Hybrid Cloud: The New Normal for Enterprise Transformation
In the face of post-pandemic business disruption, Canadian organizations are accelerating digital transformation efforts to ensure long-term survival. With enterprises in a race to reinvent themselves, success is measured by the speed of enterprise transformation.
In this environment, modernizing applications for the cloud and managing that environment is a competitive necessity. The new era of innovation will be fuelled by next-generation, mission-critical apps built on cloud-native technologies and infused with AI – driving huge gains in speed, scale, accuracy, and efficiency.
That’s why the new normal for cloud is fast becoming hybrid. According to a recent hybrid cloud study by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), the sure path to enterprise transformation in Canada is a multicloud, open hybrid cloud platform. They note that the value derived from a full hybrid, multicloud platform technology operating model at scale is 2.5 times greater than the value derived from a single platform, single cloud vendor approach.
Managing the complexity of a hybrid cloud environment
Accelerating the trend to hybrid cloud are next-gen business models that enable organizations to become more agile and adaptable – a top priority in our post-pandemic environment.
No surprise then, that, according to a recent IDC InfoBrief, nearly 63% of organizations in Canada are planning to implement a hybrid cloud environment over the next 12 to 24 months. . Furthermore, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) notes that by 2023, Canadian organizations expect to be using at least nine clouds, from a growing number of vendors, up from seven today.
Nine clouds? So much for the oft-heard claim: “We’ve already selected a cloud.”
Unfortunately, migrating to hybrid cloud and managing that environment remain major hurdles for most Canadian organizations. Indeed, less than 20% of Canadian workloads have moved to the cloud– mostly either through SaaS offerings, “lift and shift” of VM-based applications with no change of business function, and a small number of microservices-based applications born on the cloud. IBV research has found that just 27% of Canadian businesses have a holistic multicloud management strategy in place.
Clearly, many organizations still have not realized the advantages of a hybrid platform – one that moves from separate cloud environments to all technology operating under a single hybrid platform and operating model. With 98% of organizations predicting that they will be using multiple hybrid clouds within three years, an approach to realize value from the hybrid cloud model is desperately required.
Enterprises in Canada need an application development platform that can run on any cloud, workloads that can execute seamlessly across multiple clouds, and a comprehensive orchestration capability that spans across clouds.
Is it time to take a hard look at your current hybrid cloud management strategy? Can it handle future inevitable complexity as your hybrid cloud landscape grows?
Any cloud, one experience
With multiple applications running on multiple clouds – both on prem and off, and between clouds – your hybrid platform must be managed so that interrelated workloads work correctly across all environments. In a world where any one system interacts with many others, any changes made to one causes a downstream impact. For example, your supply chain system necessarily interacts with the financial system for payments. Similarly, managing employee shiftwork in your time management system must integrate with the HR systems. No application system operates in isolation.
That is why planning a hybrid cloud platform is never “one cloud fits all” – it is best described as “any cloud, one experience.” Open hybrid cloud management platforms enable users to consume, orchestrate, and govern IT services across multiple cloud environments, based on open source, open data, open standards, and open governance.
A full-service provider can manage the complexity of your hybrid environment – your complete line-up of SaaS offerings and large enterprise applications. IBM is that partner for our clients – and we have the added advantage of being a full-service integrator with all the methods, development tools and skills to accelerate that work.
IDC MarketScape names IBM a “Leader” in Canadian Cloud Professional Services
IBM was recently named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Canadian Cloud Professional Services 2021 Vendor Assessment . Since one of IBM’s primary goals is to be number one in the open hybrid multi-cloud space in Canada, this is unequivocal affirmation of the progress we have made.
The report states: “Cloud professional services is core to IBM Canada’s positioning as the digital reinvention partner, which is predicated on speeding the client journey to hybrid cloud and multicloud environments, transforming customer experience and business workflows through AI and automation, and enabling cost optimization and risk mitigation in the future IT environment.”
The IDC MarketScape’s evaluation aligns with IBM’s: The future of cloud is becoming a cloud-native enterprise. “IDC recognizes that the future of cloud Is hybrid. As digital infrastructure becomes a driving force that shapes IT investments, organizations are reminded that the shift to cloud will encompass a hybrid cloud model based on experiences of early adopters and product road maps of leading vendors.
Used by enterprises, cloud-native companies and public sector organizations across Canada, IBM’s strategy for cloud professional services is well aligned to the Canadian market, according to the IDC MarketScape.
The IDC MarketScape calls IBM Canada’s capabilities “well regarded in the market,” thanks to its resource availability and ability to manage turnover on projects. The IDC MarketScape further notes that IBM is also viewed as cost competitive for delivering value for money on cloud projects, and buyers perceive IBM as having a good reputation for customer satisfaction. 
IBM is the only full-service hybrid and multicloud systems integrator in Canada that also offers a public cloud (IBM Cloud); an open, multicloud container platform (Red Hat OpenShift); and automation tools for application development and infrastructure (Ansible Automation Platform) – along with coast-to-coast services that deliver cloud expertise clients need for their reinvention journey from end to end.
What to look for in a cloud professional services provider
Creating and delivering hybrid cloud services is a complex and expensive undertaking. Many firms simply do not have the IT and digital expertise in-house to manage everything from legacy to new. An experienced partner complements your capabilities with proven expertise in industry, digital, and cloud to help you achieve maximum return on investment.
This is where IBM is strong. We partner with your ecosystem across the entire stack of cloud providers and the full breadth of business functionality. We know our own products – and our competitors’ products. We understand hybrid cloud – and what you can achieve with it. Our incumbency in application management gives us a deep understanding of your complex legacy applications and the know-how to rehost, refactor, and re-architect them for hybrid cloud.
Our leadership in this space also means we know where you are going – and how to get you there. Growing from five to seven to nine clouds is complicated. That’s what resonated with the IDC MarketScape. The key reason we were positioned as a Leader in the IDC MarketScape for Cloud Professional Services is the breadth of our capability. Niche companies can handle certain aspects of cloud management or migration, but IBM has market-leading capabilities across all major SaaS platforms and clouds, and we are unique in our understanding of our major Canadian clients’ legacy environments.
Or to put it more simply, we know the “old” and we know how to move you to the “new”.
Make your move to hybrid multicloud
The IDC MarketScape notes that Canadian organizations are expanding their cloud capabilities as they race to build digital infrastructures to prepare for the post-pandemic recovery. Many are working with cloud professional services firms to accelerate their cloud maturity and augment their in-house capabilities, and the IDC MarketScape expects this trend to accelerate as the shift to complex, hybrid, multicloud digital infrastructures continues.
With hybrid cloud fast emerging as the winning model for enterprise transformation, there is no need to compromise on availability, security or speed. IBM Cloud’s “run anything, anywhere” hybrid cloud platform provides a rock-solid management infrastructure for your mission-critical applications. We provide our clients with the tools they need to power their digital reinvention – with secure, scalable, and resilient IT environments that leverage open, cloud-native technologies.
Read the Hybrid Cloud Platform Advantage
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Mark Dymond, Senior Partner, Cloud Application Services, IBM Services