Value Open Source – Ep03 – David Ben Tolila, Vice Chairman of The Israeli IT Chamber

Hi everyone and welcome to value open
source our podcast about everything that’s related to open source, this is
our third episode and I’m very happy to welcome David Ben Tolila as my guest
for this episode, David is a veteran of the IDF intelligence unit and an IT
manager there, a former system engineer at Elbit working one of Elbit’s
largest project which was the digital army project for the IDF, Founder and
chairman of energy team which is a consultancy firm for large enterprises
and a vice-chairman of the Israeli IT chamber. I t’s a great having you
here so it’s a very long introduction can you just run us through what you’re
doing these days like can you talk about the Israeli IT chamber for example? yes
I would like to, first of all the Israeli IT chamber is a
non-profit organization it was founded 50 years ago
but actually we are in the last three years we are under a huge revolution and
a big momentum, we founded the more than 10 centers of excellence in the areas
of digital transformation, data innovation, ALM , Infrastructure and
cloud, Cyber security, Multimedia, Blockchain, Innovation of course,
Entrepreneurship and industry for all. We had involved more than 50 large
enterprises companies from all the sectors, Starting from banking, credit card,
insurance company, health care organizations, the homeland security organizations of course, Academy etc. and from this I know the all of the resources about the open source approach in large enterprises and actually for this podcast I made a
little research and talked with more than 15 CIOs who are members in these
related chambers and there are quite a few insights that I would like to share with
you about open source. We would love to. I just want to say about the Israeli IT
chamber that we are welcoming everybody to register to our chamber, the site if I
may is: we will add it in the comments and our Israeli viewers are more
than welcome to read the comments and and check out the website. Great and this
is the place to be if you want to be a self learner and want to invest in
your self improvement in the area of the IT professional. Awesome,
Ok so can you tell us a bit about energy team, your company or consultancy
firm and what you guys are doing there? So I found the energy
team in 2008 nowadays we are like 50 consultants, we are doing consultancy in
the areas of digital transformation, IT strategy for large enterprises, we are
doing a lot of a consultancy around disaster recovery and business
continuity plans, we are doing a lot of work around budget which is a huge interest in a large enterprises and this is also
related to our topic of open source, because we found out that a lot of
companies who consider or doing work with open source, going to the
open source approach because of the motivation of saving money
and not understanding all of the big picture, because I think
that open source is more than the way we do code is an approach, it’s a culture, it’s a way of also enrolling new employees we will talk
about that also and this is much more deeper and a broader issue than getting
some software without money. yeah yeah That is a good approach, because a lot
of people think that open source is just free software, free in the sense of
actually not like free of charge and that’s not the case and I’m happy to
hear that even people from like enterprise are understanding that. Can
you tell us a bit about the challenges that enterprise or government sector
companies encounter when they develop software and how open-source can help solve those challenges. Yeah first of all we need to distinguish between
two groups and this is very interesting and this is something I found out in the
research I did for this podcast, there is a difference between a large enterprises
and the army, and you would expect the army is also a very large enterprise
but it’s very unique with it’s age of developers the average age of developers,
because they’re fairly young? yeah and their openness and their approach to
open source and a lack of a need to obey some regulations because in the Army you
have like operational needs and nobody cares how you do the software, yeah very
convenient. And also you have like a burst of creativity there and young
people that are doing all the code and using a lot of open source, in the way I
didn’t think it was so broad it’s counterintuitive that they are users
open source definitely now let’s go back to the large enterprises large
enterprises have structure obstacles like all of the legacies, all
of the legacy systems You need backwards compatibility, of course
let’s take the banks for example, all of the banks will have a large big project
of replacing all the legacy a system in the coming 10 years that’s for sure,
I can say one bank is already there, but all the other big
banks will need to transform their systems. Migrating from mainframe
to new technologies, They brought to the end, the approach of all let’s
fix that, let’s made another patch, they are doing a lot of peripheral things in the digital marketing and the way you can do on boarding
for a bank, this is a lot of new development but the core is still legacy
and this is also for the final and for the insurance and the credit card and
also for the healthcare industry, so they have a big legacy, they can do a lot and all of the new development they are doing mostly they prefer to
do it in open source but there still need to maintain their legacy, so
actually what we see in the Israeli IT chamber that a CIOs of these large
enterprises sharing with us that the adoption rate of a open source
code to different with open source infrastructure and we’ll talk of that in
a minute is between 5% with the lowest
to 30% with the maximum. really? and that’s in enterprise, large
enterprises not in the Army, we will talk about the army in a second and this
is this tell us two things: one we are ahead of the early adopter stage of
open source, open source is a revolution that is here to stay, this is for sure
hands down. but, we are not advanced like in the US and
Europe the adoption rate there as for the last survey I saw that ‘to do group’
did and it’s it’s on github I can share with you in the audience the link,
they are talking about a much broader percent in large enterprise, of
course the small startups it’s much higher. now, the percentage is higher
