Matt Herreras is Senior Director of Product Marketing, Integrated Systems Business Unit, for VMware.
There’s been no shortage of headlines about the benefits of the hybrid cloud, from the greater flexibility it provides to the improved efficiency it delivers or the cost savings that are quickly realized. And while those benefits may seem hard to upstage, there’s a ripple effect that’s being formed around the adoption of the hybrid cloud that’s less about the technology itself and more about the business shifts it unleashes.
In large part, the next wave of discussions about the hybrid cloud is shifting toward the long-term, high-impact business opportunities that are being revealed as the effect of the technology is realized. The focus of that buzz is centered around “business readiness,” or transforming the way IT works so that it’s ready to support the business and its needs.
As IT takes a seat at the business decision-makers table, it’s important to emphasize that a hybrid cloud approach – one that extends from the data center to the cloud to the edge – is about giving IT the ability to do what the organization needs, when and where it needs it. That flexibility, along with a commitment to consistency across all technologies, could prove invaluable if it not only removes barriers that executives face as they weigh high-impact business decisions but also creates new avenues to accelerate their strategies, which could span introducing a new service, expanding into new markets, striking a new partnership or acquiring and integrating a company.
Changing Role of IT
Managing an organization’s IT infrastructure has never been a simple task. New technologies, devices, software and increased data sharing have all introduced different levels of complexity into the IT environment over the years. In recent years, organizations have become more reliant than ever on technology and software to conduct business – and that’s created different types of challenges.
Trying to keep up with all of the changes while also “keeping the lights on” for the organization left little time for the IT team to go deeper into the technologies and identify different use cases that might add greater business value. But with the automation and consistency provided by hybrid cloud infrastructure, IT resources are freed to help add business value – not only by developing new applications but also identifying innovative ways to connect end-users with those applications.
Likewise, the hybrid cloud is helping organizations transform their operational models across technology, people and processes, and apply that same operational model in a consistent fashion.
That’s allowing IT administrators to explore the capabilities of the technologies and identify applications that will not only enhance an existing process but also spur innovation through modernizing applications or extending existing applications to the edge.
As IT’s role in the decision-making process grows, organizations will find that their biggest competitive advantage is simply being business ready.
Being Business Ready
As much as things change, they also stay the same. As business changes, the companies that are best positioned to act on the changing dynamics tend to be the ones that set the trends, reap the rewards and leave the competition in the rear-view mirror. This is clear in key industries like banking, where top-performing organizations are 88 percent more likely to adopt hybrid cloud solutions than their under-performing competitors. These are the businesses best positioned to take advantage of the efficiencies and savings that come with cloud-based infrastructure, which averages out to a 40 percent reduction in total cost of ownership, across key industries.
In the age of the hybrid cloud, that business mantra applies just as much today as it did 100 years ago. Over the years, infrastructure technology has evolved from a point where the configuration of the hardware determined the performance to today’s environments where the sophistication of the software is the driving force behind performance standards.
Now that so much more of the technology is defined by software, it has become increasingly flexible and business-ready. Hybrid cloud is the latest iteration of this trend, positioning IT as the innovation center for competitive advantage in any organization.
It opens a door to a business nimbleness that’s never before existed. Whether it’s adopting public cloud services or opening a new data center in another geography for data sovereignty reasons or deploying infrastructure at the edge to address data latency challenges, the hybrid cloud operating model of business readiness creates the ability to do all that.
Reducing Unknowns of the Future
That readiness takes on a new level of importance in the cloud age because an investment in the cloud is so different from the way organizations previously invested in IT. Technology infrastructure was long considered simply one of the “costs of doing business.”
In the past, when companies looked five years ahead they saw and understood the aging and obsolescence of technology equipment. They anticipated for refresh cycles and planned accordingly.
Today, the landscape is significantly different – and even scary, full of unknowns around the cloud-based apps, the costs associated with scaling for new business or the risks involved with something new. That’s why it’s paramount that IT has a seat at the business decision-makers table – where it can make recommendations, identify solutions for the business objectives and provide information that will be critical to any launch, initiative or campaign.
Focus on Solutions
The IT environment, like the many other pieces of a business puzzle, continues to evolve and mature as it responds to many changing technologies.
And like many other developments over the years – from the mainstream adoption of the Internet to smartphone access on the company network – there’s a transitional period for everyone, from IT teams and employees to executives and customers.
The hybrid cloud is a bit unique in its own way because it fundamentally changes something – IT and its business role – that had long been the same. It presents a new approach to doing business, a change in the way companies make their investments and the speed at which they can react to changing dynamics.
There is no turning back.
Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.
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