Technology

Agile cloud signaling the next IT model change

The remarkable developments in the information technology sector have created a vibrant business environment around the world. Improvement in fields such as virtualization and consolidation has pushed IT’s growth rate to an unprecedented level. However, to take full advantage of these favorable IT advancements, human advancements are vital to creating a win-win situation for both consumers and producers. Cloud computing can be quite effective in terms of achieving this common goal, by reducing complexity in the IT mechanism. If applied correctly, it can create a shared environment and can help any business organization, small or large, save time and space.

Advantages of cloud computing in companies

‘Cloud computing is a better way to run a business’ – This is how SalesForce.com, one of the most notable cloud service providers, described the emerging IT trend. It may sound like a slimy sales pitch if you don’t consider the ‘Say no to software’ symbol on the SalesForce website.

In short, cloud computing is an opportunity for companies to operate applications through a shared information center. It gives organizations an advantage over those using conventional software development methods, such as Oracle and Microsoft, which have too many processes like installations, testing, and failovers. Cloud computing, on the other hand, is fast and effective. Here are some of the top benefits of cloud computing.

  • Does not require any software or hardware (other than access to a browser)

  • It follows a simple process, facilitating faster integration with different business solutions.

  • It allows fast operations and reduces the chances of failure.

  • Create a flexible IT environment, where solutions can be customized to the specific requirements of any business with ease.

  • Helps to get the maximum use of resources.

With all these advantages, cloud computing is becoming more and more accepted among organizations around the world. In fact, some companies are limiting their IT infrastructure to stay in tune with their cloud computing setup, as SalesForce.com reported.

The Lean-Agile approach

Lean and Agile are two important production techniques that are widely used in businesses. The Lean approach originated from Toyota’s post-WWII production methodology. It is a biological process that focuses mainly on:

  • Producing only what is required

  • Eliminate irrelevant things that do not add value

  • Suspend production when something is wrong

The agile approach has contributed exponentially to developments in the software industry. In this process, the software is integrated into parts and individually tested before proceeding. The purpose of using this method is to create an immediate feedback loop between creators and users. However, the use of the Lean method has become more widespread than the Agile method after 2008. As a result, a new trend emerged that combines both methodologies. The need for this fusion arose mainly due to certain drawbacks in agile methods. The Agile method omits any discussion of the process of organizing software stability between different wings of the business. The Lean process can be quite helpful in dealing with this. Divide development tasks into smaller streams so that the output from one stream can create the next stream of value. Therefore, this combination allows you to create a more process-oriented approach to software development; in this way, better results are obtained.

The waterfall approach

The waterfall approach has been quite effective for software development since 1970, when it was first introduced. The method is a combination of several steps. The first stage is to understand the customer’s requirements. To be successful at this stage, it is important to communicate with customers. The next stage is to design and implement ideas. This is followed by an evaluation process. The phenomenal success of the Waterfall method is due to the following benefits it has to offer:

  • Potential changes can be easily recognized

  • Development can be facilitated even in a large team

  • The budget can be easily written down as the process clearly defines the stages

  • Time and energy are saved thanks to the linear approach.

Due to its impeccable track record, the Waterfall method has been able to outperform other methodologies of its time, including incremental and spiral approaches. However, the method also has some drawbacks. The effect of these inconveniences can go all the way to hamper the growth of the software industry. His name in itself is a symbol of his greatest deficiency. Just like when water crosses the rim it cannot be retreated, similarly if a failure has been missed in one stage it cannot be corrected.

Agile in a cloud computing environment

There is a lot of similarity in cloud and agile service approaches to application development. The cloud approach is well known for providing end-to-end services in application development. In addition, the Agile method focuses on the requirements of the end users. To achieve this goal, the Agile method breaks the task down into small parts. This makes it easier to focus on details. Planning, development and testing of each segment is done on an individual basis, helping to eliminate bottlenecks in the process and maintain high quality standards. Additionally, the Agile process focuses on creating a beneficial two-way environment for developers and end users. This creates ample scope for obtaining and implementing feedback, as well as for making the necessary changes at each stage.

A highly interactive environment can be created for developers and users by integrating Agile and Cloud. Once developers start using the cloud service, users can instantly review it and give feedback on the process. Thus, steps such as patch installation and distribution can be eradicated, eventually helping to save the organization time and energy. One of the leaders in IT consulting and technology outsourcing services, Capgemini, conducted a survey in 2010 to measure industry trends regarding the incorporation of the Agile process in cloud computing.

This study, which was used by CapGemini in collaboration with HP on about 30,000 QA managers, cloud experts, engineers and IT managers, at leading companies in Asia, North America and Europe. According to the study, up to 60% of the organizations that participated in the survey are likely to incorporate agile methods as part of operations for upcoming cloud projects and services. Some key benefits of integrating Agile with cloud computing are:

  • Improvement of the quality of the application.

  • Maximum use of available resources

  • Shorter time to market

  • More profitable

Jonathan Rende, Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Technology Optimization Solutions, Software and Applications, HP says “IT vendors face intense pressure to develop new applications that provide competitive advantage, deliver greater efficiencies and deliver measurable results.”

Agile and cloud computing integration: the best of both worlds

Cloud computing has become a buzzword in the software industry. The immense benefits of cloud technology have even forced Microsoft to invest heavily in enterprise cloud solutions. However, combining cloud computing with Agile methodology can be even more rewarding, as it helps you get the best of both worlds. If you hire a cloud computing expert for your business, you also need to ask about their knowledge of the Agile process. Knowledge of Agile is very essential to achieve optimal results with application development.

As the founder and CEO of Cyrus Innovation (an agile consulting company), Bruce Eckfeldt, noted, “The greatest strength of the Agile methodology is that it is self-adapting.” This is why having someone on board with expertise in both cloud and agile methodologies can be a great help for any business. Cloud technology is undergoing a dynamic paradigm shift and cloud technology is gradually becoming more demand-driven.

It is time for application developers in the barcode, mobility and point of sale space to embrace these new approaches to application development if they are to remain relevant in the future.

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