Hybrid IT – avoiding the pitfalls and reaping the benefits By Omkar Nisal, Managing Director – UK & Ireland at Wipro Limited.

Capturing the value from cloud led transformation requires business and IT teams develop a holistic approach to the IT operating model. This new IT operating model needs to be built on the foundation of infrastructure that is fit for purpose to enable new services, reduce cycle time, improve resilience and reducing operational costs. This is a multi-year transformation, and most enterprises will have a mix of on-prem, private cloud, public cloud and increasingly edge, as part of their foundation. This Hybrid IT will be the new reality of the IT estate.

What’s keeping CIO’s up at night, are the many questions surrounding exactly how to implement the correct hybrid IT model and achieve the most effective balance. As the pandemic hit, businesses were forced to move rapidly to the public cloud to facilitate their now entirely remote workforces. This was the beginning of the stress test on the technological maturity of many businesses. The pandemic further sharpened the opportunity and emphasised the need to align the business strategy to the technology strategy. The catalyst enabling this alignment is cloud. Businesses are spending time to reassess their infrastructure needs ground up, to come up with what suits them best and are increasingly recognising Hybrid IT as the ideal model. However, moving forwards, the pressing question is exactly how to implement a hybrid model so as to derive maximum benefit from the change.

Avoiding the pitfalls

We continue to see agility, acceleration and resilience as the key business imperatives for our clients’ digital-first future, but they are often bound by their legacy IT infrastructure and out of date ways of working. Partners, experts in the field of cloud adoption, can help guide businesses as they make these decisions and transition. They can help to facilitate a change in the method, model, machinery, and mindset throughout the organisation, enabling everyone to become aligned in their goal to reinvent business operations.

Traditional IT has suffered from legacy of manual controls and provisioning, hard boundaries between various departments with mis-aligned priorities and SLAs. In addition, traditional IT has been about configuration and not engineering. These are juxtaposed with a Hybrid IT need for IT capabilities as services that can be left shifted and consumed by development teams building products and platforms for business outcomes. This requires an engineering first culture.

Additionally, businesses and their staff need to be aware of the security concerns associated with hosting data in multiple locations, and thus a potential lack of visibility over the network. Therefore, cyber-resilience, cybersecurity, and data protection considerations are uppermost in corporate agendas. As such, to better protect their business from threats, they must develop a more proactive security strategy, planning for the ‘when’, as opposed to the ‘if’. As data moves outside traditional secure networks, businesses need encryption and additional security layers wherever possible. Partners can provide up-to-date expert advice to always stay on top of threats and provide actionable data recovery insights for any that escalate.

Reaping the benefits

If utilised correctly, cloud, and in particular hybrid cloud, is the ‘motorway’ from which businesses drive competitive solutions and client loyalty. Achieving the best hybrid cloud model for each business, whilst avoiding the pitfalls outlined above, is the best way to maintain competitive advantage and achieve success.

Hybrid IT teams are organized by products and capabilities and not by the traditional IT structure of roles. This breaks the model of siloed capability-based functions. A product mindset and ways of working is thus enabled by Hybrid IT teams. This shift enables team to work towards the goals of agility and acceleration. The digital business models being adopted require significant attention to resilience, and hence the rise of the site reliability engineering (SRE) model that focuses not on tickets and only a function but on the entire stack.

As these Hybrid IT product teams mature, they abstract the underlying infrastructure on which they are deployed, whether it is a data centre or a cloud environment. The focus of these teams is to provision services that are easily consumable. The service catalogue that these teams create are self-service infrastructure engineering assets that provision life-cycle capabilities.

Trust your partners

Partners have the depth of experience and proven ability to deliver cloud solutions. Businesses need not embark on their cloud transformation alone. They can make use of the advisory ecosystem at their fingertips and work in tandem with partners to achieve a successful transition that avoids the pitfalls outlined above.

It is important for organisations to remember that digital transformation is not a one-off project, it is a journey. Trusted technology partners can help businesses navigate and sustain this journey from end to end. Technology partners can provide bespoke advice and solutions for each business addressing individual concerns and priorities. Ultimately, they can help create technology infrastructure that supports and progresses the wider business goals and offer guidance on how to encourage the workforce to engage with change. This is critical if businesses hope to derive the maximum benefit from what technology has to offer.

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