Many organizations have hit a wall when it comes to achieving new kinds of value from their cloud strategies. That’s usually because they have only taken the first step into the cloud—migrating old apps and functionality onto a cloud platform. It worked for a while. However, unlocking the next level of cloud benefits requires a different approach.
Companies should adopt a new, “cloud-native” mindset—considering how applications are created, not where.
Cloud native: Using the cloud for all the right reasons
Cloud native refers to the design, delivery and management of applications that moves beyond just migrating traditional applications to a new platform, and instead truly exploits the unique characteristics of the cloud: faster translations of ideas into new products, as well as greater elasticity, scale and resiliency.
Cloud-native technologies, according to the definition developed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, “empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds.”1
To that definition, however, it is important to add, “to innovate faster and enable the business to react to marketplace events with more agility.” Meaning, cloud-native development must have a business justification and must produce identifiable business benefits. In other words, cloud native means using the cloud as it was intended to be used.
Rapid development, better software
Cloud-native development is a revolution in how we think about delivering applications. In the past, waterfall development approaches meant that applications took months or even years to deliver. Today, more agile approaches enabled by the cloud let developers deploy code changes many times per day—safely, securely and predictably.
All of this is made possible because the cloud has allowed us to break out of old application development mindsets and tools. Cloud native is helping organizations deliver higher-performing, more reliable software at lower costs, faster and more securely than ever before.
Cloud native at work
At automaker Mercedes-Benz, they’re using the cloud to reimagine digital marketing and sales. Working with Accenture and Amazon Web Services, the company consolidated and transformed a fragmented and unresponsive online presence, replacing it with an integrated, cloud-based solution.
Using the cloud and cloud-native development processes, Accenture and the team refined the automated processes and began the rollout. The solution is much more than just a website. It’s a powerful Infrastructure-/ Platform-as-a-Service solution. It incorporates a powerful cloud management system, a microservices-oriented architecture and front-end collaboration tools to support an ecosystem of developers.
Within four months, the new solution was deployed to 18 countries. The solution’s speed now enables Mercedes-Benz to continually improve its customer experiences. By quickly bringing out functionality or information, the company can get feedback from customers far sooner. They can improve the customer experience by incorporating that feedback into its work.
What does it mean to create cloud-native applications?
Now it’s time to dig into some of the detail of cloud native. Let’s break it down.
When you’re going cloud native, you have to think first in terms of the business goals you’re trying to achieve with the cloud. This may sound obvious, but too many overlook the point. Organizations need to chain together the various technologies, processes and services of cloud native to produce valuable business outcomes.
If you don’t keep the business value point in mind, cloud native just looks like a programming model or a new way of writing code. In fact, the ultimate goal of cloud native is to improve speed, efficiency, reliability and security, enabling the business to react faster to market change.
People, process and technology
Then, cloud native is comprised of the following essential layers:
The architecture style itself (microservices) defines the development process (Agile), which in turn uses the production process (DevOps), which then runs code on the execution platform (cloud).
You need all four elements
Organizations need to embrace all four elements that define the cloud-native modern approach: change the architectural style to microservices/serverless, modify development processes to Agile, adapt fresh DevOps processes, and select the right hyperscale cloud platform. If you miss one of these, you miss the combined effects of the cloud-native era.
Cloud-native organizations have fewer issues staying competitive, while cloud-migrant organizations will likely still battle technical debt, rigid processes, excessive cost and lack of innovation. Cloud native is the future of application development, with massive potential for business impact—the ability to move an idea into production quickly and efficiently.
Accenture cloud services and cloud-native development
Accenture is on the leading edge of cloud-native development. We help companies through all phases of the cloud journey: from simple migrations through becoming cloud native, realizing increasing business value at every step. Our industrialized methodologies, cross-industry leading practices and development rigor—along with 25,000 engineering professionals—can help you gain business value from cloud native faster and with less risk.
Read Accenture’s full story on cloud-native computing.