Here’s How Cloud Infrastructures Improve Time-To-Market
Unless your product AND marketing strategies are really exceptional, it’s normally harder to grab mind and market share if competing products have already established themselves earlier. That’s why time-to-market is crucial. It enables you to reach customers ahead of your competitors. In this post, we explain how you can achieve faster time-to-market through cloud solutions.
Faster access to technology
One of the biggest economic benefits of cloud solutions, especially Infrastructure-as-a-Service clouds, is their ability to greatly reduce or even eliminate upfront costs. With a limited budget, you can already build an entire IT infrastructure in a matter of days or even hours through virtual machines. You wouldn’t be able to do that with physical servers and networks, whose costs and deployment challenges could set you back by months or years.
That alone has a huge impact on time-to-market, what with businesses becoming ever more reliant on IT. The faster you can build your IT infrastructure, the faster you can start developing, building, and eventually rolling out your product. This is one of the reasons why we’re seeing startups mushrooming across the UK. By leveraging Infrastructure-as-a-Service offerings, you no longer need to be a large enterprise to turn your ambitious idea into reality in a short period of time.
Virtual servers aren’t the only IT elements made easily accessible by the cloud. Cloud service providers are likewise making desktops (i.e. operating systems, applications, and files) easily accessible through hosted desktop solutions. Hosted desktop solutions enable organizations to rapidly provision (as well as de-provision) business-configured desktops, laptops, and mobile devices to their end-users.
Some companies develop their own applications. And some of these applications may, in turn, be used in building products. Hence, it’s important to eliminate bottlenecks that might prevent these applications from getting rolled out on time. One of these bottlenecks lies between software development and IT (a.k.a. operations), particularly when there are disconnects between the development and production environments.
Modern companies are able to eliminate this bottleneck by embracing DevOps, a culture that brings together development teams and operations teams into one. But what has this got to do with cloud computing? Well, cloud infrastructures enhance DevOps practices by enabling DevOps practitioners to provision servers and practically entire development environments through self-service catalogs and provisioning, automation and orchestration.
This means developers can now act as operations staff and provision their own virtual servers, network devices, computing resources, etc. No more waiting for IT to do these tasks for them. In turn, IT staff who would normally comprise the operations team would now be able to focus on other tasks.
This, in turn, paves the way for a faster build, testing, and release cycles. Not only that, a cloud-powered DevOps environment streamlines the feedback mechanism (i.e. from customers and corporate end-users) that then allows you to implement bug fixes and improvements much faster. This results not only in faster product deliveries but also in better-finished products.
Anytime, anywhere collaboration
One of the vital ingredients that lead to fast product completion times is collaboration. However, it’s hard to collaborate when your development teams are geographically dispersed - unless all team members are able to work through the cloud. The inherent connectivity of cloud solutions enables all team members to communicate, share files, and even edit portions of the same file, in real-time regardless of each member’s geographical location.
Cloud-based office applications like Office 365 allow team members to work on the same document, eliminating human errors commonly associated with email-based collaboration where you have several versions of the same file sent back and forth. Furthermore, these documents can be accessed on almost any device: desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, so you can work at home, in the office, or on the road.
Other cloud solutions like GoToMeeting or Webex enable video conferencing as well as screen/desktop/application sharing, which allow team members to discuss product-related issues in a more interactive manner.
This flexibility can greatly improve productivity, as team members don’t have to wait until everyone is in the same room before they can buckle down to a time-sensitive task that’ requires the participation of all team members.
In a highly competitive environment, it’s imperative to deliver your product in the fastest time possible. Otherwise, you risk losing potential customers to competitors. Cloud infrastructures can help you in that regard.