Keeping pace with change: How to add speed to agility in the cloud

The agility of cloud technology and the speed of automation allow us to be proactive disruptors through opportunistic software engineering, as the third wave of computing becomes a reality.

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The agility of cloud technology and the speed of automation allow us to be proactive disruptors through opportunistic software engineering, as the third wave of computing becomes a reality.

The Internet of Things (IoT) brings M2M (machine-to-machine) communication that allows for faster, more detailed data exchange. This is set to bring about a fourth industrial revolution as all electronic devices come online, a movement Accenture estimates to be worth over $14.2 trillion to the US economy alone by 2030.

Rather than human influence being limited in this era, today’s software engineers are in a highly privileged position compared to their predecessors. Cloud computing allows us to do more with less, to add substance to inspiration in the moment with IaaS, SaaS and more. We can now obtain services in seconds that previously took days or weeks for others to provide.

The cloud, automation and the IoT combine to open up an exciting digital Wild West. With the right tools, the innovative amongst us can define new markets by harnessing the speed and efficiency of M2M and the new strands of big data it provides.

So what does it take?

Agility and speed are vital to exploit gaps in the market and release apps quickly. There is money to be made by getting new inventions to market ahead of your competitor - such as driverless cars, which will be used to give more accurate, localized readings on traffic. But there are also advantages in reinterpreting and reinvigorating old markets. Just look at how unicorn companies such as Uber and Airbnb have changed the taxi and hotel industries using the cloud, mobile technology and M2M communication.

Automation gives vital human control within the M2M world. By automating wherever possible when we build and use apps, we can work with the efficiency of a machine whilst retaining human creativity: Release Automation allows individuals to deploy new development, test or production environments instantly on their favourite cloud platform (private or public). Service orchestration allows individuals to provision the compute power instantly and orchestrate processes for self-service empowerment.

This new world harnesses the elastic compute power available on cloud platforms to drive speed and agility. New environments that used to take weeks to provision can now be ready in minutes.  Test instances of an application that used to take weeks to configure can now be deployed instantly for immediate engagement.

This enables a whole new approach to rapid and agile development so that we can now work at the speed at which our brains operate. We can produce lean innovations by only paying for what we need.

Automation serves as the command and control layer, speeding the process up and removing the potential for human error. A cloud-enabled automation engine can also map application-to-infrastructure dependencies to help ensure websites and business processes continue to run without disruption and can quickly roll back to a previous working version should problems occur.

 Many enterprises are teaching agile methodologies and working in the cloud, but something is missing. Development is not running as smoothly as it could, and some companies are not achieving the same speed to market as their competitors.

 The answer could lie in the diversified nature of their applications.

They don’t have a generic PaaS, and without that, release and deployment become a huge bottleneck and a source of very high risk.

 As enterprise applications move from development to production they are "deployed" time after time to different environments along the promotion path. The deployment process is the source of instability and lack of pace that currently prevents traditional enterprises from becoming as fast and agile as some of their ‘Google generation’ counterparts.

 Given the highly customized nature of these enterprise applications, their deployment process is highly specific and sensitive to change and human errors. Most deployments are traditionally executed in manual or semi-manual processes requiring highly experienced resources.

Dr. Chris Boorman, CMO, Automic

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