The use of cloud technologies, especially when combined with DevOps techniques, is transforming the static business applications of today into the living, breathing digital experience of tomorrow. Every company in every industry is turning into a software company. This means that software delivery speed and trust represent the new scoreboard of digital competition. What exactly should forward-thinking businesses anticipate from developing software in the cloud?
1The cloud allows organizations and enterprises to scale.
Though there are many reasons why a developer might decide to build applications in the cloud, the main value proposition is that the cloud provides endless prebuilt services, an inexpensive platform, and a pipeline of new capabilities at a scale not available in the on-premises world.
Unlike with traditional platforms, there’s no need to manage infrastructure for computing, data, network or security, and no need to invest in generic system administration that adds no value for the organization. Those activities can easily consume the time of your most highly-skilled employees. Cloud alternatives provide greater availability and scalability at a far lower cost.
2Finally put a spotlight on your bottom line.
Companies who adopt the cloud do so because they don’t want to manage servers, networking infrastructure, security, and countless other aspects of application development that don’t differentiate their business. When an enterprise takes an interest in automating their workflow or storing data, they have no interest in provisioning servers or containers, let alone implementing ongoing monitoring, data backup, failover redundancy, and so forth. What they’re interested in is business value.
What the cloud delivers is the opportunity to create and deploy business value with the minimum necessary overhead. In exchange for a relatively modest subscription price, cloud platforms like Salesforce, Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure take care of almost every aspect of the infrastructure needed to run applications.
3Benefit from a large, fast-growing, and passionate developer community.
One powerful benefit that emerges from freeing companies to focus on business value is that developers get much more engaged. The easier it is for developers to deliver valuable features to end-users, the more readily they can receive feedback on their work. This enhanced collaboration is energizing and fulfilling for everyone.
Making IT less obscure also draws “accidental admins” in from the business world. Simplifying IT means democratizing IT. And the more people become engaged in learning and creating on cloud platforms, the more opportunities for collaboration emerge. The rapid growth of cloud platforms has been accompanied by the growth of accessible and supportive communities. The most dramatic example of this is Salesforce’s free learning platform, Trailhead, which enables rapid onboarding and gamified skill development. This, in turn, has led to an energized and passionate community of developers and admins.
4Move with the speed and agility of digital transformation.
The DevOps community points to the adoption of cloud technology as a key enabler of speed and agility. DevOps focuses on increasing the quality and velocity of software delivery by cultivating trust and collaboration, aided by automation. Especially when deploying to the cloud, this allows business apps to be developed and updated at a pace never seen before. Modern Agile development teams can deliver the first live instance of an app in days. What’s more interesting is that by automating deployment and testing, those apps can continue to grow, adapt, and evolve over time as new innovations and changes are released. This keeps them current and compelling, fulfilling the promise of providing dynamic digital experiences to their users.
5Deliver on quality and trust.
IT applications are complex and depend on many layers of infrastructure. Being able to create and maintain that infrastructure does not imply that your team has the skills to secure it or ensure it’s robust and highly-available. Infrastructure security is a massive risk for organizations, and monitoring production systems requires a degree of vigilance that most organizations aren’t fully prepared for. By delegating infrastructure management to cloud providers, more of your team’s energy can go into building and ensuring the quality of your applications.
Moving to the cloud requires investment, but it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Identify areas that require ongoing IT infrastructure investment but are not returning business value. Prioritize those areas for migrating to the cloud, while establishing a strategy for migrating future areas as the need arises. The options available today are robust and varied, making it easier than ever to make the switch.