In the era of business connections and processes going global, work models shifting from office-only to hybrid, and businesses seeking to connect with talents and experts outside their regions, cloud-based applications become integral to growth and digital transformation.
However, deciding to boost efficiency via cloud application development is just the first step. Understanding the full value of such solutions and the principles behind gathering a team for cloud application development are the factors defining successful adoption.
To address the most common questions of decision-makers and stakeholders, we compiled all necessary insights on outfitting businesses with cloud-powered tools in this comprehensive guide.
- How should you secure a successful cloud application development journey?
- Final thoughts
How should you secure a successful cloud application development journey?
Even though cloud computing has been around for a much longer time than blockchain technology or generative AI, the implementation process and organization still can get tricky unless you do your homework and address potential issues before they emerge.
Doing so doesn't require extensive technological knowledge of cloud technology or a cloud developer background.
To ensure you start your cloud application development project with the right pace, goals, and expectations, you need clear navigation across your needs, the specifics of building a development team, and any roadblocks you may encounter during your journey. Let’s explore the essential steps in greater detail.
1) Refresh your knowledge of cloud deployment models
As a rule, upon deciding to employ cloud application development services, stakeholders already have an idea of their must-have solution in mind. Yet, sometimes, decision-makers explore the benefits of cloud apps without diving into their types and variations. For that reason, here is a brief overview of cloud-based service models and their benefits:
Software as a Service
Software as a Service (SaaS) covers cloud-based web application development, enabling fast and easy access to a shared digital space or database. With Google Apps, AWS, and Zendesk being the most prominent examples of SaaS flexibility, SaaS development often covers building CRMs, client databases, audit tools, document management systems, and HR tools.
SaaS taps fully into the collaborative potential of application development in cloud, connecting employees and streamlining processes, facilitating management and activities—all while offering superior compatibility and efficient resource distribution.
Another area where SaaS gets to shine is process automation, allowing users to power their analysis, employee interactions, and scheduling with automated cloud-based tools that cover these tasks and keep users in the loop with comprehensive, personalized reports.
Platform as a Service
Technically, Platform as a Service (PaaS) isn't a solution but rather a digital environment of third-party software and hardware tools enabling enterprises to develop apps for improving or accelerating their specific processes (operation systems, databases, development kits). The value of PaaS lies in its ability to provide developers with a framework for creating and deploying cloud apps without overloading company servers and spending funds on storage space. Unlike on-premise development platforms, a PaaS doesn't need to be set up, letting developers start working immediately.
Additionally, custom PaaS solutions offer collaborative features and accessibility options, enabling end users to participate in the development process, making valuable contributions to the final features and the product’s utility.
Infrastructure as a Service
Usually hosted on a private cloud, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the company’s business network, complete with servers, storage space, data visualization interfaces, and other IT infrastructure elements.
IaaS became an efficient alternative to cumbersome and costly physical infrastructure for many companies. Instead of investing in buying and maintaining hardware, decision-makers can now focus on scaling their resources and enhancing their IT infrastructure performance, as well as implementing several useful tracking and resiliency features for more secure and transparent process management. The availability of automation options also facilitates the work of IT teams, reducing the system's reliance on manually performed tasks.
As you can see, every cloud deployment model offers a particular set of benefits to a specific user segment—from end users to developers to IT administrators. Therefore, your investment decision should be based on the desired scale of your cloud transformation and your long-term goals—are you planning to improve the performance of just one department? Or do you want to build a robust infrastructure that will streamline several workflows?
2) Identify the need for adopting cloud-based solutions
One of the most valuable benefits of cloud computing is that any process can be transferred and adopted for the cloud. However, can doesn’t always mean should. No business invests in disruptive technology just to follow the trend or harness a possible opportunity.
