Our Future Systems research shows that to drive innovation and agility, 97 percent of Leaders adopt critical technologies such as microservice architectures, containers and Kubernetes that allow for decoupling compared to only 30 percent of Laggards.
However, in order to harness the value of these technologies, a key part of any company’s cloud transformation requires rethinking how to operate. Historically, companies managed their data centers and networks separately from the data, applications and business services those data centers and networks supported. Today, this siloed approach is ineffective and perhaps even harmful.
Consider how much more complicated technology landscapes are becoming. As a result of digital decoupling and the adoption of microservices, applications are evolving to more complex patterns and topologies, increasingly requiring more dynamic underlying compute, storage and networking infrastructure. Cloud native patterns and technologies are typically more ephemeral than traditional environments, where containers may last hours, minutes, or even seconds, compared to servers and virtual machines that may be in production for months or years. The extreme is serverless computing, where functions are spun up on demand to execute service and are torn down immediately upon completion. Not only are these environments more ephemeral, but they increasingly scale up and down more rapidly as Kubernetes controllers orchestrate their deployments.
At the same time business users are far more focused on outcomes than the underlying applications, data and infrastructure that enable them. The boundaries between the services delivered to customers or the business, and the applications, data and infrastructure that deliver them are blurring. Consequently, it is critical to manage “services” and technologies more seamlessly. To effectively manage and optimize this increasingly complex landscape, enterprises need to rethink how they construct and operate new services to improve innovation and agility, enhance service levels, streamline operations and minimize costs while seamlessly managing the applications, cloud and infrastructure that deliver these services. We refer to this as “Build Different/Run Different.”
To effectively operate in the New, there are four activities to focus on:
In order to take advantage of new capabilities and drive operational efficiencies in a hybrid cloud, it’s important to standardize services and the underlying infrastructure that supports them. This includes not only aligning the organization around an enterprise-wide IT services catalog, but also standardizing hardware and platforms to allow for increased automation.
Create an agile cloud operating model
Dual velocity application delivery is critical. That means supporting the agile delivery of cloud-native applications while maintaining legacy code bases that are increasingly exposed through microservices. This operating model should also deliver on the promise of DevSecOps by tightly aligning and integrating cloud, infrastructure, security and operational requirements.
Upskill organization and transform culture
New application patterns, technologies and operating models require new skills. This includes not only upskilling developers, but also transforming “eyes on glass” operators into developers who write data ingestion scripts, create analytics algorithms and visualizations, develop automation scripts and tune AI engines.
Use hyper-automation and applied intelligence
Companies should be investing in platforms and tools that deliver the hyper-automation needed to drive agility, streamline operations and minimize cost. Such hyper-automated intelligent operations—sometimes referred to as AIOps—leverage analytics to drive predictive operations, automation to eradicate unnecessary tasks and AI to continually optimize environments.
Accenture’s “Build Different/Run Different” philosophy is explained in more detail in a dedicated report, Cloud Management: Time to “Run Different.”