Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Path to Hybrid Cloud



Cloud computing is now an operational reality across every industry.  Organizations that fail to leverage this economic, operational and technology consumption model are merely consigning themselves to irrelevance.  The rapid acceleration of cloud adoption has now ignited a push for the Hybrid Cloud/Hybrid IT model in which enterprises simultaneously consumes information technology services from private clouds, public clouds, community clouds and traditional data center sources. While most see this as a reasonable evolutionary path, others see staying with a single provider or a slow, gradual transition as a more prudent path. I strongly disagree with the latter.

A casual observation of the information technology marketplace reveals that data is continuing to grow at an exponential pace. We have also moved from the management of structured data, through joint analysis of structured and unstructured data into an environment where real-time analysis and reporting of streaming data is essential. We are also in an environment of stricter data management regulations and national data sovereignty laws that, if violated, introduce the possibility of punishing remedies and fines. This rapid progression has also driven an exponential increase in required (and desired) information technology services. Cloud service providers meet this need through the innovative creation and deployment of API accessible, immediately consumable, data manipulation services. Enterprise IT organizations have shown themselves to be incapable of matching the blistering increase in number and breadth of these broader marketplace services.  It’s not cost-effective or even desirable for them to even try.

Business owners, on the other hand, see these new services as necessary competitive tools.  They can’t wait for the required internal governance processes or IT investment decisions. This tension has been the cause of internal conflict between IT and business and also the underlying cause of Shadow IT, a tendency to stealthily procure and use cloud services without internal IT knowledge or approval. The organizational business goal must be accomplished and to meet this imperative, enterprise IT must drive a radical shift from legacy ideas and culture towards embracing the Hybrid Cloud/Hybrid IT model.

Enterprise IT management must face reality.  The development and rapid execution of a business supportive IT strategy require a meaningful conversation between IT and business leaders on targeted new business opportunities and any associated differentiating business strategies.  IT leadership must then select the appropriate IT service mix and sources for each necessary business process. This multi-vendor, multi-source selection process should point to the needed Hybrid Cloud/Hybrid IT target end state. The path towards realizing that target should go through at least two pilot processes. One through which success delivers IT operational efficiency and savings and a second that promises new revenue streams for the business. Ideally executed in parallel, this approach will:
  • Train and educate your IT team on the cloud model and required business processes;
  • Build much-needed rapport and collaboration between the business team and IT team;
  • Accelerate attainment of the Hybrid Cloud/Hybrid IT target end state; and
  • Effectively move the organization down the necessary digital transformation path.


Enterprises that have been successful in completing this transformative process include:
  • CarMax -  a Fortune® 500 company with more than 175 stores across the US and over 6 million cars sold
  • IHG - one of the world’s leading hotel companies, with more than 375,000 people working across almost 100 countries to deliver True Hospitality for everyone; and
  • Smithfield Foods - the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, committed to providing good food in a responsible way.

In completing their path to hybrid cloud, Smithfield Foods realized:
  • Application response time drop from 600ms to 70 ms;
  • No unplanned IT outages;
  • Increased visibility into business key performance indicators;
  • A transition from a reactive to a predictive decision making culture;
  • A 60% reduction in required IT resources; and
  • The desired enablement of business innovation.
To learn more about starting your company’s path towards the hybrid cloud, take a look at the Microsoft Office Modern Workplace episode on Hybrid Cloud.  In it, Corporate Vice President of Azure Marketing at Microsoft, Julia White, and Tim Crawford from AVOA address how organizations can build the right cloud strategy for the business and its impact on digital transformation.



This post was sponsored by Microsoft.



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