Two types of challenges
Every organization has its own set of challenges: challenges revolving around the optimization of day-to-day operations, and challenges that – once answered correctly – have the power of differentiation. Both types of challenges have to be overcome. We need to practice parallel thinking – after all, we no longer have time to do one or the other.
Both challenges require a different approach. The standard problems associated with day-to-day operation can be solved with known solutions that have already proven their worth. Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Salesforce are two examples of ready-made but flexible cloud applications that are integrated into your existing environment.
Non-standard problems require a more exploratory approach. You need something tailored to your specific needs. A possible solution often starts with a hypothesis that is tested and adjusted during a process with short iterations and feedback loops. Defining a minimum viable product (MVP) in a first step allows for a rapid go-to-market to be achieved.
The box of blocks
Cloud platforms such as Azure function as the ultimate boxes of blocks containing virtually the entire range of uncut stones from which to construct your answer. The building blocks are made of the latest materials and can be adapted to your needs. They are available at any time and can be combined quickly. Each and every one of these features is necessary to meet the challenges that allow you to genuinely differentiate yourself. It is important to launch and evaluate something quickly in realistic circumstances so that adjustments can be made.
Look at it like this: if, for example, you want to construct a means of transport, a bicycle could be a first step that can be implemented in the short term. This will at least allow you to move around. In the following iterations things will be evaluated and refined on an ongoing basis so that eventually a solution will be found that is perfectly aligned with the needs – and may have taken the concept of 'bicycle' to a whole new level.
From idea to MVP in the short term
With a new business case or an innovative idea, we start a process with the aim of creating maximum business value versus budget. First and foremost, it is important to define the scope and understand the "why". What exactly is the challenge and how are we going to use the cloud and its capabilities? In concrete terms, a process will be drawn up in which the various intermediate steps are clearly set out. After we have taken a step back and once the future architecture has been determined, we start the configuration and development steps in the DevOps Factory. We work in short sprints, with parts of the project going into production and immediately being supported and monitored. This enables us to respond quickly, deliver real business value on a regular basis and receive "live" feedback from users.
New and old must provide a coherent narrative
When determining the roadmap, we also look at the bigger picture. The new application has an impact on the existing application in which it will be integrated. It will most likely communicate with existing applications, which may also need to be integrated into a cloud environment, e.g. by upgrading the application. By aligning new and old, you initiate new business opportunities, prepare existing applications for the challenges ahead and modernize your existing infrastructure. This may be drastic, but it is the only right way because it is often not possible to solve a business challenge with just a single application. This means an end-to-end approach is required. By employing an overarching approach, you can be sure that every link is equally strong. The strength of the cloud lies precisely in the level of collaboration it offers.