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Let’s say you have a car you love. It runs great and you don’t have to spend much on repairs. There are really cool new touch-screen car stereos that connect to the internet, play movies, provide GPS and so on. Do you go buy a new car to get one of the new stereos? No. You get a new stereo that enhances the great car you have.
Hybrid cloud helps you in the same way. You can create amazing new capabilities that leverage the investments you have already made in your backend applications and the data you store. Leveraging cloud services with on-premises backends can add value even when there is no new cloud-native app. A common example is leveraging cloud analytics for new insight to on-premises data.
How do you figure out how cloud can drive the most value for your company? For one, you need advisors who have driven success for other businesses. If you look at this purely from a speeds-and-feeds, cost-saving view, you may have missed the immediate value that hybrid cloud can provide.
Hybrid cloud = new capabilities
As I’ve said before, all companies are becoming software companies. Many companies are not sure where they should invest their resources and budget as they take on software opportunities. The value areas for businesses are the new interaction applications and services. Interaction capabilities are those that drive new kinds of exchanges with customers, partners and between applications.
A key aspect of driving this innovation is leveraging capabilities instead of building them. Cloud services are one of the fastest methods of driving value more quickly. So where are businesses creating impact?
Hybrid cloud strategic lessons to learn
Here are some hypothetical examples of both success and failure in embracing digital innovation.
- Executives as a global financial services company knew they had to innovate to avoid losing more market share. They initially focused on mobile apps, but were finding them costly to build and it was taking them too long to get them into market. They also found that frequently they would miss the mark with the initial app capabilities. They needed to figure out how to create innovative concepts and rapidly drive that innovation to their customers and partners.
- One of the world’s largest retail companies was running an enormous innovation program. It included external hackathons, an internal center of excellence and developer community involvement. While this was driving a significant amount of concept, most of the ideas were not impacting their business.
- A U.S. auto insurer found it was continually chasing its competitors with their digital capabilities. Their competition began creating partnerships and driving new models. They began working to build their own partnerships but could not see how the partnerships would allow them to leapfrog what their competitors had already done.
There are multiple missteps in each of these approaches: Not focusing on innovation that can drive clear business wins, investing without strong concepts of outcomes and lack of investment in core capabilities that create innovation and get everything built.
Path to hybrid cloud success
To create stronger digital innovation strategies, the companies each followed these steps:
- They engaged with service providers who understood how to deliver software products, not just projects.
- They focused on an overall strategy that would enable them to evaluate, experiment, iterate and polish into products.
- They focused on core technologies that would help them accelerate and allow them to leverage cloud services at scale as they grew their new capabilities.
- Finally, they created partner and ecosystem objectives to drive innovation beyond their walls realizing that they could not do it all on their own.
Bridging from on-premises IT—where companies have valuable app capabilities and data—to the cloud is a turning point for most companies. Gartner refers to this technology core as the digital platform. If you don’t bridge to the cloud with production-quality integration, you can face significant failures that can harm business.
As a software products company, IBM focuses on enabling professional software production for our clients. Our hybrid cloud service Product Insights adds visibility and predictive management into existing on-premises software and cloud software. This is key enabler for what is needed to create the digital platform.
For more information on what Product insights can deliver to your hybrid cloud, click here.