Get ready for hybrid IT and multi-path digital transformation

By | 4 minute read | April 23, 2018

The cloud is ubiquitous in today’s business world. This operational model is changing both data center operations and application development processes across multiple domains. As the manager of data centers for some of the most significant companies in the world, IBM has observed this profound shift in the strategic outsourcing marketplace. These shifts are being driven by:

  • Financial changes designed to minimize CAPEX and maximize OPEX.
  • Acquisition changes that prioritize as-a-service IT consumption and multisource procurement.
  • Operational changes that shift from data center ownership and physical management toward the virtual management of IT services from data centers owned by AWS, Azure, IBM and Hosted VMware providers.

What’s driving innovation?

With these changes, organizations are challenged to update their internal processes in a manner that addresses changing people skills, new programmable IT infrastructures and the multicloud world. Application development best practices are also transitioning, which is upending enterprise software deployments. These new development strategies are driving companies away from:

  • Monolithic designs, toward designs that aggregate the use of microservices.
  • Agile and Waterfall management models, toward fully automated DevOps.
  • Physical infrastructures and virtual servers, toward containerized environments.

While these transformations are seemingly inevitable, companies embark on their individualized journeys from a variety of starting points and with three different goals. The first goal is to support legacy enterprise application enhancements and deployments that tend to start and remain in an on-premise environment. The second is to implement new application designs that are primarily cloud-native for deployment to public cloud environments. In the face of this bifurcation, data center transformation projects represent the third goal. These tend to start with the automation of infrastructure components, with an end target of fully automated and containerized IT service provisioning and consumption within a DevOps operational environment.

Attaining these three operational goals is why cloud computing has driven rapid innovation, causing unprecedented disruption to the IT operating model. This disruption is revolutionizing how resources are consumed, delivered and governed. Cloud platforms, in fact, enable digital transformation acceleration along all three of these digital transformation vectors simultaneously by helping to answer questions like:

  • How to design and build new apps.
  • How to modernize existing apps with cloud services.
  • How to optimize the IT owned and operated by the enterprise.

Pursue multi-path digital transformation

Efficient and effective digital transformation depends on hybrid IT adoption. Transition requires building consensus across multiple constituencies and a focused change management strategy across just about every business process. The change management vectors must address:

  • How IT service consumption is changing into a commerce-like transaction similar to buying songs from multiple online streaming music vendors;
  • How IT service delivery is changing from service requests that initiate workflows towards fully automated functions governed by IT corporate policies;
  • How IT service governance is changing from incident keyed governance after-the-fact to the proactive setting and enforcement of policies that control consumption based on individual business unit usage models and cloud adoption strategies.

The target operating model is one that uses a multicloud federated management model that leverages IT service abstraction. The model lets businesses select and consume unique services and capabilities from each cloud service provider. The Gen 2 IT operations model depends on a high level of infrastructure visibility and governance that controls assets and usage patterns, a common DevOps consumption interface, the implementation of an enterprise scale DevOps model and, finally, the management of IT as a stand-alone business unit.

To pursue a multi-path digital transformation to hybrid IT operations, you must:

  • Run a strategic portfolio analysis: Prioritized based on importance to customer experience, focus on high priority apps.
  • Develop your app-by-app migration plan: For priority, application create a focused SWT Team for each application.
  • Create a customer-obsessed cloud team: Think products and not projects (short iterations with quick customer feedback).
  • Pursue relentless automation: This requires standardization.
  • Re-engage with your trusted partners: External advice in the early change of a cloud migration can kick off the required culture change.

The IT world is changing fast, and the end point of this transition is a hybrid IT platform. This environment has on-premise data centers operating collaboratively across a multivendor, multicloud estate. The key to success in this world to proactively set and enforce policies that control consumption based on individual business unit usage models and cloud adoption strategies. Get ready now, because it’s go time for multi-path digital transformation.

Bring in expert help

If this sounds daunting, rest assured you’re not the only IT professional to feel that way. IBM has served many customers who don’t want to tackle this alone. Our Global Technology Services portfolio includes targeted hybrid cloud offerings to help you develop a capable and flexible cloud platform that will serve your organization’s needs.

Learn more about our Cloud Migration Services, and how IBM can supporting your IT transformation.

To get started, we invite you to schedule 30 minutes to discuss with an IBM expert in Hybrid Cloud Services.