We’ve all been there. Fired up our online banking app only to get a server error. Tried to buy something online but the app times out before we can complete the process. Attempted to download an online catalog only to have the image loading stall.

Customers today have high expectations for how apps should work. But when those expectations don’t sync with the actual experience — it can make or break a company’s reputation and revenue.

The fact is that IT is facing a whole new set of challenges powered by an application revolution where the ability to deliver high-quality digital experiences to customers is the driving force behind how IT shapes it’s cloud strategy. Multicloud and hybrid cloud deployments are now the norm for enterprise organizations. And the typical IT portfolio is expanding so quickly to embrace new platforms and development models that opportunities for application growth and migration between different IT environments is at an all-time high.

IDC recently published the results of an Infobrief* surveying more than 2,000 IT decision-makers, developers, and line of business cloud influencers. In it, they found that the complexity around a given application portfolio increases substantially as customers right-size workload placement, invest in new technologies, and move from ad-hoc cloud designs to centers of excellence. And it’s sort of a no-brainer that dealing with this complexity is not going to get any easier. In fact, respondents said they expect the typical application portfolio to grow by 50 percent in the next two years.

Earlier this year, I talked about some emerging trends including those around the challenge of leveraging legacy applications, the growing relevance of the edge, and increased need for data transparency. Today, we continue to see an aggressive shift to modular application design as well as growing adoption of technologies like microservices and containers that are so crucial to innovation.

The IDC research shows that more than 58 percent of compute and storage resources are now at the edge or remote. And according to the survey, every business application has already four to eight other dependencies. Survey respondents also expect application interdependencies to rise from 21 percent today to 51 percent in the next few years. This means that the typical application portfolio is now becoming substantially disaggregated and yet highly interdependent.

While we don’t expect the average application portfolio distribution to change dramatically in two years, we do expect that churn of applications — new builds, rewrites, migrations, decommissions — to be substantial. In fact, the study showed that for many customers, the number of applications being migrated, built new, or retired annually will often exceed 50 percent of their current installed base of applications.

Clearly, the future application portfolio is a fluid environment where workloads and data move between environments based on business priorities. This application “churn” requires IT to think differently about governance and management models to support this increasingly dynamic and agile environment.

The next two years are going to bring momentous change in how IT works to manage all those moving parts. We are starting to see a new generation of cloud architects and the rise of cloud centers of excellence where app developers work along IT Ops, security, DevOps, and infrastructure teams to drive design quality by optimizing across different clouds and line of business organizations. This new collaborative approach will result in aligning innovation with speed and agility and the need to ensure governance, compliance, and manage costs.

At Cisco, we’re here to help. We can do a lot to help customers shift to an enterprise-ready cloud today. Watch this space for more innovations from us to help customers with all of their cloud imperatives.

Learn more about the IDC survey and Cisco’s cloud solutions:



Kip Compton

No longer with Cisco