How to get your cloud-native strategy right?

By Subrato Bandhu, Regional VP, OutSystems India

The cloud is clearly the future, and every firm is betting its future on the cloud. The inherent advantages of the cloud such as scalability and flexibility makes the cloud the center of all digital initiatives. End-user spending on public cloud services in India is forecast to total $7.3 billion in 2022, an increase of 29.6% from 2021, according to a report from Gartner.

From enabling the rapid rollout of new digital initiatives experiences to personalizing customer experiences, the cloud is today imperative for every Indian company. Not surprisingly, research firm, Gartner, believes that 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025 and will not be able to fully execute on their digital strategies without the use of cloud-native architectures or technologies. Cloud-native refers to applications designed from the ground up to take advantage of the benefits of a cloud computing infrastructure. Addressing these challenges is essential, as companies struggle with growing software backlogs, continuous application changes, wasted development time, and developer talent shortages. Cloud-native applications enable new and enhanced customer experiences, significantly increased development speed, and ease the management of constant change.

Key challenges
While the benefits are huge, the road to a cloud-native journey is not so simple. A report by OutSystems, titled, “Cloud-Native Development: Ready or Not? What IT Executives and Developers Say,” reveals that while analysts expect a sharp rise in cloud-native development globally, more than half of respondents (53%) still don’t know much about it.

As the OutSystems survey results show, most IT leaders are not prepared and equipped with the right knowledge, tools, and talent that they need to be ready for a cloud-native future.

Cloud-native leaders say that identifying the right tools/platforms (52%), and architectural complexity (51%) are the top two challenges. Setting up the infrastructure, keeping tools up-to-date, and finding budget and talent are the other top challenges recognized by both groups, and directly map to the following core study findings.

Additionally, there is a huge knowledge gap. For example, 72% of respondents expect that the majority of their apps will be created using cloud-native development by 2023, only 47% of them know a lot about it. From a talent perspective too, both cloud-native leaders and laggards agree that engineering team growth is a necessity – and a struggle. Respondents share the need for talent across 13 different roles, from back-end, full-stack, and mobile developers to enterprise architects and designers, with cloud architects standing out as a critical role to fill. The best part of this crisis is that cloud-native leaders see the technology as a potential benefit for staff engagement. 44% of leaders confirm that cloud-native development creates “interesting” work that emphasizes innovation over tedium.

Why low code platforms are the best possible solution for this crisis
Low-code platforms can reduce the challenges of cloud-native development, in a big way with most firms using low-code already. Low-code platforms can abstract away the complexities of cloud-native development and allow for automation and flexibility that will motivate teams.

This is corroborated by the OutSystems research mentioned above, which says that cloud-native leaders see low-code platforms as winning partners in their cloud-native journeys, with 60% saying low-code platforms are “very good” or “excellent” tools for cloud-native implementation. Not surprisingly, more than seven in ten (72%) leaders work with low-code platforms already. That said, not all low-code are built the same. Hence, high-performance low-code platforms built for the cloud should be a checkbox in the evaluation.

As the research report highlights, cloud-native leaders are making plans to expand their adoption of low-code platforms as they build for the cloud. More than one-quarter (28%) of low-code users say the majority of their applications are in the cloud this year, while more than three-quarters (76%) say their organization will use low-code to build the majority of their applications by 2024.

From a cloud-native perspective, some of the biggest benefits include:
* Drag-and-drop functionality, pre-built user interfaces, and models for business processes, logic, and data models enable the rapid development of full-stack, cross-platform apps
* Easy-to implement APIs and connectors integrate with third-party tools that developers already use, so no time is lost due to a learning curve
* One-click application delivery automatically tracks all changes and handles database scripts and deployment processes, eliminating many time-consuming deployment and operations processes
* Enterprises can deliver cloud applications that integrate with legacy systems. Low-code also enables enterprises to take advantage of technology generally associated with agility, such as microservices and containers
* In the Speed of Change report published by OutSystems in 2021, when enterprises were asked about the degree of difficulty in hiring full-stack developers, the majority of the IT leaders evaluated it as “difficult or very difficult.” The speed and development simplicity of low-code enables junior developers and tech enthusiasts without a strong background to build apps as if they were full-stack developers. It also empowers skilled developers to work more efficiently, so they can focus on more complex, less mundane aspects of programming.
* Low code platforms Include built-in automated governance from a central console so IT teams can identify and fix trouble spots in infrastructure, environments, applications, IT users, and security.

In summary, low-code platforms have the potential to dramatically improve the way businesses build applications now and ensure those apps perform, scale, and evolve to meet the demands of the future. Companies of all sizes, across all industries, are applying cloud-native development to tackle their biggest challenges. By leveraging the cloud and leaning on low-code they can turn their biggest ideas into software and change the course of their business.

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