Whether established businesses are ready or not, the future is digital. There’s business opportunity and space for growth in digital markets. Digital transformation enables you to harness these opportunities. Companies that invested early in their digital presence coped with pandemic disruptions better than their non-digital counterparts.
Digital transformation is no longer optional: It’s crucial to stay competitive.
It’s also important to understand these digital transformations generally entail a significant cultural and technological shift for any company. It’s not enough to adopt some technology. Organizations have to change their mindset to digital-first. Developers can help by thinking about the correct technology choices.
The easiest way to support digital transformation is by doing everything in a scalable and flexible way. You can get ahead of the curve by integrating the latest technologies, like cloud-native solutions.
Cloud-native is more than just a buzzword. It has significant implications for how organizations approach digital transformation.
Let’s dive deeper into cloud-native digital transformation and explore some real-world use cases.
What is Cloud-Native Digital Transformation?
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) defines cloud-native digital transformation as the desire to “enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable.” They also highlight how “robust automation” enables “high-impact changes frequently and predictably.”
Cloud-native technologies aim to provide a solid base capable of achieving a faster time to market and quick adoption to react to changing demands.
Cloud-native applications are more than just capable of running in the cloud: They’re built to run almost exclusively in the cloud. The cloud environment is part of every architecture and design decision.
Building a cloud-native application often goes hand-in-hand with applying a microservice architecture, which splits an application into various parts that work together as opposed to being one large application, or following the twelve-factor app approach, which enables you to create flexible, scalable applications with continuous updates.
Benefits of Cloud-Native Digital Transformation
When businesses do well and attract a large number of customers, they often run into scaling challenges. What may have worked for a small user base soon becomes unmanageable with this growth.
Cloud-native applications take full advantage of cloud environments’ dynamic infrastructure. These applications can seamlessly scale as you grow or during peak demand, like during holidays and promotions. The cloud provider always has more resources available as needed with just a couple of clicks. If needs change, the cloud-native applications are easily portable to another type of service or a different cloud provider.
As well, cloud-native applications are easy to iterate. Instead of waiting for a significant code release, developers can quickly and continuously get bug fixes and new features to customers.
Taking a cloud-native approach to building applications also removes many infrastructure concerns. Instead of rushing out to buy and prepare physical servers with all their maintenance and overhead, you can leverage dynamic managed cloud infrastructure. The cloud provider takes care of provisioning server space and processors, updates, security, and all the other day-to-day maintenance tasks. This approach enables you to focus instead on your core business and pleasing customers.
Finally, cloud-native services tend to provide a high degree of interconnectivity. APIs and webhooks simplify integration with new or existing architecture so developers can quickly add new features to meet business needs.
Digitally Transforming a Customer Portal
Let’s turn to a real-world example that can help explain what cloud-native digital transformation means in practice.
Let’s say a large optics corporation sets out to build a new customer portal aggregating and displaying all the available digital services. They choose an API-first approach with microservices and micro front-ends to be cloud-native. Their developers then write every service from the ground up with the cloud in mind.
The developers package and distribute each service in a Docker container. These containers first run in simple service instance offerings from a cloud provider. Then, a few months later, the user base grows so large with a broad distribution that the portal requires a scalability enhancement.
The company has already reached the maximum number of service instances that the cloud provider allows. However, since the developers had built these services in a cloud-native way, they might switch to using the same cloud provider’s managed Kubernetes service. The business can put in as many virtual machines and nodes as needed.
Portability is essential to making the switch to Kubernetes. However, if the company had not initially built the services to be easily scalable, they would have been unable to grow to meet user demand.
For example, they use another cloud provider service, based on Redis, for caching. This central caching system made switching to multiple instances feasible. Although the company could write or deploy its own caching solution, it would need to manage the solution by deploying updates, checking it works properly and handling security settings. By using a cloud service for caching, the team focuses on shipping software and improving the business. Using the cloud infrastructure’s existing resources makes this easy.
Digitally Transforming Translations
Perhaps the optics company wants to digitally transform its translation. Their software admins must enter descriptions and other information inside the portal, and the organization needs these phrases in multiple languages to serve an international client base. They initially looked for translation software to help.
As it turns out, the company’s cloud provider already offers a managed service with a translation API that integrates with the cloud-native application. The company gets the multiple languages they require without the developers managing translation software.
Digitally Transforming File Uploads
Finally, the optics company struggles with file uploads. It’s a security concern when end-users can upload files, such as log files from a faulty microscope. The users may inadvertently upload large files or files with malicious content that damage the company’s systems.
The company’s developers decide to forward the uploaded content to special file storage on the cloud provider. The provider automatically applies a virus scanner to the file. Then, using a webhook, the provider informs the optics company’s service that the file upload is fully processed with meta-information available, such as the virus scan report.
The company’s cloud-native approach makes the digital transformation project a success. The development team can deliver on time and within budget. The cloud infrastructure saves spending time building upload and translation services. So, the team focuses on integrating the available IT services into the end-user portal.
Today, betting on digital is always the right choice. Successful digital transformation projects rely on proven industry standards. A cloud-native approach offers organizations a development edge to help the business flourish.
Cloud-native applications can take full advantage of cloud provider infrastructure. So, the applications are easier to port, scale, and refine. This setup enables you to use existing managed services, and the cloud-native approach makes it easy to integrate with a new or existing architecture.
Organizations today rely on cloud technologies to drive their business, promoting flexibility, scalability, and resilience. Yet, these same technologies also represent the future and should be at the center of any digital transformation strategy.
To learn how E7 Solutions can help guide your cloud-native digital transformation, contact our sales team for a free cloud migration.