How to Simplify Your Digital Journey with Hybrid Cloud
Many companies have jumped into the cloud to serve a variety of use cases, teams and developer types. However, this approach will fall flat without a proper hybrid cloud strategy. Key findings from a recent report reveal primary motivations, detriments, challenges and accelerators to help companies on their cloud journey.
Digital prowess has graduated from a nice-to-have to a must-have credential, and should be an element of every business strategy and roadmap. Businesses are investing significant resources to speed their transition to digital and leverage technology to improve their customer experience, boost agility and accelerate innovation. To facilitate this digital imperative, a hybrid cloud-based approach can play a critical role in helping organizations transition legacy applications, modernize core platforms, and create an agile IT backbone that’s capable of supporting future workflows and processes.
To effectively adopt a hybrid-led technology model, businesses must create a cohesive, well-aligned hybrid strategy.
We commissioned Forrester Consulting to identify ways to help organizations simplify their digital journey and to learn how companies are using cloud platforms to scale their business. The results showed that companies undergoing digital transformation are looking to shift the way they deploy infrastructure and applications to a more hybrid cloud-based approach that will both afford the company better agility and more effectively support business priorities around the customer experience and competitive advantage.
Let’s take a look at some of the key factors identified that are holding back organizations from fully realizing the potential of their hybrid-cloud initiatives, and the corrective steps they can take.
The study found that an overwhelming 92% of respondents are engaged with digital transformation to some degree. However, virtually all of these respondents expressed that they are inadequately resourced to deliver on those expectations, citing issues such as staffing, budgets and technology.
Other, more invisible forces are also at work blocking a clear path to a successful transition. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant inhibiting factors.
Resources don’t support the forces
An improved customer experience, greater operational agility and a push for more innovation are key motivating forces behind many digital initiatives. These forces are compounded with a need to provide employees with more modern technologies and a supportive infrastructure.
However, many enterprises struggle when addressing how to bridge the gap between what optimally shouldbe done versus what canbe done – with a lack of appropriate resources as the main culprit. More than 50% of respondents cited that they do not have the resources required to act on their chief goals (see Figure 1).
Organizations require specific functionality from their applications, which is why internal, custom-assembled solutions are the most common form of deployment. The time requirements for custom development and deployment can be burdensome. For example, 48% of respondents said that their strict requirements for testing or validation of production systems was limiting business agility and impacting employees’ ability to leverage technology effectively. This issue has led to the search for pre-built, configurable solutions across a variety of domains, such as the internet of things (IoT).
Dependencies on legacy infrastructure and applications also hinder transition efforts, due to excessive energies applied to troubleshoot programs or errors, update user interfaces, and more quickly deploy new applications. These issues are compounded by departmental siloes in which people flounder to follow a single roadmap.
The varied levels of department involvement in an initiative can lead to an isolated approach to application and infrastructure transformation. This isolation creates gaps, hampers end-to-end digitization and ultimately threatens business health.
Lack of strategic business and technical partnerships
Respondents cited a lack of technical skills, proper tools and advanced technologies as key deficiencies. They also struggle to build partnerships to help fill those gaps with the right tools, technologies and talent. This trend is particularly apparent with healthcare and financial services companies due to their holistic approaches, which put higher demands on needed skills. In fact, almost 30% of healthcare industry respondents cited inadequate support from the infrastructure provider as a primary gap in current capabilities (see Figure 2).
Hybrid to the rescue
With a lack of technical partnerships, gaps between transformation drivers and resources, and an inefficient, slow approach to app and infrastructure deployment, many organizations are addressing their needs by moving to a hybrid cloud approach. With cloud-based platforms, pre-integrated applications and infrastructure components, businesses can move their tools, apps and services online more rapidly, saving significant time and capital.
The increasing value of preconfigured, cloud-based resources is why 73% of respondents look for these capabilities when choosing a solutions partner. When asked what the top benefits would be in using preconfigured applications, the most commonly identified areas were:
More rapid security configurations.
More efficient implementation of application and infrastructure.
Improved business process agility by converging applications and infrastructure.
Powering a Cloud-led Digital Transformation Journey
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Creating a Cloud Strategy that Delivers Real Value
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The way forward
As businesses wisely move away from an over-reliance on internally developed and heavily customized solutions, they must be mindful not to make a blind shift directly to the cloud. Instead, a combination of cloud-native development and prepackaged private and public cloud solutions is required to support the desired agility, innovation and pace.
A cloud-led digital transformation journey should start with a thorough understanding of what preconfigured toolsets would be most suitable, and how to establish an optimal mix of solutions that are either on premise or cloud-based, and custom-developed or preconfigured.
Digital transformation is fraught with challenges. Businesses can avoid unexpected hurdles by first evolving the core and modernizing legacy applications and infrastructures before developing new capabilities that can then be implemented and further augmented through the cloud. Taking the hybrid road can help businesses adapt faster to operate in a digital-first economy as it provides the essential scalability, accessibility and security to create optimized, omnichannel experiences for customers and employees.