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The business case for cloud native

October 1, 2020

As well as this, the cloud is a critical accelerator for wider enterprise digital transformation, and can even open new revenue streams, by enabling new business services and outcomes.

Cloud native is a key term in the IT cloud stratosphere. By cloud native, we mean business functionality that is built in the cloud. Cloud-native apps enable companies to rapidly innovate and scale new products, achieving levels of velocity and flexibility that are unattainable with legacy systems.

Such an infrastructure will have come in very handy for businesses during the beginning of the pandemic. With 90% of people using office applications at home, the ability to scale in an agile manner and adjust to new volumes meant that businesses with cloud-native apps could weather the storm better than counterparts without. It’s no surprise then that cloud budgets are getting bigger, even increasing during the pandemic, as it is seen as essential to an organisation’s long-term sustainability and profitability.

Becoming a digital enterprise

Adopting cloud native applications is essential to becoming an agile, digital enterprise. The transformation is not an overnight process; it takes time, strategy and thought. Businesses are in a constant state of motion; they can’t switch off their legacy applications and then create cloud native ones. Transformation must be done symbiotically – but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to cloud native adoption.

To take full advantage of the possibilities of cloud native and become a truly digital business, it’s important to have the right strategy in place. This means finding solutions to the difficulties of integrating with legacy infrastructure and investments, addressing cybersecurity and data protection concerns, and managing the cultural challenges that come with shifting from a traditional development environment to one of continuous delivery.

Application modernization

Application modernization can take many different forms. For example, the lift and shift approach copy and pastes application workloads to run as-is in the cloud. There’s also cloud-enabled virtual automation, which enables redeployment with an orchestration platform while preparing the organization for a DevOps practice. Post-modernization, cloud native applications must be viewed as being in a constant state of flux; businesses will want to change and add application in real time to the cloud, meaning elasticity is a must.

Skills and culture

The shift to cloud native is more than just a technical transition; it’s a complete culture change. And people, by nature, resist change if the value isn’t immediately clear or the transition isn’t seamless. Successful cloud native strategies are underpinned by a culture of flexibility and innovation. To create that, you must have everyone on board. To fully unlock the power of cloud native, CIOs and other senior business leaders need to ensure everyone is on the same team.

Developing cloud-native applications also requires a team with strong knowledge of cloud native solutions. Skilled app developers are in demand, outpacing supply in some regions. Organizations should recruit architects to guide development decisions, upskill their existing teams and partner with knowledgeable suppliers who can help to alter established cultures.

DevOps alignment

An agile and DevOps approach as part of a cloud native strategy can help all stakeholders to stay aligned to one mission and work continuously to achieve it. Cloud progression simply cannot be siloed to the IT team: it must be aligned to big picture business goals.

“Improving the customer experience” and “improving business scalability” – these are the kinds of goals that everyone in the C-suite can understand. Aligning these goals as benefits in the cloud native and DevOps strategy can go a long way in successfully driving a smooth cultural transition.

A shift to DevOps also eliminates much of this frustration through close collaboration between business and IT. Ops and Dev teams share discussions, share system access on-demand, and work together to automate the release of new applications. It’s an altogether more agile, collaborative and entrepreneurial model which can go a long way to drive innovation and positive change. With a cloud native DevOps model, changes and updates are constant and iterative, promoting a culture of seamless and continuous improvement.

A worthwhile journey

Capgemini’s cloud native services help digital enterprises quickly innovate, experiment and scale to market demands. We work with leading solution providers, including both public (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google, etc.) and open source products (Red Hat etc.).

In one example, we helped the UK Home Office with its cloud transformation, as its existing hosting platform lacked the scalability and stability necessary to support its ambitious transformation agenda. Capgemini provided a team of experts to manage the migration from the client’s previous supplier to the AWS platform, and a second team which was responsible for maintaining business continuity. We worked collaboratively with the Home Office Immigration Technology team to ensure that the migration opportunity delivered innovations that provide greater reliability and ability to scale, earlier integration testing and more efficient use of the AWS cloud resources, whilst at the same time providing a support team to maintain business as usual.

The redesigned and simplified infrastructure has improved the stability and resilience of the Home Office’s cloud environment, enhanced reliability of deployment and improved the security of the production service. It has also increased the ability to scale and to optimize infrastructure costs. This has resulted in more efficient and better protected digital services, ready and available for operational business and live services.

Becoming a cloud native company calls for a complete transformation in the way you innovate, develop, deliver, change, and collaborate on new software capabilities. That’s why Capgemini is the ideal partner for cloud native strategies: we are a leader in cloud transformation, helping enterprises around the world design and implement a cloud-first way of working