Data complexity hindering innovation

MongoDB Inc

By Guillaume Meister, Solutions Architects Manager, MongoDB ANZ
Friday, 17 June, 2022

Data complexity hindering innovation

In the digital age, the success of an organisation is often tied to how fast it can build and deploy new solutions, software and apps, and how it uses a growing dataset to make smart decisions and find new growth areas.

Unfortunately, organisations’ rush to adopt cloud and digital technologies in recent years has resulted in a growing data and cloud complexity.

This is hindering many organisations’ ability to innovate and creating a silent but rampant Innovation Tax.

Identifying the factors behind this complexity, as well as prioritising developer empowerment and productivity, are the keys to navigating this new digitisation crossroad and unlocking the next decade of innovation.

Developers: new innovation divers, but complexity hindering their efforts

With software and applications now being the currency of the new economy, developers have become the ones driving business outcomes and innovation.

Yet, they continue to be misunderstood, mismanaged and marginalised. Most organisations are failing to understand what developers do, and the vital role they play. As a result they are not being given the right environment or tools needed to do their job best, hindering their ability to deliver value and innovate.

A recent survey across ANZ showed that a majority of developers (59%) describe their organisation’s data architecture as complex and an overwhelming 75% feel that complexity is a limiting factor when it comes to innovation.

Organisations still leveraging complex and legacy technologies are doing so at a detriment to the productivity of their development teams, and ultimately to the detriment of their business.

The ‘lift and shift’ approach to cloud doing more harm than good

First, there’s the issue of legacy data infrastructure which, as the aforementioned survey pointed out, is a significant blocker of innovation.

But even when organisations are moving to the cloud, which can be a fantastic vehicle to innovate faster and more efficiently, benefits are not guaranteed.

Many organisations are just taking existing infrastructure and ‘lifting and shifting’ them to the cloud, adding services as they go. And as requirements for modern applications grow, so too can the underlying infrastructure bloat as more things are added (ie, search, mobile and more).

But problems on-premises are also problems in the cloud, and the more services and apps are being added the more these problems and complexity grow, with clunky spaghetti type data infrastructures consuming developers’ time and organisations’ money.

Developers end up spending their precious time maintaining multiple different data models, integrating data sources, supporting legacy systems and bolting on security fixes, instead of developing the next generation of digital products and applications.

Cultivating a new developer-driven innovation mindset focused on simplicity

Organisations still leveraging complex and legacy technologies are doing so at a detriment to the productivity of their development teams.

Moving away from this lift and shift approach is all about taking a more holistic approach to understand what would reduce complexity and empower developers to contribute to the organisation’s innovation agenda.

Developers should be put at the centre of the innovation strategy, and be given more decision power rather than stay in the ‘tech people in the back end’ box.

Leaders heading up digital transformation initiatives need to be focused on how fast they can deploy an application, how quickly they can iterate on it as well as how predictably they can schedule application deployment.

Australian organisations leading the way

Some Australian organisations are putting developers at the centre of their innovation strategy, resulting in strong business growth and increased efficiencies.

For example, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has recently conducted an ambitious cloud transformation project. Empowering developers with the right tools and putting them at the centre of its innovation strategy, the bank was able to reduce data and cloud complexity, leading to a 60% reduction in cloud usage costs, a 20% improvement in performance and a 30% increase in resilience.

Fast-growing local SMBs such as My Muscle Chef have also taken a similar approach, and by putting developers at the centre of their innovation strategy the business was able to get insights into its customer base and consumption habits that led to building and bringing to market more products, and very personalised offerings and support. Using the right tools and cloud approach, they’re able to innovate fast and keep expanding their customer base without an army of developers.

When looking at the companies that are on the bleeding edge of innovation, they’re not outsourcing their innovation to third parties. Rather, these organisations have a business-driven leadership team that understands the complexities of how software is built today and want to empower their development teams with solutions that make them more productive.

Image credit: ©

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