Want to accelerate your organization’s digital innovation in 2022? Here’s three ways to do it.
After two years of sky-high spending on cloud and related technologies, 2022 is the crunch point for corporate IT and digital leaders. Investments in technology helped facilitate the rapid shift to mass hybrid working and supported businesses to embrace the digital-first models of the new normal. But beyond merely investments to support new working styles, leaders also must ensure their organization continues to innovate.
This is critical. Research from McKinsey shows that organizations that maintain an innovation focus even through a crisis outperform the market by as much as 30% in post-crisis years. In the competitive landscape of digital services, standing still is not an option. So, how can organizations accelerate digital innovation and thrive in 2022?
The key is to pick innovation-related investments that concretely improve developer productivity and reduce complexity. And to do that, there are three clear angles of attack. Leading companies will focus on developer support, be pragmatic about infrastructure and be realistic about “complexity”. Let’s explore these areas.
1. Invest in developer productivity
Developers are the powerhouses of digital innovation. Yet, they are often stuck using unwieldy tools that require considerable manual configuration and management. Leading companies are tackling this, by investing in boosting developer productivity, often through new “developer tools” teams. These teams’ initiatives include transitioning developers off laptops to cloud-based DevOps and CI/CD platforms like GitLab/GitHub and features like GitHub Actions and Codespaces. Why? Because application architectures are too complex and compute power demands are too great to continue with the way things are today.
A recurring issue for developers is something that “works on my laptop but not in production.” New cloud-based developer environments solve this issue. They give organizations the same size of complex system in the cloud as might exist in production, and performance and power equal or better than to any developer’s souped-up laptop. What’s more, cloud-based environments will help to ease a company’s path towards continuous delivery, not just continuous integration — a thorny challenge that still persists.
The key takeaway is that if you invest in developer productivity you also boost your bottom line. Research shows firms with higher “developer velocity” reap revenue growth up to five times greater than their lower velocity peers.
2. Avoid over-engineering “infrastructure”
Research finds that 92% of enterprises now have a multi-cloud strategy. Yet, in many instances, this doesn’t result in a competitive advantage, nor does it contribute to better innovation. IDC says that 79% of organizations are struggling to realize the benefits of multi-cloud, with workloads remaining locked in silos.
This happens when companies approach multi-cloud by selecting vendors based on the wrong reasons – that is, avoiding “lock-in” rather than picking best-of-breed features. The organizations that recognize the future is largely hybrid cloud, rather than multi-cloud, are those that will thrive in 2022 and beyond.
Here is where a healthy dose of pragmatism is needed. Savvy engineering leaders will choose the infrastructure environment that is right for their code based on the features available in it, rather than succumbing to worries about “vendor lock-in.” In this way, organizations also make the most of the often-limited skills available to them in-house, and can get on with innovating rather than spending precious engineering time replicating multiple identical environments across cloud providers.
3. Ruthlessly reduce complexity
The demand for more innovative customer experiences is only going to increase. But on the flip side, complexity cannot keep increasing. Modern enterprises are already running thousands of digital services with millions of dependencies, alongside a web of micro-services, containers, server-less architectures and orchestration platforms.
There is a “Dunbar’s Number” for system complexity, and we are fast approaching it. We’re seeing the first signs of a backlash against some approaches. Take Kubernetes, for example, which requires a lot of surface area to deliver business value. More organizations are also adopting managed services offered by CSPs. These services deliver scalability, reliability, and redundancy from the get-go, without needing to be engineered by the organization.
Two other key factors help to combat complexity. First, investing in real-time dependency management to give engineers a clear picture of how digital systems are related. Second, to invest in automation to “hide the inner complexity” from those who need to perform tasks. This allows teams to monitor, manage and remediate digital incidents in real-time. PagerDuty research shows that 73% of tech leaders have invested or plan to invest in automation to tackle complexity and the rising pressure on digital services.
To successfully accelerate digital innovation in 2022, organizations must free up developers’ time so that they can do what they do best and innovate, rather than simply “keeping the lights on”. For companies seeking to become leaders, these three areas are the blueprint for success.
To find out how PagerDuty can help you accelerate digital innovation – from DevOps support to cloud strategy, to automation – visit https://www.pagerduty.com/.