How to Transition from Packaged Products to the Cloud

Mike HarrisWith all the talk about the cloud, you’d think most companies, at this point, would be discussing how they can make use of the power and flexibility it offers. And you’d be right – for the most part. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide market for SaaS offerings is on track to grow by around 20 percent per year through 2018 (exceed $100 billion).

Of course, this is no surprise to most you reading this. At least, I’d assume not. Cloud computing allows for faster processing speeds, better network connections, lower delivery and support costs, and improved customer experiences.

Despite this, only eight percent of the revenues of the top 100 software companies come from SaaS models. The reason is largely because of the challenges that face companies as they wish to move their offerings to the cloud, including security concerns.

That’s where the article, “From Box to Cloud,” from McKinsey & Company proves useful. The article offers 6 principles for a successful switch from, well, box to cloud. We’re sharing the principles here, with our thoughts, in hopes that more companies will capitalize on the power of cloud.

  1. Minimum viable products – Cloud almost necessitates “light” versions of software – or minimally viable products. Develop your cloud-based software with the assumption that it will be tested and refined on an ongoing basis. It doesn’t have to be the final version!
  2. Users are key – With cloud, your development team should be engaging with their customers as often as possible, again, on an ongoing basis. Their real-time feedback is important – and something that developers can use to their advantage, by A/B testing features to assess and refine for the future.
  3. Failure will happen – In packaged software, bugs are seen as a major failure. With cloud, bugs are expected – and can (and should) be fixed quickly. Software maintenance should be easier in the cloud, and some developers even simulate failures regularly to make their own adjustments.
  4. Agile! – Look, we know that we talk about Agile all the time, but that’s because we know the value it offers, and if you’re moving to cloud, Agile is a must-have. The cloud functions best in an environment of continuous release, which is a tenant of Agile. DevOps, which brings together IT and R&D, is also useful in the cloud. On the whole, frequent releases can help manage risk and complexity. And, as the article notes, Agile teams can increase their productivity by about 27 percent and improve the timeliness of feature releases by 30 percent!
  5. Developers’ expanded role – Developers should now be given the responsibility of QA and testing – and they should be expected to fix problems as they come across them.
  6. Invest in the latest and greatest – This means people and products. Seek out the top talent for development and invest in the tools and infrastructure that will power a cloud model most effectively.

The move to cloud will certainly not be easy, but it’s worth the time, effort and frustrations that may lie ahead. We’re here to help ease the transition. We’re ready and available to help your team transition to Agile or improve their current Agile implementation, ahead of a cloud-based move. Prepare your organization for the future or risk being left behind!

 

Mike Harris
DCG President

 

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00

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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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