How Cloud Native is Making Room for Greater Collaboration

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The shift to cloud-native architecture is under way, and organizations opting in early are already registering significant, tangible business gains.

In Cloud Native Comes of Age, we found a clear imbalance between organizations building 20% or more of their new applications in a cloud-native environment, and those that were not. The “cloud leaders,” as we referred to them, are consistently developing and deploying apps faster and easier than the “laggards,” as well as enabling improvements to customer experience, innovation, and workforce mobility.

What caught my eye however, was the shift in mindset among cloud leaders towards open collaboration and partnerships—a trend facilitated by their cloud-native approach.

The collaboration stigma

In enterprise IT, it’s not uncommon for executives and developers to be cagey about their work, particularly in areas of innovation. Collaboration is rarely on the agenda, leaving the IT community to learn from their own mistakes rather than driving holistic growth and innovation. Collaboration, by nature, is a key part of the cloud-native mindset. Deployment is no longer restricted to monolithic architecture, allowing for agile updates that never debilitate business-wide network use. Likewise, onboarding partners and exposing enterprise data through APIs to create new channels and routes to market becomes simplified.

At the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Executive Director Abby Kearns reinforced the trend to move away from a siloed mentality:

“A couple of years ago, everyone would be very secretive, saying ‘Don’t tell anyone what we’re doing.” Now I’ve seen the pendulum shift the other way where people are open and willing to discuss what they’re doing and the lessons learnt—essentially what worked for them, and what didn’t.”

What’s happening in Fintech?

One sector embracing this shift with open arms is Financial Services, a surprise when we consider how banks are traditionally known for a conservative approach to building and owning business technology.

At Citibank in the US, the IT team has focused on creating external APIs as part of their cloud-native development. This has not only allowed for greater customer engagement, but also enabled a greater focus on building external partnerships. Open banking product manager Vincent Vainius says:

“We will press harder to drive more partnerships with our APIs—to be more open, improve access, and cover more areas of our bank with them. This will help us build a lot more of our business around strategic partnerships and integration.”

This ties neatly into the competitive collaboration in fintech—something Abby Kearns believes may be having a severe impact on laggard banks:

“There are nearly 2,000 fintech startups that do not want to compete directly with these large banks, but are wanting to take a little piece of the business away at a time. Eventually you’ll wake up one day, and all of your customers are gone and your business has been taken by 100 different smaller companies that are doing better software integration, iterating faster, and working to more easily meet your customer’s demands.”

To achieve this, fintech companies are looking to collaborate to overcome shared challenges, such as achieving scalability and gaining customer confidence. For example, between 2010 and 2015, investment in collaborative fintech ventures in New York City doubled from 37% to 83%—causing some to refer to it as a “golden age of fintech.”

Follow the cloud leader

At Royal Mail, partner collaboration is a welcome and agile part of daily work. Since adopting cloud-native app development, IT portfolio director Alex Lorke says:

“The traditional approach has been if you want to do something on the Royal Mail estate, we’ll give you a laptop and access to the environment you needed to be in. However, with our entirely cloud-based digital apps capability, we can now onboard partners remotely within a day.” It’s clear that cloud leaders are becoming increasingly open to collaboration with partners to achieve greater agility, scalability, and revenue.

The future of cloud-native app development rests on collaboration, as does the future of your business’ ability to grow, adapt, and deliver.

To learn more about cloud native and how it’s helping IT leaders focus on collaborative partnerships, download the full cloud-native research report.

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