There’s no doubt that 2020 has presented the world with unprecedented times - households under lockdown to protect public health, food shortages, huge supermarket queues and social distancing. At the same time, a huge change is happening in the way people, businesses and countries operate ... and technology is taking centre stage.
From Terra Drones delivering medical supplies to AI systems helping healthcare workers detect and monitor the disease more efficiently, technology has never the forefront in a more integral way to unify under a common cause and protect the vulnerable.
It isn’t just technology innovation hubs or large enterprises who lead in these fields, but everyday businesses that are appreciating how much of an enabler technology can be to their workforce and how relevant it is to their business continuity. Being able to scale services to meet demand either through a change in consumer behaviours or through internal user demand on core business services, adjusting at pace to accommodate new situations is critical for business survival.
Modern, remote ways of working are more of the rule rather than the exception here at Appvia. Collaboration tools such as Slack and Google's G Suite are used daily as are developer and infrastructure tools like Cloud Providers and Github. There is obviously no substitute for being in a room together physically to flesh out ideas or engineering challenges on a whiteboard, but we're adapting and utilising technology to stay connected and collaborative.
Here's our advice for businesses who may not be leveraging technology during these difficult and uncertain times...
If your teams work more regularly in specific products such as Slack, then integrating other third-party products into it can really help a team's efficiency. Examples of this would be integrating your code repositories to report changes i.e. new Pull Requests or Reviews requested by team members before those changes can be merged in. Additionally, you can write your own custom integrations to existing products like cloud, to improve visibility of changes, costs or general activity you find useful as a team or organisation. This can also extend to more critical forms of communication such as production issues or security warnings that require a more rapid response from team members, increasing the likelihood of action to be taken at a quicker rate than through email alerts.
Although Cloud gets a lot of air time in the industry, a lot of application services still run on invested infrastructure, either in office buildings or co-located. Depending on the design of the service, the infrastructure and technologies surrounding it can often be a bottleneck and cause scalability challenges. Looking at porting services that drastically need to scale with demand to the cloud is a good way of removing that bottleneck.
When development teams are committing features, it’s critical that there is visibility on the testing outcome of those features centrally. Having a CI system that shows what is failing where will help speed up remediation or developers tripping over one another. Preventing any features being able to be merged on CI failures will also keep the hygiene of the code up. Integrating CI into collaboration tools like Slack gives teams instant feedback in a central place and helps improve that transparency on what is going on.
It is very common for project time pressures to compromise on security, especially if there is a big drive for change to help remediate other issues or new product ideas. Scaling securely is a difficult task, especially when it isn’t a visible tangible feature the business can appreciate. Our advice though is to make sure that you have a plan before any form of adoption of new technology. There is a huge wealth of experience and knowledge in the industry but it is a hard skill to acquire and time consuming to learn. Try to lean on products, tools or reusable modules that offer repeatable ways to automate and deliver services in a secure way. Leverage SaaS features, such as Github's vulnerability identification that at least enable developers to quickly visualise and remediate potential code vulnerabilities and exploits. Make sure that you are aware of gaps in your workflows, products and processes and have a plan to remediate effectively.
The current situation is forcing many people and businesses to evaluate current technology choices and setups, some of which will accelerate cloud adoption beyond the speed they are comfortable with. The move to new technologies, especially cloud, is complex, and with teams working remotely it becomes even harder.
Appvia wants to support businesses in these difficult times by providing a 30-minute FREE consultation with one of our Solutions Architects.