A mixture of cloud and on-premise technology will shape the future of business. Here’s how to begin optimizing for success:
We’ve all seen that moment in a movie or TV show where a high-stakes gambler goes “all in” — shoving stacks of hard-won chips into the middle of the table and laying down their cards. No matter what happens next, you know that person is either very confident about winning, or courageous enough to risk it all.
When those working in IT go “all-in,” on the other hand, the only safe bet is getting fired — which explains why hybrid IT is quickly become the standard operating model.
As revolutionary as cloud computing has become for provisioning workloads and managing resources, for example, few organizations are prepared to go all-in on the cloud. Security and compliance remains a concern for many companies, as does the cost of investment, migration issues the complexity of managing multiple environments.
Going all-in with an internal on on-premise approach isn’t really an option either. You can’t be as innovative as many firms want to be when data center capacity limits the ability to develop new products and services. Digital transformation — which could include everything from harnessing big data and analytics to empowering employees and customers with mobile technologies — will always be on the back burner if you can’t easily provision new features and capabilities.
Finally, the rise of more nimble startups disrupting financial services, transportation, retail and other industries means most organizations have to strike some kind of balance between using both the cloud and on-premise IT to deliver a single workload or application.
That’s hybrid IT. You’re probably already operating that way in some form. The challenge now is to figure out how to fine-tune or optimize your approach to offer the best results for the business. This is just one way to think about it:
1. Work Backwards From The Business Problem (or Opportunity)
Most companies want to either grow their number of customer accounts, increase the volume of business they drive through their best accounts, or both. It becomes very difficult to do any of it, however, when the left hand of the company doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.
If the marketing department is generating leads that the sales team already has covered, for example, growth becomes difficult. Beyond the break-fix or troubleshooting work they’re asked to do, IT departments should look at the underlying data and applications that could resolve them, which may be the best place to begin optimizing the way you pursue hybrid IT.
Customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation and other collaboration tools may be among the applications where data is siloed or poorly managed in the scenario above. Identifying those applications up front helps prioritize towards a solution.
2. Determine How Close To The Middle The Problem Sits
Traditional, on-premise IT was managed locally and in a highly manual way. At the other end of the spectrum is a fully automated, remotely hosted application in a public cloud. Hybrid IT blends the benefits of both with greater efficiency, monitoring and security. Ask yourself three questions to figure out next steps:
- What’s the financial model to support this business outcome? Moving to the cloud can mean looking at IT from less of a CAPEX to more of an OPEX perspective. Figure out where and when a pay-per-use option might make the most sense.
- What visibility do we have into performance certainty? Based on whatever monitoring is in place today, look at the complexity in your current state and estimate what kind of integration challenges could emerge in a hybrid IT scenario.
- What will the business process changes look like? Hybrid IT could involve everything from rationalizing some of our existing infrastructure and increasing virtualization to adding more orchestration and management capabilities. What matters most to the business, however, will be the performance of applications and how they do their daily work. Map out those journeys in advance as best you can to avoid any surprises.
3. Build The Hybrid Team That Can Support Hybrid IT
Using a mixture of cloud and on-premise infrastructure will not only change the way IT departments are run, but who works in and with them.
Take a high-level look at the skill sets and competencies across your organization today. Who might be reassigned or freed up to offer other value to the organization as hybrid IT is optimized? Where might there be gaps in knowledge of monitoring tools, integration capabilities or data management? How will this influence who you hire and when?
Of course, IT departments will not have to deal with everything themselves. Service providers will play a critical role in reducing complexity and operational stress, whether it’s specific migrations or overall management of key applications and services. Assessing and building those relationships is a foundational component of hybrid IT success. Take our complementary hybrid IT optimization assessment, and receive a customized report for your organization.