A field guide to managing hybrid IT complexity

Learn how to embrace the challenge of complex IT environments and leverage them for competitive advantage

By and Andreas Graef | 2 minute read | February 12, 2020

It’s a given that digital technology is dominating today’s business. Whether you follow the news, analyze stock markets or talk to industry experts, digitalization is disrupting many business models and will continue to do so. Based on analysis conducted by the World Economic Forum, more than 60 percent of the global GDP will be digitized by 2022.This means that enterprises not only have to focus on their own adoption of technology, but they also need to consider how their clients are using technology and how they want to consume services and products.

Organizations are dealing with the following challenges, which can lead to overwhelming complexity for many organizations:

  • Rising complexity due to the growing number of base technologies that need to be managed simultaneously, including traditional IT, virtualized IT and multiple clouds
  • Increasing risks around security, data hacks, compliance and new competitors
  • Missing skills based on demographic change and increasing technological change
  • Compromised governance caused by empowered business users operating without clear guidance, varying interpretations of guidelines, or lack of awareness of new risks and rules

Digital monocultures are no accelerator for growth

Based on perception and the need to act, many organizations are trying to simplify and regain control by implementing “digital monocultures” — for instance, releasing a single cloud vendor policy. However, what initially might sound like a good idea can backfire. Monocultures don’t pay off in the long term, especially when you take into consideration that the selection of your digital ecosystem significantly contributes to your future competitive differentiation.

Bottom line: If you follow a simple, imitable platform strategy, you won’t be able to gain a competitive advantage. And even if you managed to somehow achieve an advantage, your competitors can easily catch up by simply copying your digital monoculture approach.

How to start managing hybrid IT complexity

An oversimplified solution to a complex challenge isn’t the best strategy to accelerate economic growth in a competitive world. To start building your unique set of differentiating business and IT capabilities, follow this this four-step approach:

  1. Determine business demands and the IT capabilities needed to support them. As a first step, it’s necessary to determine the current and future business demands based on capabilities and business model changes. You’ll also need to determine the current and planned IT capabilities of your organization. This might include rethinking IT services distribution and redefining IT-related functions and roles.
  2. Develop business and IT topology. To align business demands and IT capabilities, you’ll need to develop a topology map that enables you to easily identify gaps between business demand and IT technology and services. Such an approach will give you a sound basis for further analysis, what-if simulations and investment decisions.
  3. Assign technology services. After establishing the topology of your business model and supporting IT services, the next step is to assign the best suitable technology service for each business demand. Which sourcing model fits best for the business can vary on a large number of factors, including service costs, delivery location, service capabilities, accessibility, service maturity and reliability.
  4. Continuously adapt your IT operating model. The final step is to transfer the topology and associated choice factors into an AI-based decision model, perhaps supported by a decision-optimizer technology, that continuously determines the best operating model or variations of it. Following this approach will enable you to consider changing circumstances within your organization and the broader market ecosystem.

Being able to orchestrate and semi-autonomously manage a complex IT landscape can be the crucial differentiator in your market. Learn more about how successful multicloud management can help.