There’s no argument: Today’s business landscape is changing faster than ever. Customers constantly expect new and personalized digital experiences. Leading organizations deliver on these expectations—and generate new revenue streams—by quickly developing new applications and updating existing ones.
To stay relevant and keep their businesses in the fight, IT leaders urgently need to pick up the pace on digital transformation. With modern apps, high-performing companies excel during this time of extreme disruption.
Yet, amidst the excitement about cloud-native apps, agility, scale and rapid innovation, organizations may overlook something equally important: how to modernize the infrastructure that provides the digital foundation for the application ecosystem.
Investing in Modern Infrastructure Technologies
When I speak with organizations about investing in modern infrastructure technologies, I ask leaders two simple questions.
1. What Is the Role of Technology in Your Business Strategy?
Though the answers differ from one organization to another, everyone wants to deliver new products and services faster in order to improve customer experiences and gain competitive advantage. Thus, “digital transformation” has become a common (if not overused) term in the industry.
Across these organizations, I hear a few common priorities that are echoed in the findings of market research commissioned by VMware earlier this year. App developers and business and IT decision-makers each ranked their organization’s digital transformation priorities, the top of which included:
- Increasing business efficiency,
- Improving the customer experience and
- Upgrading existing technology platforms.
What they find is that they need new capabilities and more advanced skillsets to advance these priorities. The challenge is to do so without adding the labor, cost and risk of replacing existing technology platforms or teams.
2. What Investments Can IT Make to Support That Transformation?
What new or emerging technologies is leadership betting on? How can IT serve the needs of the business with speed and efficiency? These additional considerations further inform a modern infrastructure strategy.
Here are a few common responses I hear:
- Betting on Kubernetes: Kubernetes has become the de facto standard for running containerized, cloud-native applications at scale. As an open-source platform, Kubernetes is always evolving, so IT needs to adopt a secure, enterprise-grade Kubernetes solution that is part of their chosen platform.
- Developing Next-Level Skillsets: Adopting new technologies, like Kubernetes, requires new skillsets and knowledge. It can take time and money to retrain IT teams or to search for new talent to operate modern technologies. When there’s a steep learning curve, app modernization slows down. Again, the right platform empowers IT to build upon the tools and skillsets they already know—elevating their careers—while promptly supporting developer productivity.
- Innovating Across Multiple Clouds: Many IT organizations, whether they already operate in the cloud or not, would like an infrastructure that supports a multi-cloud future. With multi-cloud computing, IT has the utmost speed and flexibility to choose the best cloud vendors and services for each app. A consistent hybrid cloud architecture that supports both on-premises and public cloud investments is a popular option on this route. IT doesn’t even have to switch from their current platform of choice, avoid the risks of doing it on their own or deploying another platform (which creates another silo).
Delivering Developer-Ready Infrastructure (In Weeks, Not Months)
In the past, delivering a developer-ready infrastructure was complicated. So instead of waiting on IT to slowly deliver resources (with little to no developer input), developers could simply swipe a credit card and immediately consume cloud resources on their own. But public cloud is not a cure all and poses its own challenges around cost, compliance and security.
It takes a village to create a great digital customer experience. The more closely developers work with IT operations and security teams, the more apps will be grounded in best practices and continuously integrated and delivered in the most efficient, secure and scalable way possible.
Still, with fewer manual steps and more automation, developers can free up time to innovate. Indeed, high-performing organizations recognize the potential benefits of adopting an autonomous, self-service model for app development and deployment. With consistent infrastructure and operations, IT can automate processes and streamline operations to quickly meet the growing, complex needs of busy developers—while maintaining enterprise-class governance for security and reliability.
Source: Successful Digital Transformation: Apps at the Ready, conducted by Vanson Bourne, commissioned by VMware (fielded March/April 2020)
Enterprise IT partners, like my company, VMware, help organizations deliver developer-ready infrastructure that leverages existing investments, takes the guesswork out of Kubernetes and, ultimately, brings developers and IT closer together. They provide a flexible digital foundation that allows IT organizations to start from where they are and modernize at their own pace.
One of the many lessons of 2020 is that everything can change in a very short amount of time. Businesses can’t afford to wait on apps and infrastructure to catch up with the world around them. With the right platform, partners and strategy, IT can begin delivering a flexible, modern infrastructure designed to give developers the freedom to innovate and to accelerate digital transformation—starting today.