Focus on the Right — Not Perfect — Cloud-Native Transformation
How successful a business is in integrating cloud-native technology and DevOps into its operations is directly linked to company culture.
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It’s difficult to find a boardroom anywhere in the world where cloud-native transformation isn’t a top-five item on the business agenda. Businesses understand that in order to survive and keep up with their competitors, they need to lean heavily into the cloud and embrace it as part of their digital transformation strategy. According to a recent survey of C-suite executives, almost 90% of organizations now understand that cloud technology is going to be a critical step on their path to success. But are they running before they’ve learned to walk?
Businesses that run headlong into cloud-native transformations tend to do so with an idealized view of what it is they want to achieve. They invest heavily and devote their most valuable resources to trying to achieve the perfect transformation, pinning all of their future successes on it. However, we all know that true perfection is unobtainable, and in pursuing it so doggedly we often cut corners and miss opportunities along the way. The ‘rush to cloud’ has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, pushing companies to up their investments and accelerate their plans for cloud transformation. But rather than speeding up, some of these businesses might be better off slowing down to figure out where they're going and how to get there.
Toward the end of 2020, Accenture published a report that looked at 750 business leaders spanning 11 industries and 17 countries. It found that, one or two years into their cloud transformation strategy, only a third of businesses were getting the value they expected. Less than half said they were “very satisfied” with how their cloud-native transformation was going. The majority of these businesses, by their own admission, had overconfident CEOs at the helm who were focused purely on the technology and its implementation as a means of streamlining their operations. While moving from a legacy monolithic architecture to an agile cloud-native one is a no-brainer, how you go about getting there is something else entirely.
Beyond the Technology
Cloud-native is about more than technology; it’s an entire methodology. Businesses that are preparing for cloud-native transformation should be ready to transform their entire working culture too. By thinking of cloud-native as a mindset rather than just another step in the technology ladder, businesses will find much greater potential in its implementation. It’s easy to talk about the benefits of containerization, orchestration, automation, and microservice architecture, but focusing only on these elements will leave a lot to be desired. So if businesses aren’t supposed to focus on operational perfection, what are they supposed to focus on?
Here’s the thing. How successful a business is in integrating cloud-native technology and DevOps into its operations is directly linked to company culture. Rushing cloud-native implementation with a workforce that’s unprepared is a little bit like expecting a great baseball team to win at a round of cricket. Sure, they’ll know the basics and the overall end goal, but their approach is likely to be inefficient and full of unforced errors. Internal teams that adapt to cloud-native architecture need to adjust to cross-functional methods that they might otherwise not be familiar with. Cloud-native DevOps has a rhythm and a cadence to it that has the potential to completely transform the way a business approaches productivity and problem-solving, but only if the knowledge and culture are a good fit.
So while businesses might be quite happy to press ahead with their cloud-native digital transformation strategies, they need to understand that pulling the trigger on the implementation might be the easiest step on the journey. What follows, including the propagation of a new mindset and workplace philosophy, is where the real battle begins.
This article uses information from a book Pini co-wrote, ‘Cloud Native Transformation: Practical Patterns for Innovation’, which you can download for free here. The book unpacks a limited risk way to achieving a cloud-native transformation through a proven methodology called Think Design Build Run (TDBR) which looks at technology, strategy, and organization culture.
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