Addressing UK Business Adoption to Hybrid Cloud (Guest blog from IBM)
Author: Mark Bennett, IBM Consulting Strategic Partnership Leader, EMEA Cloud Platforms, IBM
The urgent need to modernise has laid bare every organisation's digital transformation efforts and progress. Retailers are integrating online and in-store with an omni-channel approach to shop; employers have expanded technologies enabling employees to work from home; manufacturers continue to invest in AI within their supply chains for improved expediency, security, ecology and efficiency. This is all empowered by cloud-based technologies and will continue to evolve, expand and potentially become more complex.
Throughout the UK, business digital transformation has gained greater significance and created a flashpoint for hybrid cloud adoption. However, this urgent need for action has prompted many organisations to assemble cloud environments that may or may not work together effectively.
Organisations realise there is no one-size fits all approach to cloud. They need to meld on-premise, private and public cloud capabilities sharing data and migrating applications to drive agility, innovation and growth.
Why go hybrid and master it?
The cloud is a powerful technology that has changed how businesses operate and deliver products. One of the central drivers of innovation has been the widespread adoption of the hybrid cloud as the prevalent IT architecture for business. In fact, a recent IBM survey found that 98% of UK organisations reported using a hybrid cloud environment last year.
Organisations realise there is no one-size fits all approach to cloud. They need to meld on-premise, private and public cloud capabilities sharing data and migrating applications to drive agility, innovation and growth. The result is faster time-to-market for new products and services with greater flexibility with regard to the investment, risk and skills required to modernise IT systems from digital front-end to infrastructure.
At IBM, we use the term hybrid cloud mastery to describe a highly evolved approach to operate a client’s hybrid cloud platforms, with the objective to fundamentally transform business performance.
What are the challenges?
As many companies look to move to a hybrid cloud model, I am seeing common themes where clients lose momentum and stall before investments start to pay off, stopping short of a tipping point where the ROI from improvements in business performance balances and then outpaces cloud implementation costs.
These five common challenges stand in the way of clients mastering hybrid cloud environments and below I provide practical advice to help advance hybrid cloud strategies to accelerate business value:
The Architecture Challenge
The pandemic created a “get to the cloud” urgency, forcing companies to assemble a mixed bag of public, private, and on-prem assets that weren’t integrated. There was no cohesive structure to bind them. Mastery means moving from a “multiple clouds” to a single, integrated hybrid cloud platform. Rather than having discrete components that accomplish little on their own, it’s the integration across this that delivers what is required. This is creating a dramatic improvement in software application development and production.
The People & Operations Challenge
When people from different cloud operations are grouped together in different areas, it often leads to work getting done in silos. Talent shortages have left companies with too few developers and engineers to go around, leaving talent spread too thin to cover all areas. Mastering the hybrid cloud ensures that employees have the critical cloud skills needed to do their work efficiently and effectively in an integrated way across a single hybrid cloud operating model.
The Security Challenge
Security concerns existed long before the cloud, but with the lack of integrated cloud components, the security risk is magnified. Mastering hybrid cloud requires a unified security programme that transforms a company’s culture to be security-aware and security-first. This ensures that the security policies, capabilities and procedures across the hybrid cloud platform are consistent, allowing companies to see security incidents across operations and take quick action.
The Financial Challenge
The cost of moving data is just one financial impediment executives face, with some stating costs could go up by as much as 50%. Additionally, when costs rise or become unpredictable, it makes it more difficult to manage cloud investments. Mastering hybrid cloud manages all cloud costs through a single view, therefore businesses can view how and where cloud services are being consumed across the entire enterprise, allowing business priorities to be directly matched with optimised cloud costs.
Initially, we saw hybrid cloud as a safe way for a company to begin its cloud journey. Today, hybrid infrastructures have become an indispensable part of the cloud landscape
The Partner Ecosystem Challenge
Businesses are overwhelmed by the number of ecosystem partners involved in their hybrid cloud journey. Each group involved, whether internal or external brings their own naturally competing interests. But no one can go it alone. Mastering hybrid cloud brings all partners together aligned under one strategy for success. Picture a round table where each constituency of your hybrid cloud mastery journey (your hybrid cloud ecosystem) is represented by a senior “captain” who works together in a collaborative, transparent way.
Initially, we saw hybrid cloud as a safe way for a company to begin its cloud journey. Today, hybrid infrastructures have become an indispensable part of the cloud landscape because they integrate public cloud with private cloud data centre assets, provide spare capacity quickly and at scale, and accelerate the delivery of new apps and services, among other benefits.
Addressing the challenges above will achieve balance between a roadmap for building hybrid cloud capabilities and a roadmap for helping your business perform better in a software-driven world. It will also keep delivering business value as the driving force for hybrid cloud adoption.
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