Digital transformation (referred to as DX, for short) is a journey that most organizations have to undertake in order to future-proof their existence. For these organizations, cloud is a crucial foundation for their DX initiatives. Cloud shapes enterprise IT service strategies, and, therefore, influences the outcome of DX initiatives. Organizations that fully embrace the distributed infrastructure model supported by cloud and hybrid IT treat IT as a core competency – one that drives new sources of competitive differentiation, while also supporting ongoing business processes.
Digital transformation (referred to as DX, for short) is a journey that most organizations have to undertake in order to future-proof their existence.Organizations embark on DX initiatives to achieve business growth, gain competitive advantage and deliver improved customer experiences.For many organizations, applications and workloads are at the center of their DX efforts, given that so much of their business is conducted and enhanced via applications.
For these organizations, cloud is a crucial foundation for their DX initiatives. A recent multi-client study conducted by IDC on IT infrastructure workloads shows that globally, from 2013 to 2020, the cumulative off-premises (i.e., in the cloud or in colocation data centers) server infrastructure volume deployed will account for 42% of the total installed base (with associated storage capacity accounting for 67% of the total installed base). In terms of IT spend on infrastructure, this translates to 37% and 41%, respectively.
Cloud shapes enterprise IT service strategies, and, therefore, influences the outcome of DX initiatives. The shift to and the influence of cloud ushers in a new era of hybrid IT that addresses the needs of an expanded group of constituents that includes not just IT operations staff, but also application developers and business executives. But it’s more than just cloud, this new era of hybrid IT requires a distributed infrastructure model that scales well to meet the requirements of an IT internal service broker strategy, which is one of the most effective ways to speed DX. In a recent study, IDC found that, today, 85% of organizations have multi-cloud deployments. It is safe to assume that at least half of these organizations have some or another form of hybrid IT in place.
Organizations that fully embrace the distributed infrastructure model supported by hybrid IT don't treat the IT department as a back-office function. Instead, they see IT as a core competency – one that drives new sources of competitive differentiation, while also supporting ongoing business processes. Yet, operating, managing and quickly delivering IT resources across this hybrid environment can be complicated.
Deploying and managing hybrid IT has some common IT challenges – not the least of which is the training operations and development personnel must undergo as IT itself shifts to a service broker model. In terms of technical issues, hybrid IT brings with it concerns around interoperability and integration, application certification and concerns about newer technologies from line of business and IT executives. From a line of business and IT decision maker perspective, hybrid infrastructure leads to questions about adherence to SLAs; transparency and consistency across clouds; and application certification, performance and cost.
With the right approach, IT should be able to efficiently modernize its application portfolio, while maintaining steady-state apps – a critical aspect of supporting speed and agility, both on- and off-premises. To overcome both technical and business challenges, organizations need to take proactive steps to accelerate the management and delivery of services across their hybrid IT environment. First, IT needs to be able to manage resources across multiple cloud environments. This means having a unified "consumption-centric" view of all on- and off-premises IT resources that delivers visibility into the economic, health, performance and utilization status of each tier. Next, IT needs to be able to provide flexible premises-agnostic composable compute and storage resource pools for current and next-gen apps, front-ended by a cloud-like portal for simple and metered (pay-per-use) consumption. Lastly, by deploying software-defined infrastructure (e.g., hyperconverged and composable infrastructure), IT can speed application delivery. Here it’s important to have a comprehensive and scalable “infrastructure as code” API toolkit that enables application developers and IT operations staff to deploy methodologies like DevOps across the entire organization and, thus, shift focus from infrastructure management to accelerating application delivery.
Digital transformation (DX) is disrupting every industry and, for most, hybrid IT is now a reality.