From legacy to new world

From legacy to new world

There are vast numbers of companies with creaking data centres who are yet to embrace even virtualisation and optimisation of their estates, let alone embrace the cloud and understand the benefits of containers over virtual machines.

Such companies are still often using traditional waterfall development methods in mosts cases to develop bespoke software, maintain/extend legacy applications, or adapt complete off-the shelf packages that do not quite do things the way they want.

These are companies that still think their needs are unique rather than understanding that it is often the efficiency of the execution of standard processes that will set them apart from their competitors.

I think it is the advent of SaaS offerings addressing some of the core overhead activities such as timekeeping, basic field sales activities, employee self-service, etc. that will eventually open the eyes of the boards of the organisations to the possibilities.

Moving from waterfall to agile approaches and starting to develop in cloud native ways though is a huge gulf for most organisations, many of whom get burnt in their first half-hearted attempts at agile development.

The low cost and flexibility offered using containers for development and hosting of micro-services is a great way to demonstrate quick value with low risk and limited investments by companies, providing a small team can be sufficiently empowered to launch and deliver in that space, probably using a boutique specialist partner to help them out on first few deliveries. There are even free tier offerings for many of the main cloud providers that would support at least a proof of concept delivery from a very small team of developers (still too early for such organisations to embrace the devops model).

Brain drain

It will though take a leap of faith in most hard-pressed IT organisations to ring-fence a few developers and let them go play, so to speak. Perhaps a few developers will do it in their own time, but they are probably more likely the type to start up their own small business out of frustration with their current employer.

Indeed, the proliferation of cloud services and the increasingly enterprise worthy nature of many offerings coupled with the ability to exploit a wide range of micro-services through API exposure makes the challenge of recruiting and retaining great developers far more difficult than it has been for a long time.

So, if those companies yet to embrace the opportunities offered by the cloud (and the competitive threats from new entrants and more nimble competitors) do not start soon, they may well find that they have few IT staff to help them on the journey and will quickly find themselves left behind depending on the least capable IT staff and expensive contract resources knowledgeable about the older and less popular technologies.

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