An effective hybrid IT model and why is it important?
Essential hybrid IT can best be summarised as a mixture of internal and external services, usually from a combination of internal and public clouds, in support of a business outcome.
Based on the IT strategic work Pulsant is delivering within businesses across numerous sectors, the cloud computing business model or the principle of “CLOUD FIRST” is prevalent. The ability to rapidly provision IT services without large capital expenditures is extremely appealing to budget-minded executives. Working with CEOs, CIOs and CFOs they are pressuring the IT management to lower overhead by offloading services to cloud providers. However, the typical cloud strategy is to move to a cloud email system such as Office 365 because when IT organisations investigate potential cloud services, the change required in the internal infrastructure coupled with the market's volatility reveals that the cloud-first principle is certainly not a mandate but just a principle.
Our belief is that IT organisations need to understand how to become “the broker” to a set of IT services hosted partially internally and partially externally, following a strategy of hybrid IT architecture. By being the intermediary of IT services or developing a close working relationship with an MSP that can aggregate services, your IT organisation can provide the price, capacity and speed of provisioning of the external cloud, while maintaining the security and governance the company requires, and achieving the reduction in IT service costs.
This model of service delivery has its challenges — in areas such as vendor management, ITSM re-mapping and changes, financial awareness and management, current infrastructure changes and aggregated service management. As a result, both the longstanding practices of IT organisations and the business models of traditional IT vendors need to be adapted and aligned to ensure that the best hybrid IT service can be adopted.
Pulsant Soundbites (Challenges):
- Vendor management uplift - management of multiple vendors is introduced – possibly numerous third party organisations (SaaS, IaaS providers, etc.), whereas historically, IT support may have been completely provided internally.
- ITSM changes - IT services changes need to be addressed. Current service provision is typically delivered horizontally across the IT organisation and changes to address third party SLAs and service provision vertically outside the organisation can be challenging. Service mapping is extremely important to ensure that the downstream support required to service the business is addressed appropriately.
- Financial awareness and management – challenges such as budget allocation of capex vs. opex, along with the new processes, procedures, tools and management capability to manage service cost (on-demand / flexible charging) from external vendors providing cloud services.
- Integration between new and existing (controls) – the infrastructure integration between the new aggregated services and existing infrastructure can be challenging, such as ensuring that security, governance, compliance, operational management and standards are seamlessly provided and controlled across all aspects of the IT service stack.
If managed and implemented correctly, a hybrid IT model has numerous benefits. From our experience the key benefits of moving to the hybrid model can be more advantageous than many internal IT organisations can provide, including:
- IT agility
- Cost savings / benefits
- Improved functionality
- Driving innovation and future proofing your business
- Higher service-level agreements