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Good prospects – or: recognising the whole benefit dimension of hybrid IT

People are not always aware of the true scope of IT transformation: the range of opportunities it really offers for current and future business success, and the fundamental changes it brings to the IT department.

Dear Readers,

In our consulting experience, we find that many interested parties – often executives and IT managers – are well-informed when we first engage with them. As experts in their field, they’ve already gathered valuable information and experience about hybrid IT through trade media, forums, blogs and hands-on work.

However, people are not always aware of the true scope of IT transformation: the breadth of opportunities it truly presents for current and future business success, and the fundamental changes it brings to the IT department. Both are remarkable and warrant clear articulation – if only to avoid blindly embarking on a transformation journey. So, let’s take a step back to move forward. Let’s take a broad view, keeping the potential and the transformation processes in mind.

Staying ahead of the competition

When we talk about hybrid IT, we’re really talking about the optimal synergy between in-house IT, on-premises solutions, and private and public cloud solutions – essentially, which components are developed and operated in-house and which are sourced from cloud providers. So simple, yet so intriguing. The intrigue deepens when we consider the breadth and depth of services purchased versus those developed and operated in-house. And here, at this fundamental juncture, is the answer: Established cloud providers are already unbeatable on paper.

Thanks to their specialisation, sometimes spanning decades of expertise, and significant investment, they operate on a completely different level. An organisation that wanted to build and deliver in-house solutions with similar benefits and quality to those of a cloud provider would find itself lacking resources at every level – in terms of people, expertise, and budgets. Where once companies invested millions in building an entire IT infrastructure, this now seems completely pointless as equivalent services can be sourced quickly and inexpensively.

Additionally, customers are benefiting from the significant investment and innovation pressures on suppliers. After all, their economy is one of “winner takes all”. Failure to excel in this competition – through sluggish development or diminishing innovation – would be a serious mistake for them. Public perception is forcing cloud providers to excel on all fronts, including security: Imagine the reputational damage if customer data were left unprotected. As a result, challenging incumbents such as Salesforce or Amazon is almost unthinkable.

Tailored and highly flexible usability

The list of fundamental benefits of public cloud services goes on. Scalability, for example, is another key consideration. Let’s take a trip down memory lane: I know a highly respected company that once commissioned the exclusive development of an online portal with considerable expenses. So far, so good (in a sense). However, as the volume of data generated by the portal increased and the situation spiraled out of control, the developer had to be contracted to provide further costly services. While this may have pleased the developer, it’s unlikely that the company shared the same sentiment. Today, it would probably opt for a scalable service from a cloud provider.

Start-ups are typically immune to such miscalculations from the outset, simply because they lack the resources for expensive and “rigid” in-house IT efforts. Their usual practice: Forgo in-house development, ask providers for suitable services, procure them, and start using them. And as business grows, capacity can be easily expanded. Innovative approaches are encouraged, as another practical example shows: If an insurance company has a high volume of data during a particular month for car insurance policy changes, it will need significantly more computing power during that period than during the rest of the year – so it would request on-demand capacity from the cloud provider, rather than buying permanent capacity on-premises for peak loads.

Not just an evolution, but a revolution

Let’s dig a little deeper. The breadth of services offered by cloud services now have the potential to redefine the role of IT in a much broader context. Specialised sub-services, for example, increasingly define the value of IT not through IT itself, but through the value it adds as a true business tool. For example, robust AI systems, which the cloud makes available at low cost, but which would cost a company tens of millions of dollars to develop, can drive business development. They can be used to analyse and identify patterns that can make a significant contribution to optimising a company, its sales, its services, or the development of new products.

As a result, the amazing opportunities and possibilities of modern hybrid IT are redefining the role of the IT department within the business. Where once it was often seen as a backbone responsible for maintaining systems and computers, it is now being elevated to the status of a value-adding ‘asset’. The IT manager must internalise the business model, be well versed in market solutions, work closely with the business units – essentially becoming an integral part of them – and be adept at orchestrating this hybrid, complex IT environment. This is essentially revolutionising the profession itself! The IT professional has the potential to become a true business enabler.

It’s worth broadening our perspective. And of course, with all the potential that the new IT landscape offers, it also harbours certain risks that need to be considered. How to manage these risks will be the focus of our next blog post.

Best regards,
Ihr IT-Souring Team