So, while cloud solutions are versatile and agile, they offer unique value when applied for the following goals:
- Expanding to other regions
Not all companies offering cloud application development services would acknowledge this. Still, most on-premise solutions offer all the benefits of a cloud-based solution and can be just as good in terms of performance and productivity. However, when an enterprise enters a new growing phase and considers expanding services beyond its current region, stakeholders face a new challenge—how to ensure the same level of functionality in the new office? Investing in building the same product and purchasing a new data center is not an option due to unjustifiably high costs and long delivery times.
Cloud-based solutions offer a healthy and actionable alternative that relieves enterprises of the necessity to replicate on-premise product development. By utilizing the potential of application development on cloud, not only can all services be easily transferred to another enterprise, but also they gain new flexibility, letting enterprises adjust their capabilities to the number of users and volume of resources utilized by the office.
Additionally, implementing cloud-based applications prevents chaos by establishing one single flow for every office. Furthermore, modern advanced cloud platforms and services facilitate regulatory compliance and region-sensitive data management by enabling data containers specific to every region. As a result, all enterprise processes and routines perform under the same standard while following the guidelines and regulations essential to the area of operations.
- Facilitating maintenance
On-premise solution maintenance is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. When a company decides to adopt more tools and products, integrating, maintaining, and supporting all these services becomes even more complicated and puts unnecessary pressure on the enterprise's IT department.
Cloud-based applications make maintenance a lot more manageable by transferring a chunk of duties to cloud service providers, letting in-house teams focus on more relevant and less taxing assignments. The improved scalability options also introduce more flexibility into service management, enabling the enterprise to configure its infrastructure. It also allows tailoring business processes to the exact amount of employees involved while disabling the services and features not currently in use.
- Adjusting to the hybrid work model
According to Forbes Advisor, around 12.7% of employees who used to work in the office now prefer to work from home. This statistic signifies the ongoing normalization of hybrid workplaces and employers adjusting to new employee expectations. As a result, companies must consider updating their digital environment to the change, providing their in-house and remote workers with safe and fast access to all the tools and data they need to complete their everyday tasks.
Given that change, cloud technology becomes the foundational element of creating digital workplaces and new routines. With cloud-based solutions, enterprises can enrich their employees' experience with an easily scalable and maintainable collaborative space, can be integrated with new services, and provides advanced tracking and data management features.
De-risk your cloud app development journey with a trusted tech partner.
3) Stay aware of the most common cloud application development challenges
Like all other technologies, cloud transformation is sometimes considered a silver bullet, the ultimate solution to all problems and issues affecting enterprise productivity. Approaching cloud application development with such a bias can lead to unrealistic expectations, poor communication, and a product that doesn't deliver.
Due to this, we always suggest doing a reality check and cutting through the bias before making a decision to invest in cloud application development.
Breaking the monolith to build a structure
On paper, cloud data migration sounds deceptively simple. The goal is to move data from an on-premise storage to a cloud infrastructure. However, in reality, cloud development teams have to come up with complex strategies, so they can successfully complete this task and deliver the expected results.
Structure-wise, an on-premise product is a monolith, a consolidation of features and data that needs to be migrated to the cloud. Meanwhile, a cloud structure is a bundle of target systems for storing specific types of data. Therefore, to transfer data from a legacy system, the team must check it for redundancy, cleanse, parse it, and then load it into cloud storage.
For a smooth and successful data migration, experts need to break this monolith into fragments, turning each fragment into a separate service within a cloud infrastructure. It’s a rather time-consuming process that requires thorough planning, distribution of tasks, and expensive resources.
The larger and the older the in-house product is, the harder and costlier its transformation and the longer it takes to complete. Quite often, the effort is split into two flows:
- Building a new cloud-based solution. The cloud development team (team A) works on developing a cloud-native product with the improved features and functionality of the on-premise product.
- Maintaining on-premise solutions. The support team (team B) keeps on-premise products operational to make them available to enterprise employees and prepare them for data migration.
We often use this approach when transitioning our clients’ legacy systems within cloud transformation projects. In some cases, we have to split the process into several phases to secure smooth data migration and flawless structure enablement.
