William Lee, research director for Cloud Services at IDC Asia/Pacific, one of the authors of the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2020 Predictions writes: “It is estimated that by next year, 90% of enterprises worldwide will build their IT strategies around a mix of on-premises private clouds, public clouds, and their existing platforms to accommodate the increasingly diverse set of requirements of their modern applications.”
This trend of moving to the cloud begs a revisit of the notion of cloud-native and why enterprises may want to consider building a business case if not a strategy for going cloud-native.
What is cloud-native?
Kapil Chaudhry: Cloud-native technologies are game-changers in our eyes. They are often integrated into a business’s digital transformation plan and can come in the form of agile, modular open platforms, allowing for flexibility, reliability, and scalability at lower costs.
One major attribute of the cloud is that it gives enterprises the power to easily create offerings based on market trends at greater speed. This has driven business growth as companies can now offer their services efficiently while having the option to pivot these offerings when market tides change. Modern cloud-native architectures also open up new doors to technologies such as data analytics, machine learning, internet of things, and much more. Cloud is just the first step to the greater brilliance of enterprise technology.
Why is it important?
Kapil Chaudhry: As the cloud has grown to be increasingly sophisticated and powerful, more enterprises are seeing their value and are quickly adopting it for business efficiency and growth. This is especially evident today, as the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across the world.
Cloud can help businesses cope with the aftereffects of the pandemic. To accommodate the new norm of remote working, businesses have moved to the cloud to share information efficiently and maintain productivity across teams. This eases communication and offers businesses with platform agility - a key player in their long-term success.
Cloud also bestows enterprises with the power to speed up innovation. New ideas can be brought to fruition within a matter of minutes or hours, as opposed to weeks, months, even years. One thing we see often in the OTT streaming space is that by adopting cloud, businesses have greatly increased their rates of innovation, in turn, increasing competition in the industry.
We’ve also seen businesses adopt the cloud to quickly scale up their services. Cloud improves scalability and reliability at lower costs and reduces vendor lock-in. Going cloud-native will offer enterprises a greater array of tools, allowing them to break free from legacy offerings that might hold them back.
Lastly, through increased velocity and agility, cloud-native applications can change the game for customer service. In a time where customers want answers with the snap of their fingers the cloud can help teams address requests as and when they come in.
What needs to happen to be deemed a cloud-native enterprise?
Kapil Chaudhry: Being a cloud-native enterprise is more than just about simply migrating legacy systems to the cloud. It is about utilising flexible, open platforms using API to drive business agility and speed up development within the enterprise. Well defined approach to security, setting up the security policies and access controls.
What are the most common areas where enterprises taking a cloud-native initiative fail?
- Education. Education plays a crucial role when it comes to embracing cloud-native technologies. Lack of education can mean a lack of successful integration and lack of awareness from employees, which can cause a business to fail when launching a cloud-native initiative.
- Lack of adoption: Another element that causes companies to fail is when businesses lack in the adoption of the cloud as a core part of their business transformation strategy. In fact, according to a recent study, one in three cloud migrations fail due to this exact reason.
- Lack of approach: some organizations try experimental efforts without a consistent approach for a comprehensive and scalable organization strategy.
What are the top three things to do to transform into a cloud-native enterprise?
Kapil Chaudhry: The very first step to transforming into a cloud-native enterprise is to understand the business case. Why are leaders investing in cloud migration and how will it help the enterprise as a whole? Beyond contemplating costs and productivity for operations, businesses must consider how the cloud will affect areas such as business agility, user and customer experience, and technical risks involved.
Enterprises must also understand the complexities of cloud platforms and take into account security and operating models. Often, transforming into a cloud-native enterprise requires the adoption of multiple platforms.
Lastly, companies must adopt a cloud-native mindset. This involves restructuring processes, teams, and coming up with products and services with the cloud in mind. Enterprises need to bring all these bits and bobs together to produce an outcome that will drive business growth and create value for the entire enterprise.
Old habits are hard to break and leaders need to educate employees on the need for cloud transformation. Training has to be offered to equip employees with the skills needed to make the best use out of the cloud, and to reduce the fear of change.