The annual SpringOne event, held in D.C. a few weeks back, was full of exciting, detailed, and compelling stories of enterprise transformation. This wasn’t a show about open source disrupting a proprietary technology stack — it was a celebration of how open source and new ways of building software are helping large, global enterprises transform into software powerhouses.

We’ve summarized the key takeaways from the analyst team we had on site, including Jeffrey Hammond, Charlie Kun Dai, James Staten, and myself. Here’s what we’ll remember:

  • Customer outcomes are paramount and stole the show. As we’ve been saying for years around Forrester to any vendor who will listen, “Let your customers tell your story.” With so much technology, platform, and open source disruption underway, enterprises need to know what a new technology will do for their business and for their customers — even more than they need to know its technical details. I was honored to help Boeing tell the story of its Digital Transformation Environment and was very impressed by the U.S. Air Force team, which shared how it uses Cloud Foundry to “make ship happen.”
  • Digital application platforms are what companies will use to transform their existing apps — and create new value ecosystems in the process. In today’s hypercompetitive climate, companies must recognize that the real value of public cloud, cloud-native dev tools, and PaaS is that, together, they form the foundation for modernizing existing, legacy applications — the new enterprise digital platform. Every company must decide whether to build its own, rent and let someone else run one, or join a platform community, but whichever, you have to “Earn Your Place In The Platform Economy.”
  • Pivotal is committed to offering the right developer abstraction for each job. Rather than throw out the continuous delivery components of Cloud Foundry in favor of Kubernetes, Pivotal Container Service (PKS) offers a different degree of abstraction. In Pivotal’s view, devs want the freedom to push code to a platform, push containers to a platform, or — up and coming — push some functions instead. There was a strong element of preparing the way for event-driven programming, especially in the terrific keynote from Neha Narkhede of Confluent. Also, check out the Forrester report, “Demystifying Serverless Computing.”
  • Cloud-native technologies bring strategic benefits and transformational impact. Cloud-native technologies empower companies to build and run highly scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments anywhere: public, private, and hybrid clouds. Companies from all industries shared stories of speed, performance, and especially agility (fail fast; fail often). DBS, Merrill, and Wells Fargo are accelerating the adoption of containers, microservices, and declarative APIs to replace VM-based infrastructure and traditional development approaches. They are also transforming how they approach security.
  • The new Pivotal Cloud Foundry strategy marries BOSH with multiple abstractions. Cloud Foundry was hot five years ago, with support from all major vendors such as IBM, SAP, and Pivotal. External disruptions in container management and the rise of Kubernetes and serverless demanded that Pivotal respond. We are happy to see the new strategy centered on the BOSH hybrid infrastructure management layer to automate the provisioning and management of heterogeneous infrastructure resources, layered with different abstractions for different needs, all combined with a strong developer experience. To understand how all of these components come together in a modern PaaS platform, see the Forrester report, “The Three Faces Of Platform-As-A-Service.”
  • The future of cloud-native will focus on two areas of innovation at the same time. The first focus is on accelerating the adoption of cutting-edge open source technologies, such as Knative for function-as-a-service and Spinnaker for continuous integration and delivery. The second is about the evolution of traditional technology stacks, such as the Reactive support in different layers, including frameworks like Spring MVC, as well as database layers with the latest announcement of R2DBC.

Finally, for a solid summary of the key announcements, see this recap.