The ability to quickly deliver new experiences to clients is critical for success in the digital age. That is why businesses are rethinking not only their front-end, but also every layer beneath it.
Businesses are streamlining their supply chains, improving consumer feedback loops, reducing inventory, and generating operational insight using analytics and AI/ML – all for the sake of acceleration.
Business leaders who plan ahead understand that the decisions they make today will influence their competitiveness for years, if not decades, to come. The temptation to skip the fundamentals arises as a result of a persistent pursuit of speed. Long-term effects result from cutting corners on privacy or security, accumulating significant tech debt or locking into proprietary technologies.
These costs add up over time, resulting in an “innovation tax” that must be paid in the form of inflexible technology, slower time to market and lost productivity. Companies that ignore the consequences of this oversight risk losing their finest employees; a hidden and difficult-to-measure tax that has stifled some of the market’s most innovative products.
However, there is a way for IT leaders and businesses to think both short- and long-term. Leaders should ensure that the necessary digital foundations are in place. Data is the raw material of innovation in the digital age, and it is the cornerstone of the digital foundation. Here are the four elements of sustainable speed, each of which enables businesses to accelerate innovation without risking long-term failure.
Agility across multiple clouds
Not all clouds, and certainly not all data centers, are created equal. The reality is that each cloud provider might be the “best” cloud provider but for different scenarios and users. While each supplier provides a range of services, they differ in terms of capability and maturity. Developers should be able to employ best-of-breed technology across clouds for the same app, not just for different apps.
Moreover, despite the buzz surrounding cloud, few large corporations are entirely committed to the cloud; some want to migrate slowly, if at all, or possibly never completely to the cloud due to regulatory, compliance, security or even scale-related costs. Businesses should not be swayed by any rhetoric about going “all-in” on one thing or another; instead, IT leaders should listen to their business units and developers, and take decisions accordingly.
The velocity of innovation
Development teams are the market makers if applications are the new economy’s currency. Despite the constant strategic emphasis on innovation and speed in the digital economy, these teams continue to be mishandled within both large and small businesses. Companies must make an effort to comprehend the underlying nature of development work, provide the most intuitive and adaptable tools on the market, and eliminate time-consuming, undifferentiated tasks, such as database management, to optimize the innovation output of developers.
When developers say they need to fix the fundamentals of their test, deployment, or monitoring systems, IT leaders should pay close attention. Businesses should also invest in daily developer workflows, removing obstacles and improving the process whenever possible.
Reliability and predictability
This is where the ability to build swiftly but confidently comes into play. Developing or updating mission-critical apps is always a high-risk endeavor, with the possibility of losing data or violating regulatory standards. Executives must have confidence in the ability of their application development platform to secure the confidentiality of consumer and business data, handle outages with minimal damage both internally and externally, and scale to meet the company’s goals.
Compliance and privacy
Security is frequently viewed as a barrier to speed of innovation. However, the contrary can also be true. The faster the cycle time between development and production, the more secure the data platform and the more testing it undergoes. And the greater a team’s confidence in moving rapidly, spotting problems early, and rolling them back before they do damage, the better. To do so, security must be built in, compliance testing is required, and continuous integration and delivery must be prioritized.