How Do Cloud Leaders Become Best-of-Breed?

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What does best-of-breed look like, and how do I get there? To answer that question, we’ve got to delve a little deeper. We’re talking the processes, the culture, and the tech.

In Cloud Native Comes of Age, we explored the current state of cloud-native app development, based on the responses of 902 global executives. The survey helped us paint a clear picture of how organizations are adapting to the cloud-native shift.

To provide further clarity, we separated organizations into two groups—leaders and laggards. Cloud leaders are defined as those developing 20% or more of their apps natively in the cloud—a group also reporting significant business-wide benefits.

It’s a striking report, and one which makes a compelling case for a cloud-native strategy.

To build or not to build

There are two clear routes you can take to adopting cloud-native development: build the infrastructure from scratch using in-house tools, or collaborate with an open-source PaaS provider, such as Cloud Foundry.

Either way, the goal is to create a cloud-native strategy that your teams and the board can rally behind – but this is easier said than done.

70% of survey respondents say cloud native is a significant “skills” (70%), “cultural” (65%) and “cost” (61%) challenge. Financially, much of the challenge comes from convincing business leaders that cloud native will turn IT into a revenue generator, rather than a cost center. And when “reducing IT costs” is the number-one IT priority for business respondents’ for the next 1–2 years, it’s not hard to see why.

By taking the PaaS route, you attain the agility, flexibility, and scalability of a cloud-native infrastructure without investing significant resources and finances on a potentially rejected project. This is an approach cloud leaders have taken in their stride, with 67% reportedly using PaaS as a testing infrastructure.

Lead by example

Making a convincing business case for cloud native requires CIOs to take bold steps, including:

  • Demonstrating a cloud roadmap that can deliver growth
  • Identifying risk-free priorities for cloud-native development
  • Moving existing developers towards a new cloud-native culture
  • Introducing DevOps as the essential enabler for cloud native
  • Fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration and testing

Take a leaf from the leaders

One of today’s iconic trailblazers in cloud-native disruption, Uber, drives innovation by fostering a culture of constant excitement and motivation around cloud native. And having built the business as a mobile-first company, this cloud-native culture is critical to the agile deployment of new customer features.

But like any other business, attracting and building the brightest cloud-native talent remains a challenge. Uber’s Engineering Manager Charles-Axel Dein believes their own success stems from “articulating the impact the company has” due to cloud-native development, as well as helping developers realize the opportunities cloud native offers to improve their skills.

But it’s Netflix—probably the most recognizable cloud-native business operating today—whose transformation has inspired many analogue companies to follow suit.

Launched in 1998, at a time when only 800,000 DVD players had been sold, its innovative, online pay-per-rent model set an early benchmark for today’s rental standard.

Turning down a $50 billion acquisition offer from Blockbuster in 2000 before outliving all major bricks-and-mortar competition, Netflix has since transformed into a wildly successful global cloud-native service. Sparked by its move to content streaming in 2007, the business moved its entire front end to AWS in 2010, before moving all remaining processes—including the back end—to the cloud by the end of 2011.

Best-of-breed advice

Former Netflix Cloud Architect, and acting VP of Cloud Architecture at AWS, Adrian Cockcroft, led this change. And when asked why other traditionally analogue enterprises look up to Netflix’ model for change, he says:

“We were shipping physical inventory around, and that was the problem Netflix faced in the first five to ten years of its life. We then began to connect directly to customers as they stream, and now we are continuously connected […] And that transition from physical to digital is something many enterprises are struggling with right now.”

As for making that transition and achieving continuous connection with customers, Adrian offers BMW as a prime example of a business getting this right. Traditionally, once a vehicle was sold, there was no way to retrieve valuable data from the customer again. To resolve this, BMW introduced CARASSO (car-as-a-sensor), powered by a cloud-native AWS solution:

“Their latest cars—the 7-series in particular—are driving continuously connected to BMW. They’re reporting on traffic conditions, roadworks, and what’s going in the car. So they’re seeing the customer use the car, and they’re able to aggregate this information to find out a lot more about how people drive, and give customers a much more high-quality experience.”

Making the move

This is just one example of how an analogue business can adopt cloud-native development. But as Adrian explains in our latest Cloud Choice Podcast, customers increasingly want to shut down their data centers due to digital disruption, and that’s where Capgemini and AWS can help: “as more customers do this, it becomes a repeated model, and our partner network is building up expertise in doing this over and over again.”

Explore the current trends in cloud-native development, and begin building your roadmap to a faster, more flexible future with Cloud Native Comes of Age.

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