George Mironescu
George Mironescu (Associate Research Director, App Development and Delivery, Europe)

What is Cloud Native?

Before diving into the topic, we need to provide some context as to what we define here as Cloud Native. A very salient question jumping almost immediately in our Cloud Native conversations is what exactly it is, what are the components that make up or not Cloud Native.

We obviously recognize that this has been a very quickly evolving topic, and depending on who you talk to, you may have different interpretations as to what comes into the composition of Cloud Native. In recent years, new technologies have gained acceptance and consumption – especially among born-in-the-cloud companies and vendors – and that can complicate discussions.

However, for us, the intersection of containers, containers orchestration (largely Kubernetes), microservices and DevOps forms the foundation to consider an application cloud native.

What’s the State of Adoption?

Today, 57% of the organizations in Europe recognize they have less than a quarter of their custom apps running in a cloud environment as Cloud Native. Further, an additional 19% of organizations have between 25 and 34% of their custom apps running in a cloud environment as Cloud Native.

So vastly, three quarters of organizations in Europe remain in the early phases of technical maturity for their cloud native app estates. Nonetheless, the ambitions for adoption are very high, whereby towards the end of 2024, 44% of organizations indicate they will have over a third of their app workloads cloud native – compared to just 25% today.

We have been gauging the appetite for cloud native application transformation for the past 3 years and every year we observe a high desire to evolve app estates to cloud native very quickly. But also, every year after, we measure different realities compared to previous year’s aspirations – where the main observation is that driving cloud native is hard.

Cloud Native is hard not just technically, but also at a higher level – at organizational and cultural level.

Looking at Cloud Native through that lens, it’s 40% of organizations in Europe that have refined and standardized their Cloud Native processes across their entire chain of activities. Yet it’s only a quarter of these more advanced organizations – or 11% of the total market – that managed to infuse continuous improvement loops in.

Those businesses are the ones that are truly reaping the benefits of Cloud Native at scale – and that typically disrupt into the rest of the market through their app delivery engines. However, progressing to this Cloud Native maturity model is a steep incline, it requires efforts and commitment from many parts of the organization and from stakeholders at the higher levels of the corporate pyramid.

Key challenges with Cloud Native

Architectural complexity is something that needs to be recognized in Cloud Native environments. Everything becomes multidimensional, highly dynamic, and transient.

There are many moving parts and the pace at which they come and go can be challenging for teams that have been working in a very linear fashion.

This cascades into challenges related to skills, automation, working in lockstep with other teams/cultural, meeting regulatory compliance, ensuring security is robust, managing technical, driving adequate observability, etc.

We see specific organizational functions being affected by such challenges to varying degrees, depending on the role they carry and the placement in the value chain. The challenges in a Cloud Native environment must be understood from the vantage point of each team/organizational function.

Considerations for Moving Forward with Cloud Native

We see that app delivery platforms, as engines for Cloud Native delivery, receive unflattering reviews in terms of satisfaction from developers. One in two developers give lukewarm assessments to the internal developer platforms they are provided.

Furthermore, one in two organizations recognizes that shadow application development happens outside their designated app development and delivery platforms.

To excite developers and drive deeper purposes for platform engineering teams, organizations need to improve their developer experience. As per IDC’s 2023 survey, unifying developer experience is viewed as the best strategy to improve performance and productivity across development teams and activities.

Developer experience becomes particularly important in a Cloud Native context, as technical, process and organizational complexity surge in Cloud Native environments.

Streamlining developer workflows brings incalculable benefits into the business, ranging from compliance to a foundation for architectural consistency, including benefits at financial level long term (e.g. standardization of apps, containment of technical drift and better management of technical debt).

Further, looking at Cloud Native from a strategic perspective, the role and importance of architecture cannot be overemphasized. IDC’s 2023 Modern App Delivery survey shows that Cloud Native is a top area that needs to be prioritized from a system design/architecture perspective over the next 12 months.

However, poor architectural decisions can be very consequential and lead to suboptimal digital landscapes, including at the level of technical debt, security, scalability and operating cost.


If you’d like to find out more about IDC’s research around Cloud Native in Europe, please contact George Mironescu, lead for IDC’s European Cloud Native and Modern App Development Strategies research program.

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