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Microsoft Industry Blogs – United Kingdom

Thanks to the cloud, it’s now easier than ever for a business to start and scale as they grow. No longer do you have large upfront costs to gain access to on-premises servers. You only pay for what you need, when you need it.

This allows for much greater flexibility and faster innovation, making it easier for you to develop and scale your applications. Sounds like the perfect combination for a start-up business. But it’s not only good for start-ups; every company can benefit from moving to the cloud.

This approach is called cloud-native and there’s a lot we can learn from these organisations that are around us.

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A cloud-native approach makes you more resilient

When your success depends on flexibility, innovation, and compliancy it’s important to have something that makes it easier for you to achieve just that – particularly in such a fast-moving, competitive world.

In a recent survey from Capgemini, 84 percent of IT leaders have said that moving to cloud-native has helped them increase revenue and reduce development and operating costs [1].

In 2012, the Bruce brothers thought if we can book a haircut or buy clothes online, why can’t we buy, let, or sell a house? Why not make the process easy and transparent for the customer? And thus, Purplebricks was born.

“We combine great people with great technology. That means established estate agents – who we call local property experts – and the convenience of modern technology,” explains David Kavanagh, Purplebricks CTO. “We kind of grew up with Azure through the years. We didn’t want to have a number of people looking after servers. We didn’t want to develop the capabilities to be fair; we were a group of just seven engineers launching in the UK.”

That seven has now turned into 140. From a small UK start-up, they have now launched in Australia, the US, and have stakes in the property market in Canada and Germany.

“Having Azure to be able to scale up, scale out, and do this very rapidly was a key part of our success,” says Kavanagh.

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Enabling effortless innovation securely

“Part of the Purplebricks journey is to be customer-centric, to find out what the consumer needs, and build based on those needs,” Kavanagh says.

In the Capgemini survey, 81 percent of those considered cloud-native leaders said it improved their ability to be more innovative [1].

Purplebricks use a platform as a service model (PaaS). That means Azure maintains all their software patches and upgrades. Along with the savings from the reduction (or elimination) of maintenance costs, this means they can deploy quicker and more securely.

They’re now able to adapt to their customer expectations quickly, and with ease. Innovation is effortless, and they can keep disrupting their industry with positive, forward-thinking change.

For consumers, cybersecurity is second only to quality so it’s vital you ensure valuable data is kept safe to build that ever-important customer trust. In Azure, that’s easy. With multi-layered, built-in security controls and threat intelligence, you can stay on top of any new industry threats or compliances.

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The secret to success

Going cloud-native will make it easier for your organisation to be more adaptable, secure, productive, and innovative. But here’s a little secret – you won’t be successful if you don’t foster the right culture to match.

“It sounds corny or a little cliché, but the culture is really important,” he says. “Good software is the product of a happy team.”

Advice from Kavanagh? “Hire smart people, give them accountability, responsibility, let them fail, let them be creative, and foster that culture.”

A 2017 Raconteur survey found highly engaged businesses had 50 percent employee retention [2]. Overall, engaged staff were 44 percent more productive.

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Blue-sky thinking

Look at your business goals and future plans and then see how a cloud-native approach can make your business better.

For Purplebricks, the customer is at the heart of what they do. “We’re looking at any technology that will benefit the consumer,” says Kavanagh on their future. “Anything that’s going to drive the customer experience forward is something that we’d look to identify.”

They’re already experimenting with microservices, kubernetes, and AI to see how they can improve the customer experience. Something that is easy thanks to Azure.

However, at the core of everything, Kavanagh still stresses the importance of a human-centric approach.
“Whilst I love technology, I think it’s people that make the difference,” he says. “Motivated people will use technology to the best of their ability and will bring out results rather than a technology focussed approach.”

Find out more

An introduction to PaaS
Discover why 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies trust Azure

[1] https://www.capgemini.com/cloud-native-comes-of-age-full-report/ 

[2] https://www.raconteur.net/employee-engagement-benefits-2017