2. Set Your Priorities

No established enterprise has the luxury to reboot its IT infrastructure from a clean slate, so CIOs need to map out a more practical route that shakes off the inertia associated with traditional IT – vendor lock-in, proprietary systems, closed platforms – to enable business innovation at a rapid clip.

Hybrid IT is more than a simple on-premise-vs.-cloud hosting debate – or even a technology debate. It is also different than hybrid cloud, which is a specific deployment model that combines public and private cloud services. Hybrid IT, by comparison, encompasses cloud and traditional in-house data center technology, and requires examination in a broader context. This includes the maturity of the technology infrastructure, existence of multiple clouds, management frameworks, as well as cultural readiness and staffing skills – all with an eye toward improving business outcomes.

“We don’t have IT priorities, we have business priorities. We understand those by communicating with peers across the group, and then we work back from those strategic objectives.”

– Jason Oliver
Director of ICT, Science Museum Group

“It’s a workload-by-workload decision-making process focusing on what’s best for the business,” says Margaret Dawson, senior director of global product marketing at Red Hat, in the HPE Foundations of Hybrid IT report. “It’s not just a technology decision about what’s new and sexy. It’s about which workloads will have the biggest impact on the business.” Business impact of Hybrid IT and data-driven approach – is increasingly a focus of the modern IT organization, along with longstanding priorities such as cost management.

Top 3 Business Priorities For IT

Improving employee productivity
1
Improving customer satisfaction/
experience
2
Containing costs
3

There’s no denying that the cloud plays an important role in any transformation plan. Nearly 8 in 10 organizations in the Computerworld Tech Forecast 2017 survey have moved at least one application or infrastructure component to the cloud, and 58% say they are getting good, sometimes excellent, business value from the migration.

But cloud is only one piece of the digital transformation journey; a successful Hybrid IT model involves charting all existing infrastructure, identifying the workloads that should remain in the data center, and cleaning house of end-of-life or little-used legacy systems and applications. IT needs to involve line of business users in this basic assessment, working in tandem to weed out processes and services that no longer have impact while prioritizing modernization of those that have the most potential for strategic advantage.



79%
of organizations have moved at least one application or infrastructure component
to the cloud.
56%
of IT leaders say they work with business units to prioritize IT projects.

“Our thinking was to move those to cloud first because they are less differentiating to our core value proposition and relatively low risk…We’ll move up the arc to things that make up our core business over time. And along the way we will learn, and get better, and get smarter with the cloud.”

– Randall Gaboriault,
CIO, Christiana Care Health System

The Hybrid IT governance model

CIOs have two basic choices when prioritizing transformation initiatives: cherry-pick the workloads that promise to deliver the biggest bang for the buck, or experiment with non-strategic apps that have negligible impact on day-to-day operations.

At Christiana Care, Gaboriault’s team focused first on migrating non-core applications including HR and payroll. “Our thinking was to move those to cloud first because they are less differentiating to our core value proposition and relatively low risk,” he says. “We’ll move up the arc to things that make up our core business over time. And along the way we will learn, and get better, and get smarter with the cloud.”

To help determine the best deployment approach, companies also need a robust governance model based on a variety of technology and non-technology factors, from cost to compliance risks to business continuity.

“Think of governance as the engine that defines what services within the IT supply chain are available and matches them appropriately as demand comes in,” says Partridge. “Without a governance model, everything else is just a collection of technology.”

The governance model will also help CIOs keep potential digital sprawl in check as workload-specific hardware platforms, legacy operations, and cloud-based services begin to co-exist. A Hybrid IT approach enables organizations to more logically mix and match solutions that best fit the business need, unencumbered by inflexible IT architectures and without the complexity that stalls many technology rollouts and can impede digital transformation.

Hybrid IT speeds digital transformation by ensuring businesses have enough flexibility for continuous innovation, with systems that can be scaled, shared, or reprovisioned as requirements change in response to shifting market or customer demands.

“Given that technology is the enabler for what we need to do, [Hybrid IT] allows us to have more people focused on value creation and business opportunity rather than on technology opportunity,” says Gaboriault.

Key Play

2. The Option

Evaluate your options for Hybrid IT transition
Stay on-prem Core systems/apps Compliance needs Move to cloud Non-strategic workloads Low risk/low impact Mission-critical workloads More bang for the buck Test and learn Delivery model Decision drivers Governance Move to cloud Core systems/apps Compliance needs Governance Choose a delivery model Stay on-prem Decision drivers Move to cloud Governance Choose a delivery model Stay on-prem Decision drivers Non-strategic workloads Mission-critical workloads Low risk/low impact More bang for the buck Test and learn

Take a Deeper Dive into Hybrid IT

The Strategic CIO’s Playbook

Create a game plan for accelerating digital transformation with the right mix of Hybrid IT.


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