The popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand at a quickened pace. As such, businesses and their customers are enjoying a near constant connectivity and exchange of information. Now, more than ever, companies are feeling the pressure to respond to consumer demands at the drop of a hat and very quickly bring new products to the marketplace. This new heightened environment places challenges on the organization’s IT infrastructure, particularly the software development team. Typically, the IT side of business operations has been less flexible in their adoption of methods and tools that support market adaptability.
As such, cloud computing continually evolves to meet the challenges associated with scalability, adaptability, continuous deployment, recycling of stable software features, and the quality of code with regard to both backend and frontend responsive development. While there are different approaches to software development, the intersection between cloud computing and agile development provides increased capacity for making swift, targeted adjustments throughout the development cycle.
What is Agile Cloud Development?
For those who are not quite familiar with agile cloud development, one may perceive it as the intersection between two functions: agile software development methods and cloud computing. In short, the agile methodology is built on the philosophy of decreasing the time between development and deployment, while increasing product quality and team productivity.
This is achieved through collaboration between backend and frontend team members, transparency and maintaining a continual feedback loop through face-to-face meetings or via digital productivity tools such as Slack, BaseCamp, Skype, and so forth. Depending on the level of security required for code sharing, the agile methodology can include the use of code repositories, so more than one individual has access to the code to maintain or improve it (e.g., gitHub, FishEye, and BitBucket).
Cloud computing is the virtualizing of your data storage and computing. Rather than having to manage physical servers and the complexity of their infrastructure, you now access data and applications through the internet. Unlike with serverless computing, there still exists backend considerations such as provisioning.
As such, agile cloud development combines the benefits of both worlds: collaborative creation and virtual accessibility to make adjustments to code (and deployment) quickly. DevOps/IT teams are no longer tied to a limited number of testing servers. Team members have the capability of parallel development (as opposed to the traditional serial construct of waiting for, say, the IT team to complete a provisioning process). Additionally, unlike old world development operations where new releases or security patches took months to deploy, projects are in a continuous developmental state as team members have instantaneous access and integrative capability (unless authentication parameters dictate otherwise). Therefore, you could say that cloud computing not only supports the agile development methodology but also accelerates its implementation.
Benefits of Agile Cloud Development
Finding a solution to the issues that arise during the cycles of software deployment requires collaboration within the DevOps team. Cloud computing, along with serverless computing, refines software deployment objectives as the focus moves away from managing IT infrastructure. Add agile software development methodology to the almost seamless fluidity of cloud computing and you reap several benefits:
- A reduction in IT costs since there are fewer infrastructure concerns (e.g., server costs, and personnel costs for server maintenance and repair).
- Increased team responsiveness to software functionality issues due to continuous feedback loops. This translates into faster release cycles and higher quality code.
- Business adaptability is amplified as new ideas can be readily tested while shortening the time required to adjust current products based on the feverish pace of ever-shifting consumer demands.
- Customer experience is greatly improved as they witness quick responses to their requests. Indeed, a co-creational business environment is more engaging with customers. And, in turn, this solidifies both customer loyalty and provides an impetus for customers to become your biggest marketing promoters.
- Strategic positioning in order to be the dominant force in your market is crucial to the success of any business at any stage in its development. Large corporations certainly have their place in the business ecosystem. However, small and medium-sized businesses that are more agile in their development process can scale more quickly and garner a larger market share. Agile Cloud Development is thus the perfect process for this objective—and with less upfront investment.
In the past, it has been difficult to compete with the behemoths of industry. Not only did they, at one time, have the lion's share of the resources, because they could afford them, but also had a specific market share locked in due to proprietary resources. This is no longer the case. Small and medium-sized businesses are better poised to respond to the ebb and flow of consumer demand. Agile Cloud Development is the perfect recipe for hastening a return on your investment and managing a productive software development team.