Cloud computing is a cornerstone of digital transformation for many reasons: the speed, scalability, cost savings, and availability of its architecture. But successful digital transformation means more than just migrating applications to the cloud.

It means building them to be cloud-native from the ground up.

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If you’re confused by the term “cloud-native,” however, you’re not alone. A new survey of 500+ global IT leaders and developers conducted for OutSystems by Lucid found that more than half (53%) are — at best — just “somewhat familiar” with the topic.

The OutSystems study compared the behavior of organizations using cloud-native technology today — cloud-native leaders — and the laggards who have yet to adopt it. In this blog post, we’ll explore the secrets behind the success of cloud-native leaders that the study revealed.

But first, what exactly are cloud-native applications?

Defining Cloud-Native

Cloud-native applications are designed from the ground up to take advantage of what cloud computing infrastructure provides: flexibility, scale, resilience, and elasticity.

Technologies typically associated with cloud-native platforms include Kubernetes, Linux containers, serverless functions, and microservices, along with a long list of specialized cloud-native services for compute, data, security, networking, management, etc.

This way, cloud-native development helps organizations turn ideas into differentiating digital experiences for customers, employees, and partners alike — creating a competitive advantage and helping to accelerate growth.

Key Insights from the Cloud-Native Report

While close to three quarters of all respondents (72%) believe that by the end of 2023, the majority of their apps will be cloud-native, the leaders are already reaping the benefits.

Leaders report that 68% of their apps are supported by cloud-native technology. So, what do these leaders know that the laggards don’t? Here are five lessons to consider:

  • 1. Get to know cloud-native. Success begins with knowledge — and maybe a little curiosity. Only about one in three laggards (34%) have formally evaluated the technology, and 15% have given it no consideration at all.
  • 2. Select the right development tools. One of the greatest disconnects between leaders and laggards is the priority that leaders place on identifying the right tools and platforms for cloud-native development. While leaders consider this the No. 1 cloud-native challenge, laggards place it fifth. Clearly, the choice of tools and platforms is a critical one.
  • 3. Embrace complexity. Architectural complexity is a close second among cloud-native challenges for leaders, while it ranks sixth for laggards. Leaders have learned that leveraging a microservice architecture is more complicated than developing traditional monolithic applications. This also helps to explain why they place great importance on development tool selection. They realize that managing and overcoming the architectural complexity of cloud-native development requires them to use sophisticated low-code development tools that can automate and abstract much of that complexity.
  • 4. Maximize your talent. While leaders and laggards alike recognize that they face a severe talent shortage, leaders are taking a practical approach to this challenge. More than seven in ten leaders (72%) work with low-code application development platforms, allowing developers to streamline and automate the development process to dramatically increase productivity.
  • 5. Focus on business-critical needs. Cloud-native leaders and laggards also agree that the technology has the potential to help businesses address their most critical use cases. In fact, 66% of leaders identify customer-facing apps such as customer onboarding, self-service portals, and e-commerce as their top use cases. For that reason, it’s important to look for cloud-native development tools to help you create innovative consumer-facing or business applications that quickly scale to millions of users.

Get Your Copy of the Cloud-Native Development: Ready or Not?

Learn even more about what cloud-native leaders are doing to set themselves apart. Download the full report, Cloud-Native Development: Ready or Not?