Strategic Application Agility through the Cloud: A Game-Changer for the Digital Age
Author(s): Greg Fischer, Posted on January 19th, 2017
Today’s business environment offers no shortage of opportunities. But, along with all the potential gains comes a good deal of pain. The challenge of building a digital enterprise that operates faster and better is enormous. It requires rethinking infrastructure and rewiring systems within the four walls of the enterprise – and beyond.
At the center of everything: organizations looking to achieve unprecedented levels of speed and flexibility are seeking out new ways to develop, adopt, deploy and deliver software – to employees, customers and business partners. However, unlike digital startups and natives, a more traditional enterprise must wrestle with legacy infrastructure and find new ways to become agile.
This ultimately leads to the cloud. Although most business and IT leaders are already using cloud-based applications and services – and receiving benefits – the missing link is often a defined strategy and holistic approach that links business, applications and IT. Too often, organizations adopt tools and solutions on an ad hoc basis and then end up with application silos and data islands. As time marches on, all these disparate solutions become much bigger problems.
That’s when the cloud environment benefits begin to deteriorate, becoming unmanageable, lacking governance and failing to deliver maximum agility and flexibility. What’s more, when an enterprise attempts to apply its existing service management to both on-premises and cloud systems, the complexities of this hybrid IT environment present new and unforeseen challenges.
A New View
Today, organizations can’t afford to wade through cloud initiatives in a piecemeal fashion that reinforces silos and impedes speed to market. Application development and deployment cycles that once required months or even years now occur in days or weeks. Business units, departments and groups must be able to share and collaborate in real time. The ability to move at digital speed – and reap the benefits of innovation and disruption – has become nothing less than critical.
Organizations that embrace a strategic approach to the cloud – and put the right tools in place – find themselves better positioned for rapid application development methods such as DevOps and Agile. They can use visualization tooling combined with cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments to unleash rapid iteration and fast deployment of mobile apps and more. Teams can design, build, test, deploy and manage sites and apps across channels and devices in a far more strategic way.
This type of Agile cloud-centric approach changes the IT and business equation in revolutionary ways. It ultimately moves you closer to the customer, reduces waste and provides elastic scalability. Application developers can focus exclusively on programming or modeling their applications without worrying about the configuration and maintenance of the underlying platform. In other words, they become more efficient, productive and strategic.
A Step Beyond
Regardless of the exact approach an organization takes, a few factors are critical to success in the cloud.
It’s important to establish a strategic model and understand clearly how objectives translate into technology and tools that deliver value. Also, it’s imperative to establish a governance model that provides standards and uniformity. If development teams or others use different clouds and solution providers, the complexities of managing and doing business can multiply quickly.
For organizations large and small and across industries and geographies, a basic fact is now in the spotlight: application agility is critical and the cloud delivers a platform that drives performance and bottom-line results. In the end, yes, the rules of the game have changed.