we began building a new application for a partner that was to consume data provided by the Cisco Data Virtualization Platform. During application development, we observed that our partner was making critical design decisions on how the Cisco platform could transform data without testing that the platform would be able to integrate with the code being developed. Working with our partner, we created a governance process that allowed the development team to create APIs, conformance tests and mock services for development, but we were able to then use these same artifacts to confirm proper configuration of the data virtualization platform in an automated manner. This API governance strategy has allowed our partner to leverage the flexibility of the Cisco platform to make dynamic schema and data changes on-the-fly, and still have assurances that on-the-fly changes will not break the web applications being developed by WWT.