For example, we helped 360 View move from the legacy system to a hosting agnostic cloud solution in four phases: mapping out a migration strategy, breaking the monolith of the on-premise product into modules, building the infrastructure for these modules, and enabling a personalized dashboarding module to accelerate third-party service integration and improve data visualization.
Improving market reach and product competitiveness via strategic cloud transformation
The potential for dividing the entire transformation into rather complex phases along with the necessity to introduce additional features are the reasons why we strongly recommend against assigning the task of cloud application development and data migration to in-house teams.
To handle such a monumental process within optimal estimated delivery times, decision-makers need to consult external cloud experts and collaborate with cloud application development partners — otherwise, there is a risk of entering a loop that would slowly drain the company’s budget and deliver more productivity issues instead of results.
The risk of vendor lock-in
Committing to cloud application development means committing to a certain vendor providing the servers, maintenance services, security measures, and everything that keeps the cloud service running. The downside of such commitment is that companies become unable to change a vendor for a more competitive one—at least, not without losing access to their cloud services and going back to square one.
A multi-cloud option allows bypassing vendor lock-in limitations and helps enterprises feel more secure about their choices—but this alternative has its issues to tackle. The more vendors the company works with, the higher the risk of data management and compliance issues. While not completely impossible, a multi-cloud approach requires in-depth expertise and assistance from experienced cloud-based application development partners who can consult and onboard enterprise workers on the nuance of a multi-cloud system.
Misconceptions about cloud application development pricing
Sometimes, marketing messages and campaigns make the word "cost-effective" synonymous with "low-price" when describing the benefits of custom cloud solutions. As a result, some stakeholders approach discussing the price of cloud application development services with false assumptions.
While it's not a major issue, it still distorts expectations and may result in wrong priorities. Therefore, it’s important to remember that application development on cloud is a high-cost/high ROI investment, which pays back with reduced maintenance costs, superior scalability, and delivers long-term value by enabling easier application upgrades.
4) Find experts who will build you a team
The most vital step to a successful cloud application development project is building a powerful cloud CoE (center of excellence), i.e., identifying and gathering the right experts to turn ideated cloud features into real solutions.
In general, a cloud application development team usually consists of UX designers who visualize flows and roles of users within the future cloud app backend and frontend developers who build the app's features and connect it to data storage.
But in reality, the team setup may change and expand depending on the project's scale and goals, so your task isn't to look for designers and engineers. Instead, you should concentrate on two key roles that will then consult you on the team roster and help you find the right experts for your project.
If you want to explore the value cloud transformation can deliver to your enterprise, finding and consulting a cloud architect should be your priority. This expert will be in charge of building the entire cloud strategy for your organization, considering your team size, the range of tasks and services, and the scale of work.
Additionally, a cloud architect performs a number of such vital tasks as:
- Determining the roles necessary for the project and the development team size
- Selecting and assigning developers, establishing the amount of resources required for completing the project
- Cooperating with the company’s IT department to ensure a smooth and secure deployment of cloud services
- Maintaining cloud applications and evaluating the performance of cloud infrastructure
Business analysts are crucial for developing a cloud application that is the perfect fit for your enterprise workflow and goals. They tune to your business vision, expectations, and long-term adjectives to communicate this information to developers working on the application.
The responsibilities of business analysts also include the following:
- Communicating expectations to stakeholders, explaining each milestone of the development journey and its importance
- Ensuring the end product embodies the features you need to achieve growth and streamline your processes
- Estimating the cost of cloud application development depending on the volume of work and time limit
- Meeting your end expectations and helping integrate the product into your company’s workflow
5) Map out the milestones of cloud application development
Speaking from professional experience, the trickiest part of application development for cloud is that every project is unique and dependent on the client’s specifics. As a result, there is no one-for-all template to follow, no formula to comply with. That’s why we suggest finding and consulting an experienced cloud technology partner before you proceed.
Partnering with external experts will let you outline and de-risk your cloud implementation journey, pinpointing key phases and potential dependencies.
