Why innovation is lacking in the cloud platform

Most companies have understood that cloud technology and platforms are the future. But very few are able to exploit their potential. Much of the answer to this lies in how we work with platform strategy and development.

Ask yourself the question: could you, as a leader, give a newly graduated developer the task of creating a smart new service and expect it to be running in production within two weeks - complete with logging, security, dynamic configuration and feature flags, setup for fully automated deliveries and infrastructure as code? If the answer is "no", and you would rather be able to answer "yes", you need a service platform running on cloud services.

It has been a revelation for me to start at Forte Digital and see how we work with service platforms at our customers. This is of course how it should be done! I am converted. Unfortunately, this is not the "norm" in many companies.

State of DevOps

The "State of DevOps" annual report, published by technology company Puppet, has become one of the most recognized publications on the subject of DevOps. There is no one in the IT industry today who has not heard of the mindset and the vast majority work according to some of the principles. In last year's report, we can read that there are still significant differences in the degree of digital maturity among IT organizations.

The most striking statistic is that only 25% of companies report that they are able to exploit the potential of cloud services. Many people have room for improvement in how they organize and work in the cloud platform they have built.

Cloud providers offer a wide range of services and functionality such as geo-replication, redundancy, and programmable infrastructure. You can easily move your services to the cloud and reap the benefits of this. But for many organizations, that's where it stops.

By looking at cloud services as "just" a new data center with a little extra functionality, you miss the opportunity to change the way you work. Here you have a golden opportunity to facilitate higher productivity and lower cognitive load in product teams.

What's the solution?

So, what is the solution? How can we build a platform and use the cloud so that the newly graduated developer (and the rest of the organization) can deliver new services at record speed? The most mature organizations invest in a platform team that delivers a common technical platform and capabilities for high productivity to product teams.

By consolidating tasks that each individual team used to perform on its own into common templates, components, and processes, you free up an enormous amount of time for product teams. When they have everything, they need in terms of basic components for their applications, the infrastructure to run them on, and clear setup for continuous delivery, they can use more of their time to innovate.

They can create new services, explore how to connect existing services, and use data in completely new ways to create even more value. A high degree of self-service lowers the requirements for the breadth of knowledge and skills that the team needs to possess and the time the team needs to invest in a basic setup before it is even able to develop production-ready solutions.

Give product teams superpowers! Much of this can already be done without the use of cloud services. It is only when you combine the platform approach with self-service and almost instantaneous access to infrastructure through cloud services that innovation really takes off. Many people have caught on to this way of working, but unfortunately, many have not yet taken the leap. My call is clear: Jump in and give product teams superpowers!