For developers and IT experts, the benefits of cloud-native applications are clear. Building apps in the cloud is fast, it’s easy to manage, and it’s the perfect environment for collaborative development and testing. It also enables them to create things that simply wouldn’t be possible using traditional approaches that incorporate on-premises tech. But what about the wider business? What’s in it for them? And more importantly, if cloud native is going to drive widespread transformation, how will those outside of IT need to transform alongside it?

To help us better understand why businesses are embracing cloud-native strategies, what challenges they’re facing, and what the future of cloud-native apps will look like, Capgemini recently surveyed over 900 executives from a broad range of sectors, to understand how widely cloud-native strategies are being embraced and what everyone wants to get from them.

So what does it take to make a cloud-native strategy successful, and how is it completely reshaping organisations?

Why Are Businesses Going Cloud Native?

One thing that immediately stood out from our research is that cloud native is set for a period of significant growth. Currently, 15% of all new enterprise IT applications are cloud native—a figure set to grow to 32% by 2020. That’s more than a 100% increase in the total number of cloud-native apps deployed over the next three years.

So, what’s driving businesses to increase cloud-native adoption so significantly? Our survey identified three top drivers for adopting a cloud-native strategy:

  • 74% of companies have adopted cloud native to improve business agility.
  • 70% adopted it to improve collaboration with external partners.
  • 66% embraced cloud native to improve customer experiences.

By enabling faster application development, testing and deployment, a cloud-native strategy naturally helps to increase business velocity and responsiveness to change.

Because multiple users can easily spin up cloud-native PaaS environments and work in them at the same time, it’s also a boon for development collaboration, especially when external partners are involved. Faster application development means faster responses to customer demands, and easier development means stronger, more intuitive and user-friendly apps—both helping to improve overall customer experiences. All three of those benefits—greater velocity, easier collaboration and better customer experiences—add up to one thing: a more nimble, effective and innovative business.

With transformational benefits like those on the table, it’s clear to see why businesses are keen to increase adoption of cloud-native strategies. But, for the entire business to reap the rewards offered by a cloud-native strategy, the entire business must evolve.

How Cloud Native Is Reshaping Organisations

For businesses that want to adopt a cloud-native strategy, evolving the IT organisation towards DevOps, changing methodologies, and giving people access to cloud-native platforms and tools are just the beginning.

When we think about digital transformation, we tend to think of new tools enabling the business and its people to solve new challenges, or operate in new ways. The tech comes first, then the transformation follows. In the case of cloud native, the two seem to be happening in tandem. Enterprise-wide transformation is being driven by cloud-native technology, but it’s also being driven proactively so that the business is able to fully capitalise on the cloud-native opportunity, particularly by reducing time to market.

According to Abby Kearns, Executive Director of Cloud Foundry Foundation: “Cloud-native capabilities, married with a digital transformation strategy, will enable enterprises to become entirely new businesses.”

Her choice of words there is very important. The relationship between cloud native and digital transformation isn’t simply one of cause and effect—it’s a marriage. To get the most from cloud native, the average business must transform in some capacity, and to transform the right way, the business needs the right cloud tools and capabilities.

Cloud native is shaping up to be one of the most significant shifts in development methodology, IT strategy and business culture over the next three years.