The savvy leaders who have a superior approach can extract greater value from their legacy IT investments, and launch new initiatives based upon public and private cloud computing services. This is the new normal -- CIOs must create the optimal blended environment for purposeful technology-enabled innovation.
A global study of 500 hybrid cloud decision makers revealed that organizations are increasingly integrating cloud computing and storage resources with traditional IT infrastructure to accommodate dynamic needs and specific business priorities, according to a market study by the IBM Center for Applied Insights.
This thought-provoking study found that improving productivity is currently the number one goal of cloud service adoption, as the most progressive senior executives plan to offload some of their IT resources and management complexity to the cloud.
A close second goal of digital transformation is improved security and risk reduction -- using the flexibility of a hybrid solution to choose which workloads and data to move to the cloud and which to maintain on-premise.
The other two most mentioned goals by survey respondents are IT infrastructure cost reduction -- i.e. shifting costs from fixed IT to as-needed cloud services -- and scalability to handle dynamic IT workloads.
Why Maturity Matters
Following their detailed analysis, the IBM report authors grouped the survey respondents into three categories, based upon the maturity of their hybrid management capabilities and whether they’re reporting a strategic edge that’s realized from their hybrid cloud deployments:
- Frontrunners: are gaining a competitive advantage through hybrid cloud and are managing their environment in an integrated, comprehensive fashion for high visibility and control (as an example, through a single data-driven dashboard).
- Challengers: are on the journey toward competitive advantage, but haven’t fully achieved unified management of their hybrid cloud environment.
- Chasers: are not yet using hybrid cloud to drive competitive advantage and are in the early stages of gaining integrated control over their hybrid environment.
Benefits of Hybrid Leadership
What’s the big improvement of being a visionary frontrunner in your industry? They’re achieving noteworthy business outcomes with a hybrid cloud -- such as productivity gains, including cutting operational costs and maximizing the value of existing IT infrastructure -- at a higher rate than other organizations.
Frontrunners are also more effectively using hybrid cloud to drive digital business innovation, including the creation of new products and services and the expansion into new markets. They also apply hybrid cloud solutions to experiment with cognitive computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) -- which have the potential to enable the development of new business models.
Moreover, the frontrunners are using hybrid solutions as a driver of business process change, with 85 percent reporting that hybrid cloud service adoption is accelerating a progressive digital transformation agenda at their companies.
Hybrid Challenges and Opportunities
Most frontrunners say they have achieved measurable progress from their hybrid cloud efforts. However, more than one in four have experienced difficulty executing their plan to integrate legacy IT infrastructure and cloud computing environments.
Finding and retaining the technical staff with the desired experience is often a challenge, with one in three survey respondents citing an internal skills gap as a big unresolved issue. Furthermore, while companies adopt cloud services to improve security, it remains their number one concern.
In fact, frontrunners cite management complexity and security as a major obstruction to progress. Over three-quarters report that hybrid introduces greater IT management complexity into their environment, and 70 percent say that their hybrid environment causes them greater security concerns.
How are these early-adopters leveraging hybrid environments to achieve a meaningful and substantive competitive advantage? Study findings indicate that they apply a very intentional and holistic approach to implementing and managing their hybrid solutions.
Culture is a Key to Ongoing Hybrid Success
The established frontrunners also understand that the complexity of hybrid environments is best tackled through a collaborative approach to IT investment decision making -- bringing both the managers of IT organizations and Line of Business (LoB) leaders together on a common cause.
The IBM study findings also uncovered that in almost three-quarters of frontrunner organizations, hybrid cloud has elevated the extent to which the CIO is now acting as a trusted adviser to the overall business leadership team.
The collective C-suite and senior IT roles collaborate on key technology decisions that impact business goals. This newfound collaboration sheds light on the benefits of Shadow IT, where the progressive LoB leadership is already using forward-looking cloud services to advance their growth agenda.
Besides, 81 percent of the frontrunners report that hybrid cloud is helping to reduce Shadow IT growth within their organizations. Proving, once again, that savvy CIOs are the ones that are proactively embracing the shift to Hybrid IT models, and thereby regaining workload deployment momentum that was lost due to prior computing and storage resource provisioning constraints.