also with Israeli larger enterprises when we are talking about the
infrastructure, when we are talking about database, when you are talking about
cloud platforms, when we are talking about web developing platforms, of course
operation system, I remember when I was the IT manager in the intelligence
course talking about moving towards Linux it was like so irresponsible to do
in a lot of a lot of ways and now I think, I’m not sure but I think there are
more Linux VMs than the microsoft I’m not sure about it but the ease of use, actually the responsible ways is working with Linux
operating system another vice versa you can say you can say that and also I
think that organizations the large enterprises understand like the huge
cost of not using open-source vs. the other cost for using
open source, way I think we are going there. Now in the infrastructure we
can see a lot of usage of open source, of course if it’s a
complementary software like a monitoring systems and system and tools that help
us maintain the system, we see a lot of open source there. but not in the core
infrastructure? We can see also in the core but this is more challenging, I
think that there are and as I mentioned before there are a lot of pioneers embracing open source infrastructure and
we can see that more in the Army. Yeah you said that you will go back to that
in a minute, so can you tell us a bit about the adoption rates in the army?
Yeah actually it’s amazing and also in the army, like in a very good enterprise
there are a lot of armies in the army like a lot of organizations and each
unit as its own organizational culture and you can see the differentials also
in the open-source adoption rate, but you can see in special units when the
operations needs are very demanding you can see there a lot of usage in open
source a programmers prefer to download their code to
and hence already, to start with existing code and not starting from scratch because there is an urgent need to
deal with the core business. so we can see there, especially in the
the small units and in the special units, so when you need to fix
something fast starting with open source is the right way to go instead of
tackling difficult problems from scratch, of course and to relate
that to my opening notes about the culture, this is their culture and we are
talking about the kids yeah I’m allowed to say that, like the age of 18 to 24,
they want a new stuff, they don’t want to develop in all the
clothes architecture and they want new things, I also was amazed like I’ve
talked like two days ago with one of the highest commanders in this special unit
and she said to me that one of the things that it’s important to her is to
contribute back to the open-source community and this is something that I
wouldn’t thought I would hear from somebody in the army with all of the confidential issues and secrecy that they will be willing to
contribute back. yeah and it’s you understand that it’s a cultural evolution and a
deep one. That’s awesome, and I think Israeli army is a bit different than
other armies which are professional armies in Israel the IDF has
a young but work force which is 18 to 21 ,right, and they get like kids that were
in high school yesterday and now they are in the army developing code and I
think that probably allows the IDF to be more flexible and and get
like new blood into the system all of the time. And I want to add to that…
you see youngsters that are oath to serve in the army with high motivation and
when you ask how come I get from a developer that is so young,
that it gets paid like six hundred shekels a month, like it says one hundred
and fifty dollars a month, yeah it’s crazy and he’s working,
cheap work the cheapest workforce and he’s working crazy hours and
weekends and stuff, because we got a lot of security challenges, it
motivates them to contribute and I think it’s not only the national security
challenges and all of this let’s say a patriotic motivation, but also the
intellectual and the professional challenges, and this you can’t
have to the fullest in a close code system Yeah, that’s very interesting. you spoke a bit
about the cultural differences the organizational cultural differences
between working in proprietary software or legacy vs. the open-source culture
can you can you tell us a bit more about that? Sure, there is age difference
between them and I think this is the high impact that open sources on
organization because it’s not only the way we do
code, it’s a different culture, a different things of doing
things, it’s different values and I’ll give you an example
there is a larger enterprise in Israel we decided to develop the new software
with the new standards like working with agile, working with their containers, new
architecture of server less and service management, all the new buzzword and you name it, all the top-of-the-line open source
infrastructure and open-source platforms, you name it. and they decided that for
that to work they need also new offices to separate the team that is going
to work on this new product and to give them a new workplace like, it was the shiniest startup in the Silicon Valley, with the new
kitchens and all of the goodies, seven types of yogurt… yeah, it’s amazing. now
what happened is, of course they succeeded with the product and they are
highly productive and all of the employees are very motivated, but there
is an island of innovation inside an enterprise which still thinking in the
old way, which still needs to maintain his legacy, legacy systems
and there was a like two classes of a place, and that that made a
lot of tension, So my tip for CIOs that want to think in the new way and in the
new approach to think about the integration, that we can do a lot of
things also in the legacy software areas in our organization in the new way, and I
think that when we are talking about open source we need to understand that
there is a broader impact, there is a cultural impact there is a process
impact, there is something that the organization would be changed because of entering open source and I don’t mean by going and taking one open source tool for a specific thing, but
changing the main architecture or changing the new
software architecture for open-source. So you say it goes deeper
into the organization it’s not just the code it’s the culture in it
goes everywhere probably from management to the last of the employees.
