How Focusing on Becoming Cloud-Native Can Enable Businesses to Become More Creative
The key benefits of cloud computing technology, and developing cloud-native applications to maximise the potential of this technology, are now widely known. Flexibility, agility, efficiency and scalability are just some of the benefits that this technology is well known for.
However, there are many other secondary, or ‘softer’ benefits of going cloud-native. One of the benefits that are perhaps less recognised/celebrated than those mentioned above is that it ultimately makes organisations more creative.
Now, creativity is a broad term and within a business, the context has traditionally been used for marketing, advertising rather than IT. However, application development brings with it its unique creative challenges, and any organisation that wants to promote more creativity within its development teams should at least consider some of the benefits of a cloud-native development environment.
Here are ways just some of how cloud-native architecture and development promotes creativity within an organisation.
Agility allows developers to work on individual components much faster
The dev cycle of an application usually has a large number of steps involving multiple stakeholders within an enterprise environment. A sample application will need to go through requirements gathering, design, planning, building out the infrastructure, actual development, unit testing, build and merge processes, deployment to a dev environment, deployment to integration, testing, deployment to UAT and finally deployment to production.
As one can imagine, this is incredibly time-consuming and application development can be significantly slowed down by bottlenecks due to business priorities/processes at any stage during this cycle.
However, due to the nature of cloud-native architecture, developers can go through this cycle for individual components and microservices rather than the whole application, which significantly decreases the amount of time it takes to get new ideas out there into the world for users to test and provide feedback on.
Flexibility allows more creative ideas and tests to be approved
Cloud-native applications are designed to be able to operate independently, i.e. they are not into a particular infrastructure. This has major implications for procurement departments in organisations, as they are not forced to commit to large infrastructure contracts with vendors, because they know that cloud-native applications can be scaled up or down as required on short notice.
The knock-on effect of this is that there are much fewer restrictions on the dev teams to test new creative ideas and projects, as they don’t have as big a hurdle to go over to get approval from procurement as they would have in a more traditional development environment.
Rapid testing and iteration helps developers improve apps using tight customer feedback loops
As mentioned above, with shorter dev cycles and tighter feedback loops, developers can get their applications and updates in front of users in a much shorter amount of time. This ultimately means that more creative ideas get tested and fed back on by users, helping the dev team do rapid iterations and release better products as a result.
Over time, as better products positively affect the bottom line, developers may find it easier to get approval from the marketing, compliance, security and procurement departments to test more creative ideas in the hope that they will deliver similar lifts to the bottom line revenue.
Transparency allows for greater trust and collaboration between multi-function teams
While on-premises servers are essentially black boxes, cloud-native tech is very transparent, logging everything that is going on within the cloud environment and making this information digestible by presenting it in easy to follow dashboards and notifications. What this encourages is for different departments such as management, sales, IT, and compliance, which otherwise may have operated in silos, to agree on common metrics and KPIs and essentially sing from the same hymn sheet.
This leads to greater collaboration and a better feedback loop between different ends of the business. The customer services team, for example, can be notified in advance of potential user experience issues by the dev team, so that they can get ahead of the issue and come up with creative ways in which to appease customers and even turn it into a positive interaction with the brand rather than a PR issue.
Similarly, management can make much more data-driven decisions when it comes to investment in certain products or projects based on the test data that is readily available from component tests that have been run with live customers thanks to cloud-native technology.
While efficiency, agility, scalability and flexibility continue to be the most cited benefits of cloud-native application development, and rightly so, the second-order benefits cannot be ignored, especially when it comes to impact on the creativity and internal culture of an organisation.
Each organisation is unique in its needs, of course, however, any organisation investing in cloud infrastructure would do well to at least test using cloud-native application development as opposed to transporting traditional applications onto the cloud.