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Some achieve hybrid IT, others have it forced on them

February 22, 2017

Srini CR   

Chief Digital Officer

“If the Internet could dream, would it dream of itself?”

– Werner Herzog

 You may not have seen Lo and Behold, Werner Herzog’s new film about the Internet. But I believe the chances are that you’re already living it.

Thanks to the Internet, businesses and consumers are getting closer all the time. New approaches and platform models are proving to be a fertile ground for delivering cloud, applications and benefits. The result – a heady mix of chaos, disruption and excitement.

There couldn’t be a better subject for Herzog. Nor could there be a more appropriate person to make a film about it, even though he’s avidly anti-technology. After all, just as cloud is disrupting traditional business models, his films have always disrupted traditional film-making. He has hypnotised his casts; deliberately worked with violent actors or with non-actors; and avoided using storyboards. So, when he talks about the innovative role of the internet in areas such as AI, IoT and robotics, he’s worth listening to. Except for one thing. What he predicts may happen… already has happened.

“Everything goes into him. If it comes out, it comes out transformed.”

Elizabeth Herzog (née Stipetić)

 We’re seeing companies partnering and innovating with APIs. Connected devices, as Herzog mentions, have become one of the major trends. Big data, analytics and cognitive computing are starting to make their mark, but above all, the need to compete is continuing to have an effect.

Competition – the driver of hybrid cloud?

It may be a volatile and complex market, but enterprises are determined to retain or grow market share. According to research, 75% of them have already implemented some kind of hybrid cloud environment. In this happy world where private cloud, public cloud and legacy systems all happily coexist, XaaS would blend with applications and data in the cloud and they’d all work seamlessly with resources that reside on legacy systems for legal, administrative or other reasons.

Unfortunately, implementing it isn’t the same as successfully managing it. And managing it is a challenge that’s more and more frequent; disruption and new business platforms aren’t the only reasons for wanting a hybrid cloud.

CX – reality vs. perception

There’s a big divide between what companies believe and what customers perceive. 80% of companies think they deliver a good customer experience (CX). But just 20% of customers agree, and that creates a problem, since 75% of millennials will leave after just one bad experience. This puts a real emphasis on delivering great CX. The need for omnichannel, however, makes matters even more complicated. Customers can use between 8 and 10 channels when they interact with companies. If there’s any kind of hybrid cloud involved, it’s likely to be nearly impossible to manage – but it needs doing if you’re to satisfy customers.

Mobile – managing the ultimate mix

The mobile workforce is a key part of IDC’s third platform model. By the time you consider COPE, CYOD, BYOD and corporate-issued devices – 29% of companies use a combination of BYOD and corporate-issued devices – even the brightest of us could be forgiven for having problems in managing such a complex mix.

Other typical reasons for hybrid

Disaster recovery: A large enterprise wants to protect itself against disaster. It securely replicates its data from its private cloud into the public cloud and also keeps a silent set of applications (i.e. applications which are present but non-operational) there as well. When problems occur, it “switches on” the applications and accesses the data for seamless recovery.

Seasonal spikes: For 80% of the year, a clothing chain’s turnover remains steady and predictable. However, a couple of times a year, it rises significantly as customers shop for summer clothes or for winter outfits. The business gets round the problem of investing in more resources by driving the extra traffic to applications in the cloud.

An environment in harmony

As digital transformation and the move to cloud take place, CIOs start to face new challenges: data loss, shadow IT and unpredictable performance of apps, for example. It means ensuring that vectors such as infrastructure, security and cloud-ready WAN are harmonised. The problem is, the more complex the environment, the harder it is to see what’s going on. Without that information, you can’t control it. You need the right network, the right skillset and the right toolkit.

If you’re considering – or are already running – a hybrid cloud strategy, it’s worth your while finding out your best approach to getting on top of it, and the key factors and issues that you need to consider – issues such as these:

  • What goes where? Some applications – and some data – may need to stay on legacy systems. Others can happily live in the cloud. But how should you distribute them?
  • In this multi-layered environment, how can you make the most of hybrid IT, without losing out on value in other places?
  • Can you achieve the right balance between the internet and MPLS – and can you implement a unified WAN?
  • Have you tested applications and resource allocation across all environments? If so, will they work everywhere you need them to work?

Read more about the transforming power of the cloud here.