What Cloud-Native Delivers to Businesses
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud-native architecture was rapidly becoming a staple in companies seeking to keep pace with digital reality. Deloitte estimated in 2019 that some three-quarters of businesses were using the cloud for some or all their most critical business functions. That trend only accelerated throughout 2020, becoming even more pronounced.
Research vice president of Gartner, Sid Nag, stated, “the pandemic validated cloud’s value proposition.” For the first time, companies saw how the cloud could provide a lifeline to companies struggling with remote workers, remote operations, and connecting with customers.
Indeed, Deloitte’s 2019 research shows that the market for serverless computing is growing by an astounding 33 percent. It’s expected to become worth an estimated $7.7 billion by the end of 2021.
The advantages that cloud-native application development delivers to businesses are persuasive. Here are six reasons for enterprises to embrace cloud-native development for their apps or services, even if they don’t consider themselves “tech” companies.
1. Better Customer Experience with Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery
In DevOps, continuous integration (CI) refers to the automated merging of code changes from multiple developers into a single, central project.
Continuous delivery (CD) refers to delivering new software or software updates in small, frequent batches. It uses short cycles that can take advantage of more robust testing before integrating into the whole application. It’s the second step in the software delivery pipeline.
These concepts are often expressed together with the saying, “fail fast, fix fast.” The idea is that the faster problems get caught, the quicker they get fixed, and the less likely that they’ll keep the app down – if they even make it that far.
Used together, these best practices help support businesses with apps that require frequent updates. It gives them a reliable way to deliver those updates in a seamless, resource-efficient manner. In other words, a DevOps team can spend more time focusing on development and less time worrying about what happens once the update gets pushed live. That’s especially valuable to companies that don’t consider themselves fundamentally “tech” companies.
Businesses also tend to embrace CI/CD because of the impacts it has on customer value. CI/CD can drive up the value of the customer experience through:
- Faster fixes and new releases of features
- Little to no disruption of service during updates
- Improved responsiveness to demands they might have
2. Reduced Development Costs with Increased Reusability
One of the neat things about building apps using containers and microservices is that those pieces can function like building blocks later for other projects. Since developers are using a single platform to build all their apps, cloud-native apps make it easier for developers to access and reuse components created for earlier projects.
That has several advantages that can reduce development costs and make for better apps:
- Reduced complexity of the development process: Developers get to spend more time on a project’s specifics rather than building the common framework. It also allows for the development of more sophisticated applications in less time.
- Reduced time to market: Faster delivery means happier customers sooner. It also means the potential to seize a time-sensitive opportunity.
- Simplified testing: Vetted microservices present fewer problems, lightening the load later in the pipeline. When developers know a service works, all they have to do is design for compatibility.
- Enhanced UI and UX: Modular design makes it easier to standardize appearance and functionality. Companies with more than one app or service can take advantage of this to lower the learning curve for customers.
3. Improved Business Continuity with Resilient Cloud Architecture
In the 2020s, customer patience for technical troubles lies at an all-time low. Downtime is detrimental to a company’s survival. However, cloud-native computing offers a remedy to downtime and unavailable services – one that companies have noticed.
According to Nag, “the ability to use on-demand, scalable cloud models to achieve cost efficiency and business continuity is providing the impetus for organizations to accelerate their digital business transformation plans.”
In short, adopting cloud-native development is becoming less about having a competitive advantage and more about keeping operations lean enough to survive whatever turn the market takes. However, businesses have also discovered that cloud-native architecture can improve business continuity and aid in disaster recovery by:
- Reducing downtime and increasing resource availability
- Untethering employees, products, or services from physical locations
- Enabling integrated and automated backups
- Improving data security
- Unifying processes on a single interface and improving visibility
4. More Efficient Budget Use with Streamlined IT Infrastructure
According to IDG’s 2020 cloud computing research report, IT costs associated with the cloud are rising. In 2020, companies spent on average some 32 percent of their IT budget building and managing their cloud resources.
While cloud-native apps have many advantages for development efficiency, the cost reduction benefits go further. In a 2019 study, Deloitte found that cloud-native apps leveraging AI and automation could slash the time and resources required to study customer habits by as much as 90 percent. In all, according to Deloitte, deploying cloud-native apps in a business can slash overall operating costs by as much as 25 percent. (Read Deloitte’s more recent The Future of Cloud-Enabled Work Infrastructure.)
5. Increased Ability to Meet Shifting Market Demands
Imagine having the ability to respond in hours to sudden changes in the market, seizing on the new customer demands and delivering what they need or expect. Imagine spotting an opportunity a moment before a competitor, snagging a key market position in the process.
Cloud-native apps can bring agility and speed, making them an ideal instrument in turbulent or hypercompetitive markets. In the world after COVID-19, that’s most industries.
Whether the company is undergoing a digital transformation or in need of new ways to connect with customers without a physical presence, cloud-native apps are the key to take advantage of sudden opportunities that might arise. The ability to respond fast is a business imperative.
“Cloud adoption [is] a significant means to stay ahead in a post-COVID-19 world focused on agility and digital touchpoints,” stated Nag.
6. A Culture of Collaboration with Seamless Processes
Legacy processes and systems have one other major disadvantage that can hamstring a business at a critical moment. When information exists on a physical piece of paper, it’s not just slow – it’s even harder to transmit to those who need it.
Imagine the sales department needing to check with accounting each time they want a customer’s purchase history or marketing having to check with the IT department to learn whether that latest app update has gone live. Both of those things happen more often than anyone might expect.
Deploying cloud-native apps for core business functions eliminate these bottlenecks. That’s because businesses will often use a single, seamless platform to keep their apps and services organized. When all employees can access this, it:
- Breaks down information silos: Users now have access to what they need when they need it. Everyone exists in an ecosystem rather than their departments.
- Aligns IT and business goals: IT departments can develop a deeper understanding of what’s important to the business. They can then use their resources more efficiently to meet those goals.
- Encourages cross-department communication: Expertise is no longer siloed along with the information they’ve hoarded. This helps inject fresh perspectives in unexpected ways.