The key to a successful hybrid IT strategy is to ensure it fits with your business needs, first and foremost. This means the right combination of on-premise or installed systems with handpicked best-of-breed software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications based on capabilities that best suit the organisation’s needs, whether it’s a business intelligence (BI) platform, procurement software, or a marketing solution.
Adopting best-of-breed SaaS technologies doesn’t mean decommissioning all your non-cloud systems; many organisations need these installed systems to form the basis of digital transformation and other innovation efforts. Also, there are some complex, resource-intensive applications and infrastructure that may never be fully cloud-ready, such as complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) and mainframe platforms.
These types of environment demand a hybrid approach, which allows cloud and non-cloud resources to coexist so that organisations can continue running certain applications and resources in non-cloud environments, while taking advantage of the faster, cheaper and nimble services available as best-of-breed SaaS technologies.
Another key consideration to get your hybrid multicloud strategy right is to ensure the right infrastructure model as you make this transition from a full physical legacy systems landscape to a mix of SaaS-based best-of-breed models. This may mean getting out of hosting enterprise systems in on-premise datacentres and leveraging public cloud infrastructure services instead.
The cost of maintaining an in-house or physical datacentre must be accounted for in two ways. First, there is the operational cost of building, maintaining and adapting these facilities over time. Second, businesses must consider the opportunity cost that comes with rigid datacentre infrastructure, particularly when growing a business or innovating faster with best-of-breed cloud technologies that will accelerate transformation.
When considering these costs, it is also important to consider the relative inefficiency that can plague your datacentre. Research suggests that datacentres end up wasting as much as 90% of the energy they pull from the energy grid. By switching to a cloud-first datacentre model, your business can leverage economies of scale to reduce some of that waste, which can, in turn, lead to more efficient IT expenditures and fund your cloud transition faster with best-of-breed SaaS technologies – a “save to invest” model.
When a hybrid IT strategy is aligned with a clearly defined implementation plan, it can scale your infrastructure, enable enterprise agility and accelerate business transformation with the right mix of on-premise and SaaS technologies.
But wait. Do you have the skills in-house to transition, support and manage this complex landscape of on-premise and best-of-breed cloud technologies? Finding the right mix of skillsets to successfully execute on a hybrid IT strategy is hard. To complicate this challenge, many other enterprise organisations are facing the same skills deficit, resulting in a shortage of skilled specialists and partner vendors.
You will need to seek out a new IT partner specifically for the purposes of leveraging specialised skillsets to transition specific capabilities to the cloud and maximising the value of your hybrid IT strategy, including your datacentre migration.
But this partner must be chosen carefully – and it might not be as simple as working with your current service providers. Some managed service providers and systems integrators reap financial gains by keeping your business running on legacy datacentres that require constant maintenance and upkeep, or upgrading legacy systems to the latest vendor releases with no business benefit or for the sole reason of staying supported.
Change for the sake of change drains your precious resources – people, time and money.
Seek out partner experts who are intimately familiar with the design of legacy applications and infrastructure, which makes them invaluable in configuring new best-of-breed SaaS applications and technology stacks to minimise business disruptions, manage costs, and set your new hybrid IT model up for long-term success and return on investment.
Hari Candadai is a senior vice-president for service innovation and global thought leadership at Origina