How adopting a cloud first approach impacts businesses operationally and strategically
As the world evolves, business and personal environments mutate to become increasingly digital and technology-based.
These changes expose opportunities for businesses to discerningly leverage, and risks to proactively manage.
This fundamental shift is empirically witnessed in the way people engage and the resulting exponential rise of the digital economy.
It is important to note that this shift was intensified by the global environment caused by the recent pandemic.
However, reliance on the digital economy, its persistence, and its continued trajectory are cemented as a way of business and consumer engagement.
Consequently, businesses find that they are required to optimally support hybrid workforces.
Multinational companies have discovered the need to ensure efficiency across teams scattered around the globe.
On top of supporting these workforces, companies’ consumer’s needs and engagements are changing.
A consumer’s requirement for simplicity and time saving digital activities coupled with recent environmental factors has turned an increasing number of traditional consumers to web and mobile applications.
Everyday tasks have become digitised, including banking, insurance, shopping, and stock trading.
As a result, these applications have had growing demands placed on them in terms of availability and responsiveness.
Moreover, there are a plethora of suppliers, meaning competition is high.
As such, the ability to deliver valuable shareholder experiences is paramount to success and relevance.
This digital economy is based on and driven by computing technologies, which questions how your current technologies support or hinder your business.
Technically, what does it mean to be a cloud first business
Becoming a cloud first business requires an internal commitment to remain relevant in an evolving world alongside three key technological building blocks:
- Cloud native and agnostic applications
- Loosely-coupled ecosystems
- Cloud vendor technologies
These elements are pivotal to an optimal cloud adoption process and help produce high-quality, stable, cost effective and efficient architectures.
Cloud native and agnostic applications are by design built not to be reliant on a single platform or cloud provider.
Instead, they deliver capabilities regardless of your businesses cloud platform of choice.
Cloud agnostic applications allow for ultimate flexibility, and when architected correctly, there is no pre-determined destination when it comes to cloud vendors.
There are various cloud vendors offering similar and diverging value. Meaning, selecting a cloud platform should be based on the business’s objectives and the platform’s abilities to meet the business purpose.
In parallel, it is poignant to view the business objective alongside the operational, cultural investment required to launch and operate cloud ecosystems.
Tangent Solutions recommends that an organisations core IP be built on cloud native technologies as this mitigates the risk of vendor lock-in.
One of the leading examples of cloud native technology is Kubernetes.
An open-source system developed to leverage the intrinsic value of the cloud computing paradigm.
While it is supported by all major cloud vendors, it can also operate outside of the cloud.
As a result, Kubernetes provides resilience, is self-healing, allows for zero downtime deployments and elastically scales applications based on traffic requirements.
Loosely coupled ecosystems are built with integration and interoperability in mind.
Loose coupling is, as a result, the foundation of a self-regulating API economy, as it allows for multiple communication streams between upstream and downstream technologies within an application.
This foundation is essential for rapid innovation and evolution as building out application complexity becomes a stitching together of application building blocks as opposed to redeploying entire application stacks.
Furthermore, this architecture further mitigates the risk inherent in deployment and change, as each building block is a self-contained unit and thus isolated from the others.
Loose coupling enables faster recovery, optimised delivery which forms the backbone to agility and resilience.
Finally, these technologies should be built to leverage the readily tried, tested, and trusted cloud vendor technologies and fabric available.
As there are significant benefits in resilience, reduced complexity and total cost of ownership as well as performance when utilising a cloud vendor’s technological IP.
Many cloud vendors provide high uptime SLAs in regard to their cloud’s technologies.
Taking these benefits into consideration, it does not make sense to reinvent the wheel.
Noting the importance of doing cloud right, Dave Nel, Director of Tangent Microsoft Cloud at Tangent Solutions and Microsoft Regional Director, “It is crucial to point out that it is the effective combination of these building blocks that creates value.”
“While Tangent believes cloud native is an essential part of any well architected environment, it is only one of the elements.”
“In practice, the right combination of vendor and cloud native technologies answers potential risks posed by vendor specific technologies to the appropriate level.”
“Allowing businesses to prioritise the development and optimisation of a fit for purpose cloud ecosystems.”
Ideally, your businesses cloud service provider (CSP) will select and recommend the complementary technologies, applications, processes, and methodologies alongside a relevant cloud vendor.
It is in a business’s best interest to ask the right questions of their CSP and to ensure they leverage as much SaaS and PaaS technologies as is reasonable given an application’s technological constraints.
As these technologies can initially be difficult to navigate, the right CSP will ensure no runaway costs occur due to poor implementation and ineffective governance.
Strategically implementing these key technological elements alongside the right CSP ensures businesses are geared towards a digital economy as a cloud first organisation.
At Tangent, one of our preferred cloud vendors is Microsoft. The Microsoft Azure platform is a feature rich platform, robust posterity, tooling, and intuitive functionality.
The platform enables flexibility and embraces the open source paradigm that enables cloud computing.