Many businesses are hitting a wall when it comes to delivering value and innovation from their cloud strategy. That’s because they have mainly focused on application migration – moving old apps and functionality onto a cloud platform. While this model was effective for a while, being in the cloud now carries much more importance to Australian organisations.
Winners in the new economy will be those who have unlocked the benefits of cloud – higher agility, speed to innovation and lower IT costs. The journey to cloud, however, requires careful navigation and commitment and for many Australian organisations, unlocking the next level of cloud benefits requires a different approach.
Accenture’s research found nearly two thirds of companies report they have not achieved expected cloud benefits. Australian organisations should adopt a new “cloud-native” mindset – reorganising people, processes and workflows, and creating applications with the cloud specifically in mind.
Adopting the cloud-native mindset
Cloud-native is not just substituting one technology for another, nor is it simply a different programming model. Organisations need to chain together the various technologies, processes and services of cloud-native to produce an outcome that has actual business value.
Only 35 percent of companies report they have fully achieved their expected outcomes across the four categories of cost, speed, business enablement and service levels. Organisations need to look at a cloud-native approach to better achieve outcomes.
Cloud-native is much more than just a new set of technology capabilities and services. It changes the entire lifecycle of how requirements are collaboratively incepted, coded, tested and deployed.
Mercedes-Benz are using the cloud to reimagine digital marketing and sales. Working with Accenture and Amazon Web Services, the company consolidated and transformed a fragmented and unresponsive online presence, replacing it with an integrated, cloud-based solution. Using the cloud and cloud-native development processes, the automated processes were refined and within four months, the new solution was deployed to 18 countries.
The essentials of cloud-native
Cloud-native is comprised of the following essential technologies, people and process models:
- Microservices – By structuring applications as a collection of loosely coupled independent services, microservices strengthen continuous delivery and deployment.
- Agile development – Agile practices are all about collaboratively developing products and services, creating super-nimble organisations that can innovate quickly.
- DevOps – DevOps practices focus on automating the end to delivery of software through processes and tools as well as moving to a single team approach across development and operations.
- Cloud – Deployed on cloud platforms that allow elasticity and scalability both vertically and horizontally.
Cloud-native organisations have fewer issues staying competitive, while cloud-migrant organisations will likely still battle technical debt, rigid processes, excessive cost and lack of innovation. Cloud native is the future of application development, with massive potential for business impact – the ability to move an idea into production quickly and efficiently.
How to “think and do” cloud native
Accenture believes organisations should do the following to deepen their own maturity in cloud-native development:
- Create an organisation that is more service-oriented – Organise your teams around specific services or capabilities rather than ‘systems’. This change needs to be carefully managed to avoid resistance.
- Provide access to all the tools and automation your developers need – Empower your developers so they can focus on building out new capabilities and proactively enable continuous learning programs.
- Use architectures that are modern and up to date, not old architecture patterns – Cloud native means using new designs and patterns such as microservices or an event-driven architecture.
- Rearchitect your organisation – The organisation needs to rearchitect so it can react and think in a way that takes advantage of a cloud-native architecture.
- Enjoy the cloud-native journey – IT leadership should emphasise that there is an element of fun when moving towards cloud-native development, encouraging collaboration and bold ideas through experiences like hackathons.
It is important to move quickly with cloud-native to remain competitive. Seek out the support you need and begin developing skills and gaining experience, because cloud-native is the future of application development with massive potential for business impact.
Harshu Deshpande is Accenture Australia's emerging technology lead.