Achieving New Levels of Resilience Through Use of Cloud-Based Software and Agile Ways of Working

– Digital First Magazine

 

Debasis Ray is Senior VP – Technology and Product Engineering at Cybage. He heads the Product Engineering practice with multi-vertical OPD engagements. He works closely with Global clients (ISVs and technology enabled enterprises) to co-create IT assets on a strategic level. Being a seasoned executive in the product engineering space, he spearheads competency-building initiatives, engagement planning, implementation, and management for a large number of engagements with collocated and virtual teams.

With more than two decades of industry experience, he is an expert in platform engineering and been part of evolution in technology right from structural programming, client server, N-tier to service based offerings (SaaS) in SMAC + Microservices. His forte – core of software development—from conceptualization to deployment of software for multiple technology clients and platforms. Debasis focuses on achieving delivery excellence by capitalizing on Cybage’s scientific approach towards creating value for its clients. He firmly believes that software engineering and product development need right mix of technology skill and discipline.

Rapid technological advancements continue to reshape the world. The proliferation of developments in Information and Communication technology has revolutionized every activity of science and business. These technology improvements have boosted productivity in increased speed, accuracy, and ability to handle work volumes.

The Philosophy of Digital First and Cloud-Native 

In a short time, the pandemic was able to push for a digital-first philosophy. Companies that were earlier reluctant to adopt a cloud-native structure scrabbled to put all gears in place. It changed the way companies adopt technology to boost their operations. They rapidly accepted all forms of digitization for themselves and their customers, along with digitally enabled products in their portfolios. 

Organizations quickly assessed that staying competitive in a new business and economic environment would require new strategies and practices. Most of the organizations recognized the strategic importance of technology as a critical component of the company. Technology was no more just a source of cost efficiencies. Organizations that successfully executed the digital-first philosophy were able to stride through the crisis. With the right technology investment, they filled in gaps for technology talent during the crisis, accelerated usage of advanced technologies, and speed in experimenting and innovating. In a nutshell, Digital-first demands an experiment-driven technology team and partner to create magic with customer experience.

Business Resiliency and Elastic Infrastructure 

Operational challenges have resulted in pushing business resiliency plans to their limits. Businesses even today are grappling with questions of how to maintain operations in the foreseeable future. The only answer that comes out from these questions is the cloud. The cloud offers considerations for maintaining business resilience during a crisis, including the notion of elastic infrastructure. 

Organizations are homing in on operations and business continuity in the digital age. Testing operational resilience has become a discipline in its own right and is primarily focused on business continuity. 

That is why organizations need to plan against severe yet plausible scenarios and advance existing testing efforts. They must assess what the infrastructure can support and under which conditions it fails and then link that to their risk tolerance. It will help organizations determine how their infrastructure responds under extreme stress, identify blind spots or points of failure, and reshape that infrastructure with those extreme conditions in mind. 

The goal of a resilience framework is to have an elastic infrastructure. However, building infrastructure against increasingly challenging and rare scenarios comes with an expensive price tag. To overcome this challenge, organizations must invest in scalable and flexible infrastructure. Such elastic infrastructure can make all sectors more resilient in the face of extreme conditions by allowing their deployment of critical resources. 

Elastic infrastructure enables agile responses and the capability to rapidly and effectively re-provision assets and infrastructure. It requires organizations to get three things right: 

  1. Clear prioritization of critical and non-critical infrastructure and capabilities 
  2. Pre-positioning across on-prem and off-prem sites and with relevant third-party vendors 
  3. Advanced diagnostic capabilities that monitor real-time infrastructural demands and challenges as they arise. 

The cloud’s ability in terms of testing, monitoring, scalability, flexibility, and relatively low price point makes it a platform that allows institutions to remain responsive in good times and bad. 

Agile Methodologies to Build Product and Supporting Digital-First Approach 

Agile development is changing the way software is being conceptualized, created, and delivered. The agile method takes an iterative approach towards software development. Unlike a traditional system, the agile approach attempts to make software engineering more flexible and efficient. Compared to a straightforward linear Waterfall model, the agile method has several smaller cycles. 

In general, agile teams work with robust methods and practices across different groups and their ecosystem. Tools-driven approach and automated engineering enable building a continuous and connected ecosystem where captured feedback and user behavior are analyzed and actioned. Automated engineering helps in making and delivering a better customer experience for the users.  

Digital-first does not work in silos; it builds products and platforms to connect and create an ecosystem. Traditionally, we dealt with effort, counts, rollback, monthly release, etc.; under the guise of agile, KPIs were to suit the management communication pattern and reporting. Modern-day engineering focuses on the outcome. Failure is noticed and fixed rapidly, but how quickly and relative improvements are the real questions. In this ecosystem, the end customer sees the change immediately. The measurement of success of the ecosystem has several performance indicators like MTTX, lead time /cycle time, deployment rates, etc., on the development side. Still, most notably, the measure should be on the customer experience side like Perception metrics, Descriptive metrics, Outcome metrics, etc. – that defines monetization of capabilities. 

Why Use Agile as a Framework for Digital Transformation? 

In today’s business dynamics, digital transformation represents a fundamental change in how organizations operate. Organizations are powering technology to create new forms of business and customer value. 

 Agile provides an excellent framework for digital transformation for two reasons: 

  1. It provides a framework that enables rapid iterations based on customer feedback.
  2. It drives a broader cultural shift in an organization.

The agile framework is equipped to enable enterprises to release software in smaller iterations at a faster pace. Delivering a robust digital customer experience would mean moving fast and adapting to the likes and dislikes of the customers. The focus on quickly adapting to feedback, a core component of Agile, helps make this possible. 

As organizations adopt an agile methodology, they will participate in a broader cultural shift emphasizing empowerment, transparency, and accountability. It directly changes the traditional way of operations and collaboration. Convergence of tools, technology, people, process, and most importantly, culture will be the key to digital elasticity.

With the ambiguity of digital transformation at the core of a business, organizations must build a foundation of continuous learning. This foundation can be made through an agile methodology. Using this agile approach, organizations can brace to minimize the risks and validate their efforts of meeting the desired outcome as they move forward on their journey.

In conclusion, platforms are built for scale and change to support business; a cloud-native and agile mindset helps achieve the business goals. In the digital-first era, cutting-edge cloud platforms and cloud-native tool stacks will help software industries to attain the power of cloud resiliency and elastic nature for the entire enterprise application pool. This is the next step for future generation software services.

The original article can be read here: https://www.digitalfirstmagazine.com/achieving-new-levels-of-resilience-through-use-of-cloud-based-software-and-agile-ways-of-working/