To win the digital world cup, the most innovative companies are training for the cloud

When England and Tunisia line up for their first match in one of the world’s biggest sporting event this evening, their formations will be based on months of work by their respective managers, their backroom teams, and the squad. Along with 30 other national teams, they will have logged hundreds of hours cumulatively in training, studying their opponents, discussing tactics and strategy in-depth, all in the hopes of their team advancing and ultimately winning the tournament.

It will be through digital experiences that most fans will follow and support their favourite side across the globe. Like a world-class football team, the power of digital channels – from media to retail – lies in their ability to rapidly scale to meet consumer demand. According to Eurostat, 68% of Internet users in the European Union shopped online in 2017. The same survey reported that three of the top four most popular purchases online included clothes and sports goods (64%), travel and holiday accommodation (53%), and tickets for events (39%). Whether it’s a site offering team merchandise, online booking for airline and accommodation, a taxi service getting fans to and from the match, or online food delivery for watch-parties back at home, all of these experiences are delivered through highly complex digital transactions and processes that require just as much focus, experience, and operational excellence as the most successful football teams.

>See also: World Cup 2018: cyber scams reaching fever-pitch 

To deliver a seamless, scalable experience that today’s consumers expect, the most innovative companies are investing massively in dynamic infrastructures like cloud services and containers. For progressive enterprises such as Europe’s largest airline, Ryanair, the mentality of the company – not just the IT team – has become, “Ryanair used to be an airline with a website. Now it’s a website with an airline.”

Football managers are also constantly looking for an edge over the competition – it’s a similar story for the leaders of digital teams tackling and implementing the cloud and other digital transformation initiatives. Savvy business leaders are pushing their organisations to build in the cloud, to further their speed of development and improve their future velocity, so they can react to market conditions faster. In particular, the cloud can benefit legacy systems or applications that may have been under-invested in for many years, by making it easier to scale up and down dynamic workloads, and can be attractive from a cost perspective.

Business doesn’t stop while an organisation is undergoing a digital transformation. C-suite leaders have to be somewhat cautious because cloud migrations are hard. However, big moments of truth pop up where you have to be ready to handle surges and deal with issues before the customer is impacted. Using measurement and data that actually understand how your application is performing in real-time – from the customer experience in the browser or mobile app, all the way to the infrastructure underpinning the application – is critical to truly know how the process is going.

>See also: What does the 2018 World Cup teach us about resilience?

More often than not, measurement is done after the fact, and it’s really hard to understand the results if you don’t even know what you were trying to achieve in the first place. This summer’s tournament is one of those moments which your organisation must be ready for a surge of traffic, purchases, or customer engagement and if you don’t have visibility across your application, it’s like giving yourself a red card and playing with a man down.

The keys to successful cloud adoption and the organisations leading the way

The key to success in this market is having access to the right data to make intelligent decisions. Joachim Loew, the head coach of the German national team, famously used wearable technologies in preparation for the 2014 tournament to “monitor everything from speed, distance, and heart rate of each player…crunch the data after training sessions and see how exactly each athlete performed. Coaches then used the information to plan future workouts more effectively and make better personnel decisions.” The most innovative organisations today also understand how crucial it is to measure everything that’s going on in their technology stack and use that insight to improve their decision making which ultimately drives an amazing customer experience with their customers.

>See also: FA warns over cyber security ahead of the football World Cup in Russia

Like Loew, these companies have utilised early planning and instrumentation to achieve successful cloud migrations. First, they establish a baseline for their applications to establish metrics to rely on throughout the migration to determine if a problem is occurring, as well as a validation step in determining when the migration is complete. Second, they understand the application and service architecture through visibility into every key dependency in their technology environment in order to prioritise the migration order. By leveraging Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they verify the cloud-readiness of their on-premise applications and servers which results in creating a winning migration priority list. Finally, once the desired performance of the application is achieved in the cloud, ongoing visibility enables these teams to accelerate initiatives and experiment in the cloud.

Move faster, with confidence.

Sourced by Eveline Öhrlich, Director of Market Strategy at New Relic.

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future