During the global COVID-19 pandemic organizations flocked to the public cloud in record numbers — drawn, in large part, by the promise of agility, flexibility and speed. Today's customers expect businesses to provide them with smooth, frictionless and endlessly innovative online and digital commerce experiences. And tech-focused decision-makers understand that public cloud providers are uniquely able to supply the underlying technology foundation that makes it possible for businesses to give their customers these experiences.
Now, however, growing numbers of CIOs are beginning to question whether their organizations are realizing the full value they'd hoped the cloud would provide. Confronting higher-than-expected costs, the inflexibility that accompanies cloud vendor lock-in and insufficient control, many are in the earliest stages of disillusionment with their public cloud provider or software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor.
Still, it's clear that moving customer-focused applications back to the on-premises data center isn't the path forward.
Instead, businesses and technology leaders are increasingly adopting cloud-native approaches to develop and manage their customer-focused applications. Cloud-native is a next-generation strategy that renders the cost-versus-control discussion obsolete. It also enables businesses to finally achieve the outcomes they hoped to attain when they first set out on their cloud transformations.
Enabling Agility and Cost Control
Cloud-native technologies, such as containers, Kubernetes, microservices and serverless functions, empower organizations to build and run applications in any environment they choose — whether that's a public, private or hybrid cloud. When businesses leverage cloud-native technologies, they reap the full benefits of the cloud — including faster time to market, greater flexibility and effortless scalability — without sacrificing privacy or control.
"In a nutshell, cloud-native is a set of technologies and practices that allow you to maximize the business value you'll gain from using cloud resources," said Alex Mulholland, chief platform architect at HCL Software. "The cloud puts nearly infinite amounts of compute and storage capability right at your fingertips, and it's all managed for you. Having shared resources helps you control your costs while ensuring you're always prepared for growth. Then technologies like Kubernetes speed up the process of deploying and updating software and keep things running at all times."
Cloud-native development practices make it possible to change, add and update services at speed so that the business can keep pace with dynamic markets and rapid shifts in customer preferences. This allows the business to innovate, iterate and scale — and to do so cost-effectively.
Build the Way You Want, Deploy in Any Cloud, Say "Yes" to the Business More Often
Whether you're selling digital products or striving to provide exceptional e-commerce experiences, your customers want to be treated like the individuals they are. This requires personalization, but it also demands that you create a digital commerce platform that reflects the uniqueness of your brand.
But creating distinctive customer-facing apps can be challenging when you're building on the public cloud or relying on SaaS. After all, multitenant environments are set up to meet the average cloud customer's needs, and configuration options are typically limited.
What's more, if you've built applications to run only on a single cloud provider's infrastructure, you can't create new or innovative features on the basis of other cloud providers' service offerings. With cloud-native technologies, you're free to move your applications — in part or as a whole — to the cloud environment that best fits your business needs and growth goals. Rather than designing your business strategy around one cloud provider's offerings, you can design a deployment model that will enhance your business strategy.
Making It Easier to Build, Deploy and Manage Cloud-Native Architectures
In the past, many organizations, especially those whose core competencies aren't in software development, shied away from cloud-native technologies because they believed they didn't have access to the talent, expertise and resources they'd need to build their own applications and manage the infrastructure.
Today, innovative low-code and no-code services that greatly simplify deploying to a Kubernetes cluster are becoming available. With these solutions, it's now possible to build richly capable cloud-ready software faster than ever before and deploy to any cloud with just a few clicks — even if you have little formal training or experience in DevOps.
This gives businesses that previously hesitated to move to cloud-native the support they need to accelerate their transformation, all while making it easier than ever to extend their capabilities and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Want to learn more about the latest trends in cloud-native technology adoption? Download The Future of Digital Engagement, a thought-leadership paper by Forrester Consulting, to learn how 300 leading organizations across the U.S., the U.K. and APAC are taking advantage of new opportunities to maximize cloud-native's potential.