How a hybrid IT approach supports CIOs’ digitalization strategies
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How a hybrid IT approach supports CIOs’ digitalization strategies

Kenny MacIver – August 2016

Global survey tracks how IT decision-makers are balancing the adoption of flexible cloud-based platforms with the demands of traditional IT.

As cloud computing has become a foundation for the delivery of efficient, flexible IT services, organizations have had to learn to live with a new hybrid IT landscape. Capabilities sourced via the cloud — from applications covering CRM and HR to office tools and big data analytics — now sit alongside services delivered through traditional IT.

But blending the best of cloud and on-premise IT comes with some significant challenges, as a recent survey of 1,050 IT decision-makers by Fujitsu’s Hybrid Hive discussion website clearly demonstrates. Respondents face issues such the integration of cloud and on-premise applications, the creation of governance frameworks that spans both worlds, and maintaining 24/7 availability commitments across on- and off-premise services.

What is universal across organizations in all the countries targeted is that cloud has reached such a critical mass that CIOs can’t ignore the hybrid IT challenge.

The research, undertaken by Fujitsu and partners VMware, NetApp, Brocade and Intel, showed that almost a third of IT budgets are now being directed towards the provision of cloud services. And that is only set to rise. Already a significant proportion of the survey group (14%) is spending more than half of its IT budget on cloud.

Hybrid IT graph 1
Source: Hybrid Hive IT Decision-Maker Survey

Given that the vast majority (73%) expect the balance to swing more towards cloud in the next three years, it is imperative for them to take a more strategic approach to managing the hybrid environments that will result. Fortunately, the call to action is not all about meeting tough challenges. Respondents said they see major benefits from taking a hybrid IT approach.

More than half said it would give them greater flexibility (60%) and improved efficiency (50%), while other major advantages were identified as lower costs (44%) and increased speed to market (37%).

Source: Hybrid Hive IT Decision-Maker Survey

In fact, for the vast majority, the question of adopting a hybrid IT approach is not ’if’ but ‘when.’ Around 40% of those surveyed already have a hybrid IT environment in place, while around 80% believe that a hybrid IT approach is both an inevitable characteristic of future corporate IT environments and a necessity for achieving company objectives.

Commenting on the trend, Mark Phillips, head of the Hybrid IT group at Fujitsu for the EMEIA region, says: “As businesses switch from traditional to digital channels, their expenditure on cloud is increasing. This has a ‘drag’ effect, where the wider organization is pulling the IT department with it towards cloud adoption. As a result we’ll soon see more IT departments accelerating along this route.”

Hybrid IT graph 3
Source: Hybrid Hive IT Decision-Maker Survey

However, confidence levels among those keen adopters are not so high. Almost two-thirds feel that they need more help in understanding the hybrid IT model and its implications. And while 72% believe that they are ‘doing well’ so far in coping with hybrid IT pressures, 37% are not sure what ‘good looks like’ when it comes to a hybrid IT model.

That’s understandable, says Andrew Brabban, global head of Digital Technology Services at Fujitsu. “Changing to a hybrid approach is like going from a single solution to 20 solutions from 20 different vendors, and the way you view and measure those solutions differs from one to the next. The level of complexity is huge. However, orchestration solutions can help manage that complexity by linking everything together and providing a single view of everything that’s happening.”

Hybrid IT graph 4
Source: Hybrid Hive IT Decision-Maker Survey

Some of the misgivings that are holding organizations back from taking a hybrid IT approach are, predictably, more associated with the cloud than traditional side of IT. Almost half of the respondents (49%) identified potentially weaker security as their top concern, while around the same proportion (47%) were worried about loss of control over things like service delivery levels.

Such concerns aside, hybrid is fast becoming the norm, the report’s authors conclude. As they say: “Reaping the benefits of hybrid IT — from faster and better adaptability to transforming company culture — is not just about survival. It’s about opening opportunities and staying ahead of the competition when the demand for innovation is increasing.”

Read the full report at Hybrid Hive

First published August 2016
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