Karyn Jeffery is Head of End User Services in Fujitsu’s Managed Infrastructure Services Global Delivery Unit.
Hybrid IT is a pragmatic response to the challenge of merging legacy systems with new environments and platforms. It’s about finding a path to seamless governance, process, and management frameworks, so that new and old can be balanced in harmony. It’s an inevitable consequence of the clash between the pressure to innovate and the need to leverage existing systems.
Markets & Markets predicts that the global hybrid cloud market will grow from $25.28 billion in 2014 to $84.67 billion by 2019. The research study revealed that 48 percent of enterprise respondents plan to adopt hybrid cloud systems and services in the near future.
The simple truth is that many large companies are not willing or able to make a sweeping wholesale change. They may feel that they have too much time, expertise, and money invested in on-premise systems that deliver critical business value. The transition to the cloud can be hugely disruptive and expensive. It’s also vital to consider compliance and regulatory requirements.
Public cloud is not always cheaper for businesses running their own internal IT infrastructure. The ISG cloud comparison index highlighted that prices between major public cloud providers vary by up to 35 percent. Blending old and new is often the most practical strategy. It’s possible to drive innovation through new, agile, customer-facing apps in the cloud but retain your ERP suite in your own data center.
The Right Tools for the Job
Leading organizations get ahead of ompetitors by getting the best new tools in place first. It’s essential to understand the latest tools and the value they can deliver to your business. That means constantly scanning the horizon for technology that’s currently under development, and consulting IT professionals with a deep understanding of business processes to advise on potential applications for them.
There are huge advantages to having a focused lens on hybrid IT. A service orchestrator can provide end-to-end visibility and accountability. You can shape the service levels and expectations across a broad spectrum of capabilities, and secure a consistent experience. You can find the integration and visibility that’s required for a successful blend of public and private infrastructure through innovative market leading workplace technologies, but that’s only part of the puzzle.
You’ll also want an agile methodology for trialing new tools in the cloud, which provides greater flexibility and keeps costs low. When applications meet business requirements they can be admitted into the organization’s app store, but they can also be quietly dropped when they don’t. Cloud providers will free you from long-term contracts, making it easier to monitor application access and retire anything that isn’t being used with minimal disruption.
Breaking Down Silos
Hybrid IT does not, and cannot work, without a major restructuring and breakdown of traditional boundaries and attitudes within your organization. There must be a culture shift for developers, operations, managers, and all your other internal teams. It will be necessary to create new roles, and empower leaders to bring everyone together with a shared set of goals.
An agile, collaborative workflow, pulling in developers, testers, operations, and other experts can drive an aligned vision forward. Cross-functional teams will come together in this new DevOps environment to focus on a common goal, but it won’t happen all at once, and it won’t happen overnight. Breaking down those silos will take time and determination. A well-picked pilot project with the right team and charismatic leadership is an effective way to sell everyone on the merits of a hybrid approach.
Virtualization can enable both cloud-based and on-premise business apps to be presented when and where they’re needed in a secure fashion. According to CIO Insight, virtualization has surpassed 50 percent of all server workloads and will reach 86 percent by 2016. Virtualization allows easy scalability and offers a way to run valuable legacy applications independently from local operating systems, enabling your IT infrastructure to handle the increased workload being generated by emerging technology trends.
It can be difficult to integrate new technologies with existing business processes, new applications, and, of course, legacy IT infrastructure. Taking inspiration from the consumer world, enterprise app stores can be a good route to provisioning apps. Windows, web, SaaS, and mobile apps can be made available to users based on a range of factors, such as roles within the organization, device types and status, and even network conditions.
IT adds value by curating the selection of hosted applications, all of which have already been validated with service providers. New tools can drive fresh process innovation, sometimes in unexpected ways. Rather than applying your business process to new technologies, let the tools guide the development of improved processes that seek to place the information employees really need at their fingertips.
The transition may be painful in the short term, but a truly agile hybrid IT system can lead to real integration, a renewed focus on process and system improvement, and faster innovation that will deliver real business value.
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