Yes and I think that it’s going to be for a large enterprises in Israel more
and more challenging to enroll employees in this new area, where employees want to
develop in all the open platforms they know yeah with the open platforms they
like, so I think that large enterprises in Israel need to consider these
platforms only because this is the way they can get to recruit new
employees, of course, We’ve actually spoken to a few HR managers and a lot of
them said that candidates they are interviewing for programming
positions actively ask if the company contributes to open source, if the
company uses open source, because it’s a part of things that are So the survey of ‘to do group’, this
year, they interviewed more than 2700 professionals
in many types of organizations starting from small startups to large enterprises
and a quarter of them said that they prefer to work in organizations that
contribute to the open source community. Yeah that’s definitely
something that we’ve heard several times that it’s important, and it’s
good, it makes us happy as open-source enthusiasts, that people
are taking it seriously So from your work with you know
enterprise and the army what advice can you give to future leaders of the IT
world? Regarding office or open source? Yeah regarding open source
regarding how to implement ,you know this pretty new
approach in their day-to-day work I think the key word in your
question was ‘leadership’, because when you want to lead you have to
innovate and when you see the open source approach, when you see the
democratization of code when you say that we are talking about building and
contributing to communities, when you say that there is a profound understanding
that when you work together to achieve big goals you can get more, I think that
all of these approaches is changing the way we do code, it changes a lot of
things, other things, but specific the way we do code so IT leaders have to think
in adopting open source approaches, have to think about new technologies
that they can bring fast to the organization and I think there is
something else there, something we couldn’t say like five years
ago, open source products are better than closed ones in any field, in the AI, in the
cloud platform, in the operation systems, in web developing platforms, of course search engines and databases, big data, you can see that it’s
not only the budget issues, it’s not only the ideal culture of communities. she
has real value. It actually has real value and I think
that five years from now it won’t be even a question, right now it’s not a
real question because it’s the default choice for starting a new project for of
course all of the startups but also for a large enterprises when
they are not dealing with their core software and maybe in the
future also their core software will be partially or fully open source. All the
old legacy will eventually become open source, hopefully, I really hope so.
Soon probably, Yeah Sooner than later, and just to finish up,
David, we always ask our guests in what ways they keep learning and
improving themselves, we ask because we want our audience to know as well and
maybe benefit, so what do you do and how do you improve yourself? Well I am a
fan of Udemy, I take courses there and I have a great experience to share like I had a two hours trip, four weeks
ago and so I stopped in a gas station, I logged into my
Udemy account and I’ve searched for a course and I found there a great course,
I would like to recommend it: ‘How to become a super learner’, which it’s
a course to all the courses like this is something that touch me, and I’ve started
in a very enthusiastic way to learn everyday new things because of the
technology, the demonstrator and it’s all about
expanding your memory capacities and speeding up your reading, because this is
the gateway to your learning and to all of the knowledge you’re
observing, so I recommend that. to learn how to learn.
Yeah to learn how to learn. Okay David, thank you very much it was a pleasure having you. Thank you very much
for your time and thanks for watching and we’ll be back when our fourth
episode very soon

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