What is cloud native?
Cloud native development is based on an agile operating model, applying the BDD application development process (behavior-driven development). The building blocks use a microservice model, utilizing a serverless platform and the DevOps operating model. Learn more about the pillars of cloud-based applications.
Why is cloud native trending right now?
The rush of global market leaders into the cloud continues. Over the past couple of years, many companies and public administration actors in Finland and around the world have moved their on-premises operations to the cloud and created completely new applications as cloud native solutions.
This is not a passing fad. According to Forrester’s forecast, the public cloud market will grow by 35% in 2021. At the same time, the demand for cloud native technology will increase significantly as companies modernize their systems.
The development is reinforced by the aftermath of the pandemic and the large cyclical movements that are shaking the world, as the benefits of the public cloud directly address the challenges posed by disruption.
Turning points in the economy and the operating environment also raise completely new needs. Cloud solutions for these situations can often be found ready-made, or at least their development is fast compared to traditional application development.
Who decides on cloud native development – IT or business?
Transition to the cloud requires a determined coordination of IT and business. It is worth striving to get rid of a purely IT-driven mindset and always bring a business perspective to each phase from planning to decision-making.
Naturally, IT architects have the best understanding of the technical implementation of a cloud solution. The downside, however, is that deep expertise in technology does not necessarily include an overall picture of the relationships between the various functions of an organization.
Due to legacy systems, IT may also be tied to a particular technology, which is why solutions outside of it are easily overlooked.
“Business impact first -thinking is heavily supported by the fact that the technology of today virtually has no limits. Anything that can be dreamt, can be done.”
The business perspective must be emphasized, especially in the development of systems that are built from the ground up. In such cases, the solution must be adapted to the organization’s background processes, which often utilize existing information systems.
At the same time, the solution must be evaluated from the point of view of the end user and the customer experience. The tech behind cannot dictate these situations, as it easily limits thinking to the most obvious alternatives. Instead, moving existing services to the cloud doesn’t always require a lot of business attention. It is often enough to get the same systems running as before, but with added cloud benefits.
Although cloud development requires both IT and business insights, business impact first -thinking is heavily supported by the fact that the technology of today virtually has no limits. Anything that can be dream, can be done.
The key is to get answers to what you want to achieve and how the business will develop. This ensures that the technological implementation – whether it is cloud native or some kind of a hybrid solution – supports the strategic goals of the organization.
“The speed of cloud solutions is the most significant driver of cloud development. Speed and flexibility open up new opportunities for optimization and growth.”
3 key business benefits of cloud native development
The speed made possible by cloud solutions is the most significant driver of cloud native development. In addition, the development of cloud-based applications is supported by cost-efficiency and the opportunity to differentiate oneself from competitors through customer experience.
Speed and flexibility
Setting up cloud native services is fast, as the cloud has ready-made solutions and architecture as the basis for new systems. Cloud development methods – DevOps and agile – also guide cloud projects forward at a fast pace and resolve bottlenecks in a short time.
In addition to development, the cloud enables rapid movements in business. The public cloud offers virtually unlimited capacity that flexibly adapts to service usage peaks. It is the flexibility of the cloud that enables rapid responses to cyclical and strategic changes.
Cloud transformation frees up costs associated with fixed resources. Maintenance needs and physical demands shrink as capacity is transferred to the cloud. Competition from large cloud platform providers also pushes down the cost of cloud services.
In the case of cloud native, the fact that the entire solution is designed for the cloud from the beginning increases efficiency, because it makes the applications inherently compatible with the infrastructure. In the absence of extra system coordination, solution management and development become easier and money is saved. In addition, the flexibility of the cloud allows for inexpensive experiments, such as testing different offerings in the market.
While cloud transformation is a significant internal effort for an organization, end users of the cloud application must not be forgotten. Cloud-specific end-to-end development ensures that the solution connects for example an ERP system with the front end of an e-commerce store in one seamless service.
The bridge between the background processes and the smooth user and customer experience is built by means of service design. At its best, cloud native applications enable extremely fast response times, reinforcing user satisfaction and trust in the service provider.
How to succeed with cloud native and cloud transformation?
Cloud transformation is always about more than just IT and application development. When a company has, for example, a 30-year background in traditional IT projects and application development, the transition to cloud does not happen overnight. Here are a few important things to consider.
Comprehensive change: When you move to the cloud, commit to the transition. This means challenging IT and business models, which in turn directly affects people’s ways of working. The habits learned over a long period of time do not change in an instant. Hence, the change must be approached with determination and acceptance of the fact that it will take at least months if not years to implement.
The ways of the cloud: Cloud native development requires the adoption of cloud native operating models. DevOps, agile, and end-to-end development should replace traditional development to get the most out of the cloud.
Business continuity: When data is transferred to the cloud, some of the control is lost. It’s important to ensure business continuity in the event of a disruption – what if wide area network connections are down and all data is thousands of kilometers away?
Business case scalability: You will not run out of cloud capacity, but do you understand how scale affects costs? The business decision maker must evaluate different scenarios and be prepared to avoid an uncontrollable increase in costs. For instance, what if the volume of users increases from 10,000 to a million?
Expertise and resources: The benefits of cloud native development are best achieved when the team has proven experience in overcoming cloud-specific challenges. The same applies to internal resources and staff as well as partners. Assembling a great team saves time and money.
Don’t forget service design: Service design at its best combines the back end processes of a company with the front end of an application visible to end users. Clean visual looks are not enough, but the processes under the surface must play smoothly together, also outside your own company. Otherwise the problems will be amplified along the way, hurting the customer experience.
The benefits of cloud-native solutions respond precisely to the global challenges that companies will sooner or later have to learn to cope with.
Moving to the cloud must be a decision close to business, and end users should not be forgotten at any point. The service design toolbox is highly valuable when combining the company’s background processes and a smooth user experience in one application.
The speed, flexibility and cost-efficiency of cloud native development opens up new business opportunities. Today, technology is not a limitation, so the ability to conceptualize and implement a service in a way that creates value both internally and for end users is what makes the difference.
Get in touch
Our team at Capgemini has extensive experience in cloud native development. Together with IDEAN, we create efficient and user-friendly cloud services and applications that take our customers’ business forward and create value through a high-quality customer experience. I’ll be happy to discuss your company’s needs for cloud services and cloud native applications.
Head of Cloud Infrastructure Services, Finland