The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are ‘cloud migration’ programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription-based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to drive cloud adoption into the foreseeable future.
Beneath the surface, there is a far-reaching trend playing out with the potential to create an impact far greater than cloud migration programs. For want of better terminology, let’s call this the ‘up stack’ cloud revolution. These are essentially ‘cloud-enabled’ services that have the potential to infuse enterprise applications with data, mobility, and internet scale architecture capabilities from cloud to make a truly transformational impact on an organization.
The wide-reaching impact of ‘up stack’ cloud is that it truly democratizes some of the hitherto far-flung capabilities, including data analytics at scale, unstructured data processing, machine learning, multi-channel ‘reach-out’ capabilities, to any small, medium, or large enterprises on a consumption-based approach. This is where the true impact of cloud is going to be really felt for in the years to come.
The world’s top four cloud platform companies – AWS, Microsoft, Google, and IBM – are all focused on the continued rollout of new services in these areas. All of the aforementioned companies have cloud platform offerings that offer an ability to collect, process, and transform data at internet scale. Most of these companies offer a very simplified way to embed previously complex machine learning capabilities and algorithms to process data such as voice, text, video, images, and other unstructured data analytics into enterprise app portfolios. In addition, an ability to collect, process, and disseminate information across platforms and devices at the metaphorical ‘click-of-the-button’ from the cloud compounds the impact. We are only seeing an early impact of the revolution these cloud-embedded capabilities are about to cause.
Here are some of the ways an enterprise can prepare to take advantage of ‘up stack’ cloud capabilities currently being offered today:
- Building a pool of full stack engineers available to take advantage of up stack cloud
To take full advantage of the innovations in the cloud, it is essential to cultivate and train employees to be ‘full stack’ experts – people who can connect the dots across both an enterprise infrastructure and application capability features offered by cloud platforms.
A significant portion of the workforce who have some programming experience can be trained and groomed to be full stack engineers in the months and years to come through consistent exposure and opportunities to work on a range of projects that leverage cloud services across platforms.
Many of the new innovations coming from the aforementioned tech companies are embedded in their cloud platform offerings that expose APIs (application programming interface). A strong programming capability thus becomes fundamental to succeeding in the emerging tech world.
- Reimagining applications designed to leverage cloud native features in a API-driven micro-services-based architecture
By default, the core organizing principle of enterprise architecture is to leverage cloud native features such auto-scaling, fault-tolerant, responsive, multi-channel and, yes, to be natively driven. By default, applications need to be designed for an ‘AI-driven world’ enabled by the cloud to make them both smart and learning systems. These applications are part built and part assembled and packaged into portable containers which lend themselves to seamless deployment across cloud platforms. To make these componentized application modules truly scalable and accessible over runtime, a well-designed API strategy will serve well to make the design truly reusable at ‘internet scale.’
- Taking advantage of pervasive data driven capabilities
Every aspect of the IT Life Cycle Management (ITLM) is going to be infused with data-driven transformation products and platforms. Infrastructure or applications, development or testing, deployment or support – these are all going to be driven by products and tools that are infused with data-driven capabilities. The impact of this will be far-reaching in the way platforms or services are going to be delivered to customers going forward. This implies that every organization’s product, platforms, or services involved will need to reinvent their offerings with services that are rich with data-driven capabilities, and are self-learning, self-healing and ‘smart’ all at the same time