IT leaders continue to face challenges with their traditional enterprise applications, and this has been exaggerated by the increase in digital initiatives they’re undertaking. Varying from system integration, master database management through to backup software, these applications are critical to the operation of any business. However, these legacy applications often take longer to build, with improvements large and infrequent. Coupled with an increasing move to the public cloud and hybrid cloud environments, their migration and scaling across such new infrastructure is proving just another stumbling block for IT leaders seeking to complete digital initiatives.
The adoption of cloud, and more specifically cloud-native platforms, will help to address these concerns. Cloud-native platforms enable organisations to accelerate and enhance the adoption of cloud computing (and deliver on digital initiatives) within their business. Gartner predicts that by 2025, cloud-native platforms will serve as the foundation for more than 95% of new digital initiatives — up from less than 40% in 2021.
With the adoption of cloud computing only set to rise in 2022, integrating cloud-native platforms is crucial now more than ever and will provide the primary means for companies to execute their digital strategies and ensure business growth, customer retention and efficiency.
Fast-track and standardise solutions
Cloud-native platforms provide abilities that fast-track the use of cloud computing. They include technology functions such as container management, infrastructure as code, continuous integration, and delivery (CI/CD), service mesh and serverless functions – which can be sourced from public cloud services or software. They also provide capabilities in, and connections to, application architecture, infrastructure, and operations (I&O) as well as transformation, including culture, staffing, tools, and processes.
What’s more, is the ability of cloud-native platforms to deliver standardised, automated solutions, distinguishing it from many on-premises environments, which tend to feature repetitive manual tasks not found in cloud environments.
Stay relevant – and competitive
As industries face increased competitiveness – due to factors such as globalisation and changing consumer tastes – cloud-native platforms will only continue to grow. Why? Because they offer IT leaders and companies a key differentiator. They address legacy application backlogs and make the most of cloud computing to enable innovation and IT modernisation. They allow organisations to remain relevant and competitive. Staying relevant is also key to engaging stakeholders, which, in turn, is important in facilitating greater collaboration to improve value in digitisation initiatives.
Moreover, cloud-native platforms can enable organisations to reduce barriers to new markets. This can be achieved by democratising IT through cloud providers and innovative services which can be delivered at hyperscale.
Beyond their practical features, cloud-native platforms offer many benefits to an organisation. Fundamentally, they can deliver faster time to value by utilising the core capabilities of cloud computing, including elasticity, scalability, metering, and self-service. In addition, the cloud-native platforms can increase productivity through the adoption of DevOps practices, while improving efficiency across an enterprise.
Separately, cloud-native platforms can facilitate environments in which development teams create, deploy, and operate applications using cloud computing. These managed features help shift IT resources toward value-adding outcomes by reducing the infrastructure burden.
Business implications and responsibilities
There are several business-wide implications and responsibilities which must be acknowledged by IT leaders prior to the adoption of cloud-native platforms.
Notable use cases include the rearchitecting of the system, whereby apps are materially altered to cloud-optimised architecture and the rebuilding process, where an all-new code may be initiated.
Similarly, IT teams across organisations must retain responsibility for a variety of functions despite the adoption of cloud-native platforms. These include strategy development and maintenance, procurement and vendor management, architecture governance and security as well as compliance.
Adopting cloud-native platforms
For businesses that adopt cloud-native platforms, several actions must be undertaken.
First, cloud-native platforms should become the default for new application development and digital initiatives. IT leaders should also look to minimise basic lift-and-shift migrations that do not take full advantage of cloud attributes. Supporting modern application architectural principles by fostering an infrastructure environment in which self-service, automation, observability, and financial transparency are the norms, should also be taken into consideration.
Consider creating a dedicated platform team that automates, secures, and operates a reliable platform for agile application development and delivery. Seeking to develop practices and a culture that increases automation through standardised operational patterns is also important. Tied to this, organisations can consider forming organisational structures, such as DevOps and IT teams that have the primary goal of enhancing the usability of cloud-native platforms and ensuring they are in tune with business outcomes and service delivery.
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