Six steps CIOs can take to master the app explosion transforming their businesses

Posted on 21/05/2020

Organisations are in the midst of an application explosion – they’re being defined by how fast they can deliver modernised apps and services that differentiate their business and enhance the user experience. In fact, it’s predicted that the number of applications created in the five years ending 2023 will be greater than the amount built in the previous four decades.

To handle all of this, enterprises are seeking cloud strategies that support the applications they need to transform their operational capabilities and deliver against strategic objectives. To explore what this actually looks like for businesses, we conducted global research on application modernisation and cloud trends, finding that organisations today have a mix of public, private, hybrid and on-premises platforms:

  • Sixty percent are actively engaged in public cloud migration, with 45% more than halfway to their migration goal
  • On-premises deployment still anchors hybrid cloud, with 49% of applications to remain hosted in the data center in three years
  • Most organisations’ cloud preference will continue to be hybrid, as they don’t want an either-or choice

Further, to cope with today’s pace of business – which demands new ways of building, managing, running, connecting and securing the entire application estate – our research shows that two thirds (67%) of organisations have already containerised some applications to drive developer productivity and app availability.

However, while businesses are accelerating their ability to modernise applications, they are coming up against challenges. Security, a skills gap, production risks and refactoring complexity were the top four obstacles faced when reaching migration goals.

So, how can CIOs navigate these obstacles, and ensure that businesses are on the front foot to build, run, manage, connect and intrinsically protect any app, on any cloud, on any device?

Six ways to build, run, manage, connect and intrinsically protect all applications

  1. Completely secure – no matter where an application is deployed, whether public, private or on-premises, it has to be secure and protected, intrinsically. Modern-day security requires an investment shift away from trying to prevent breaches at all costs and towards building intrinsic security into everything – the application, the network, essentially everything that connects and carries data. This is only possible through software, where the focus isn’t actually on applications – it’s on the policies that govern them. With every part of the application, network and data adhering to the policy, all it takes is one change to ensure everything is compliant and updated
  2. Consistent management of applications, regardless of where they’re deployed. Management needs to be agile, efficient and automated to ensure that IT teams can run applications and their environments in a consistent manner. This means having the visibility, operations, automation, security and governance to manage and operate their systems and apps, even across multiple cloud environments. It is only in doing so that enterprises can start migrating applications as required to meet business objectives, rather than as capabilities dictate.
  3. Ensure applications are portable from cloud to cloud without refactoring. 25% of respondents highlighted this a challenge to achieving migration goals. However, there are multiple ways to move applications across developer platforms, without costly refactoring – from replatforming to adopting a multi-tier approach, which sees the application split (for instance, with a front-end in a public cloud, and the data kept on-premises), to building cloud-native applications from scratch, or deploying a software-as-a-service offering.
  4. One set of tools, for one set of environments – dovetailing with consistent management, having one set of tools, on a common platform, to build and manage the entire application portfolio across all environments removes the need for vendor or cloud specific teams, reduces complexity – and provides the necessary visibility required across multiple environments.
  5. Promoting collaboration between developers and operations – Developers need access to the tools and environments that are going to help them do their jobs. Operations teams are looking for a straightforward way to manage – continual changes are the stuff of operations nightmares. The risk is that if operations and developers cannot collaborate, then the latter will acquire their resources outside of the enterprise IT structure, leading to potential security risks. This has always been an issue; however, with applications so critical to business success, getting developers and operations on the same page is now an absolute imperative.
  6. Empower developers to build and deploy applications to any public cloud – Developers need a common platform that means they can build applications anywhere and then deploy them in any environment, with the only consideration being how it meets the end objective. Containers are the future of app development as they both improve IT and developer efficiency, and speed development and deployment to meet business needs. Kubernetes is clearly the preferred platform, delivering the operation of an elastic web server framework for cloud applications. What’s vital, though, is that it is suitable for developers’ skills – 81% of respondents wanted IT operations to provide developer-ready Kubernetes, including cluster infrastructure and Kubernetes lifecycle management.

There’s a common theme through those steps – consistency. Consistency of management, consistency of operations, consistency of infrastructure. Achieve that, and enterprises are free to use the applications they need, in the environments that best meet their requirements. That means a digital cloud foundation that delivers consistent operations, control, portability and collaboration, across a hybrid of private, public and on-premises platforms.

Ultimately, with these multiple environments to contend with, enterprises need to be using hybrid cloud in order to have a single, unifying and consistent way in which to operate and manage applications and infrastructure.

To read the research in full, please visit:

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