Most enterprises tailor hybrid cloud to their specific needs

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CIOs, CTOs and all line-of-business leaders looking to gain differentiation and strategic advantage: you’ve come a long way in the last four years when it comes to cloud technology.

That’s one of the key takeaways from a new IBM Institute for Business Value report, Tailoring Hybrid Cloud.

My co-authors — IBMers Justin Chua, Robert Freese, Anthony Karimi, Julie Schuneman — and I wanted to answer a specific question: how are organizations currently differentiating themselves using cloud? To find out, we interviewed 30 executives and surveyed 1,000 global respondents from 18 industries. Sixty-one percent of respondents held the title of CIO, CTO or head of IT.

We learned some interesting things:

  • In 2012, cloud was still viewed as something “special.” No longer. Seventy-eight percent of the executives we spoke with described their cloud initiatives as coordinated or fully integrated.
  • However, even with the rising use of cloud overall, almost half of computing workloads are expected to remain on dedicated, on-premises servers.

The implications of this became clear as we spoke to executives. Each enterprise is trying to tailor hybrid cloud to what best suits it.

Most often, it’s a blend of public cloud, private cloud and traditional IT services. For many of these enterprises, finding the right cloud technology mix starts with deciding what to move to the cloud and addressing the challenges that can affect migration.

Our study also found that innovation advantages can be gained through rapid experimentation,strategic application programming interfaces (APIs) and extended access to external talent and technologies.

Conducting rapid experimentation gives innovative organizations the crucial ability to test and fail quickly. Cloud, with its on-demand and scalable attributes, enables this sort of nimble development and testing. What’s more, quick and automated resource provisioning can shorten development time and reduce time to market.

We discovered that executives achieved the strongest results, true strategic advantage and differentiation, by integrating cloud initiatives company-wide and tapping external resources for access to additional skills and greater efficiency.

Probably the most important thing the study revealed for organizations that are just beginning to tap into cloud technology or are ready to take the next step in digital transformation comes by way of three questions:

  • How is your organization planning to incorporate hybrid cloud into your overall transformation strategy?
  • What is the optimal combination of cloud and on-premises IT investments for your organization? What factors will you regularly monitor to identify needed changes over time?
  • How effective are you in tapping into external resources in assessing and implementing cloud-based solutions?

Cloud can be the centerpiece of an overall organizational transformation. Potential business impacts and the associated financial implications require ongoing scrutiny. During each stage of cloud adoption, combine the insights of business and IT. A tailor-made environment for your organization will be possible when IT employees truly understand what the business needs and line-of-business employees know what technologies/IT can do for them.

To learn more, read the IBM Institute for Business Value report, Tailoring hybrid cloud: designing the right mix for innovation, efficiency and growth.

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