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May 18, 2016

Fend off the competition with the Cloud in 2016

Sebastian Krause, General Manager for IBM Cloud Europe, looks at why firms are chasing an 'agile edge' in business.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Gartner expects the global cloud market to grow nearly 17% to $204 billion this year. Hybrid cloud adoption is up from 58 percent to 71 percent year-over-year, according to RightScale.

So why embrace the Cloud now?

We want to create magical client experiences for customers, using existing processes, not changing what to do. On new projects we might use different ways of processing, and sense what works and what doesn’t and rapidly scale it.

The so-called ‘born in the cloud’ start-ups have fuelled this new benchmark of customer expectation through new services, with built in agility from inception. Thus giving them an advantage in the market as they can more quickly initiate and execute innovative projects for customers.

Enterprises can further benefit from an agile approach as it allows them to quickly respond to market fluctuations.

This is especially important as it enables them to better cope with unpredictable demands and scale to cope with incoming innovations.

All of this requires a systematic and iterative approach to using a range of technologies – meaning fast, agile development is required, as well as rapid access to new innovative technologies that can transform client experiences.

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Take it to the cloud

In an increasingly digital world CxOs, regardless of role, have identified technology as the most important external force impacting their enterprise. So investment in technology is clearly a must.

The role of the cloud is changing though- it is maturing. It is now becoming the platform for innovation and business value.

The first phase of the cloud was all around cost – we wanted cheap compute and cheap storage. We’re now in the next phase and it’s all about innovation.

Though some enterprises have been hesitant to adopt cloud technology, many who do have seen it help improve agility as demands grow.

Specifically helping release new applications quicker, reducing a process from months to weeks, with real time feedback from users driving rapid service innovation.

As we start to introduce advanced analytics, cognitive and the internet of things on top of this, business value will continue to expand.

All these are signals for choosing the cloud to propel business opportunities.

Improve business agility

The issue many organisations face is the time it takes to implement new ideas, with projects often taking longer than promised.

This is why many businesses are looking to implement a cloud enabled, agile approach, with Business, Finance and IT working together to deliver projects on schedule and on budget.

With a cloud approach, ideas can also be shared in real time and tested via rapid prototyping.

Agile software development is a set of development methods that promote adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery and continuous improvement, as well as rapid and flexible response to change.

While moving towards an agile approach can require a level of organisational change, the resulting benefits are clear – greater levels of innovation, faster turnarounds and happier clients.

IT Change Management best practices

In cloud application development, coding goes through testing, then production, then operation.
While having a written list of steps in the process is a good start, creating a diagram or flowchart of the process allows all team members to view the entire process in context, which helps clarify potential questions and reduce confusion.

There are many roles in the Cloud application development change process such as: change owner, change manger, and application owner. Be clear about which team members are assigned to these roles and clearly communicate the tasks and responsibilities for each role to all team members.

Utilising a standard tool, such as Rational Team Concert (RTC), to help manage and track change activities, owners, and committed dates facilitates planning of the Cloud application development activities and efficient management of the change process.

A tool reduces human error and helps eliminate oversights, and provides a documented record of history and a repository to share critical information among team members.

Always ensure a risk assessment is performed for planned changes. It is important that all stakeholders understand the possible impacts of the change. When performing a change risk assessment, clearly communicate the level of risk and document that all stakeholders have received the risk assessment.

Limit the available change windows to specific days of the week with established begin and end times. This is especially important with remote teams where the team members, server location, and possibly the client are all in different time zones.


All of these services that are now available are enabling people to build new kinds of applications and new kinds of processes – and every industry is transforming because of it, as we’ve seen with Uber and AirBnB.

This is why many business leaders will be looking at how they can build an ‘agile edge’ into their DNA in 2016, and they will be looking to software developers – whether in-house or external – that have this capability.

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