During this step you ideate the cloud-based product you want for your enterprise: what needs it’s supposed to cover, and what departments will interact with it. Within a discovery session, you also determine a cloud deployment model that fits your business, establish budget and deadlines. By aligning your suggestions and vision with the business analyst’s perspective, you’ll be able to establish the most realistic and achievable goals as well as calculate the optimal volume of resources and investments necessary for each stage.
- Design and prototyping
At this stage, the UX/UI designers of your assigned cloud application development team visualize your idea and provide versions of the future app’s interface by creating several prototypes to test out various iterations of your vision. The goal of this step is to capture user flows and interactions within the upcoming cloud application, ensuring a smooth and intuitive experience for the end users. The approved version will then become a foundation for the future product’s UX layout.
- DevelopmentThe approved prototype is sent over to the development team for implementation based on the predefined cloud application development tech stack. They then connect the app to the database and ensure its functionality. Depending on the app’s purpose and scale, this stage can involve a wide range of developers and experts, from big data engineers to data scientists.
- QA and testing
After the development stage is complete, QA engineers and testers check the app for performance issues and try it out from the end user’s perspective, taking note of any errors and bugs they come across. After the product is polished and approved for deployment, the cloud development team proceeds with the launch.
- Maintenance and support
The cloud application development team continues supervising the product after its deployment to ensure that data migration and product integration was a success. At this stage, the team is responsible for troubleshooting, addressing user complaints, app monitoring, and patching.
The experts also work closely with the enterprise departments, assisting with onboarding and advocating innovation across the company. Doing so allows business leaders to address the issue of organizational resistance and help employees interact with the new app and use its advantages to maximize their productivity.
This baseline of cloud application development may change or expand depending on the scale and specifics of your project. However, knowing these supporting pillars would allow you to navigate across your potential journey and the nuances of each stage.
Using cloud capabilities to transform enterprise accounting at a global scale
Cloud application development can be an investment that turns the tables on the competition and empowers companies with new capabilities and advantages. However, to make such a positive impact, decision-makers must remain realistic about what they expect to achieve with cloud computing and whether they’re ready for a transformation.
As a vetted technological partner with many successful cloud development projects under our belt, we can conclude this guide with final insightful takeaways for stakeholders:
- Stay true to your vision
Every custom product you adopt or implement is the extension of your unique business culture. You know your company, industry, and employees’ needs—and the end product must be the culmination of your knowledge. Therefore, don’t settle for a cookie-cutter approach or a bleak compromise. Feel free to share your ideas and suggestions during discovery sessions, ask questions, and explore the boundaries of possible. Your technology partner will assist you with putting your vision into a functional technological framework or offer a viable alternative to compensate for the parts that can’t be implemented.
- Go for long-term value
Thinking about what your future tool should be able to do for you in the long run is important. However, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to calculate the value you can receive right after deploying the application. You want your app to become an easily manageable constant in your workflow, not another system that can become too cumbersome to handle and update. For that reason, stay attentive to the trends and patterns that will define the future of usability and cloud solution efficiency. Communicating with your cloud application development team can also yield useful insights and suggestions.
Moreover, experienced cloud architects and developers usually plan ahead by implementing emerging best practices into the app design and ensuring that its functionality and capabilities will remain relevant for years to come.
- Invite external experts
Some companies are reluctant to consult technology partners, believing that expanding their in-house development teams with new roles should be enough to develop a custom cloud solution. However, finding cloud development professionals who would synergize with the company culture and offer in-depth domain expertise takes time and resources that could have been used more productively.
Additionally, putting too much pressure on in-house teams can lead to a drop in productivity due to the increased amount of tasks and organizational changes. A technology partner offers more than skills and minds for the job—they handle the entire development journey, letting your teams focus on other vital enterprise processes and providing a valuable fresh perspective on your workflow.
If you’re looking forward to an insightful consultation from Trinetix cloud architects and business analysts, let’s chat. Having successfully designed and deployed multiple unique cloud solutions for various business niches, our experts will help you ideate and create a cloud product that will break limits and deliver results.