As more and more businesses shift their IT infrastructure over to the cloud model, organisations are faced with the challenge of how to manage it all centrally, but also facilitate the agility companies now require. In many cases, business units are consuming public cloud services directly and bypassing central IT governance. This often occurs because IT departments focus too heavily on infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and not on the true needs of the business – access to multiple IT platforms and applications on demand.
For many organisations, adopting a hybrid cloud model rather than trying to consolidate on to a single private or public cloud, is the best approach to streamlining IT and simplifying management. Through hybrid cloud solutions organisations can benefit from agility and cost savings, mixing both public and private cloud to enable self-service provisioning and advanced automation of key processes.
Shifting internal mindsets
As traditional companies become digital enterprises, IT departments must transform from managers of discrete IT software products and infrastructure, into cloud service brokers that manage multiple cloud applications and services. To do this, three things must happen:
- Line-of-business managers need to become comfortable that they don’t have to work around IT but can rely on the IT department to procure these new cloud services in timeframes that meet the company’s needs.
- IT managers must explain to the line-of-business managers that the IT department can get maximum value by buying IT services across numerous departments. Integrating these services in the organisation’s normal internal procurement processes makes it easier for business managers to comply with IT governance and prevents them expensing credit card spend on cloud services, which can also eradicate the cost savings cloud can provide.
- To transition to a cloud service broker, IT departments can create a single console that provides visibility across all of a company’s cloud services. Typically, each cloud provider has an individual portal, these disparate sources must be integrated into a single, unified portal or dashboard that delivers maximum visibility.
Although it can be challenging to change from a traditional model, a corporate IT department stands to gain significant benefits by transforming to a hybrid IT operating model. These are the four biggest benefits the transition can provide:
Rapid time-to-market: A hybrid operating model enables self-service and high levels of automation, resulting in the ability to ‘spin up’ the servers needed for a business application in a matter of hours and often in under 15 minutes. This is a huge reduction from traditional IT environments, where it could take several weeks or even months to procure an additional server.
Increased visibility: In a hybrid IT operating model, a dashboard is provided that can show how many legacy IT, and public and private cloud services the organisation uses, any cost savings achieved, and show whether the company provisions IT efficiently. A recent study found a high number of IT departments run a significant amount of their servers at 10 percent or less utilisation, meaning they are dramatically over-provisioned (or de-provisioning these servers when a business application was decommissioned was not done). The hybrid IT operating model dashboard strives to eliminate this kind of waste.
More efficient and agile DevOps: The ability to easily spin up development environments in the cloud lets developers provide information and services when the company needs them, in the most cost-effective way. For example, during development they may want to run servers in the public cloud for maximum flexibility, but once employing the application, they may want to run the database part on a private cloud for security reasons. Working with a cloud service broker makes it possible to span multiple clouds, which reduces costs and overall cycle time, and increases visibility into all of the company’s cloud activities.
Enhanced governance: When all IT activities are managed via a hybrid IT operating model, the IT department can handle security, regulatory compliance, and the IT budget. An efficient hybrid IT operating model also makes it unnecessary for the organisation to provision shadow IT services, thereby saving costs and eliminating the risk of duplication or paying for services no longer in use.
Deploying a hybrid IT operating model requires everyone in the organisation to buy into the new strategy in order for IT departments to truly become cloud service brokers and achieve full visibility over the IT infrastructure. That’s why it’s crucial for the IT department to take the lead in developing and implementing an all-encompassing plan that addresses the necessary organisational and mindset changes.