3 key challenges to optimizing and managing your hybrid multicloud environment

And the solutions that can help you tackle them

By | 4 minute read | October 14, 2020

The cloud journey of every enterprise is unique. Each demands a different mix of public and private cloud, as well as traditional infrastructure, creating a hybrid multicloud environment. The speed and success of each cloud journey varies widely. Even though each enterprise follows its own path, many face common challenges along the way.

IBM Services commissioned a Forrester Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study to learn more about its customers’ cloud journeys. Through in-depth interviews and surveys, analysts dug into how the cloud journey progresses from traditional infrastructure to hybrid environments. They discovered three primary challenges that businesses face.

Companies must find a way to leverage traditional infrastructure and accommodate a consumption-based, cloud-centric model. Costs and how they accrue matter to every business. Traditional infrastructure costs fall under capital expenses, which is spending done in the present in hopes it will deliver future gains. As the speed of business quickens, this spending and consumption model often hinders the agility demanded of today’s modern enterprises. Organizations seek to align their consumption costs to demand, when-needed, as-needed. Cloud enables this alignment, allowing a business to avoid accruing technical debt or paying for hardware that is underused. Cloud-use patterns better meld with an operating expense model, where expenses derive from actual need. This shift in consumption models and targeted expenses often underpins a solid cloud migration strategy. However, businesses struggle to find the optimal balance between maintaining physical environments and migrating to the cloud.

Businesses find it hard to effectively plan and execute their cloud strategies. This difficulty arises for many reasons. It could be lack of existing or experienced internal talent. It may stem from insufficient tools to execute plans or measure success. Complex cloud migrations may lead to the fear of repercussions if mistakes happen during execution, particularly when these mistakes cause business disruption. Occasionally, execution is hindered by internal pushback, and IT managers must fight fear with facts as they plan a cloud journey. A survey conducted by IBM Market Development & Insights showed 66% of IT decision-makers face skepticism from their organizations in three key areas: security risks, legacy systems and the complexity of hybrid and multicloud environments. In such a situation, it can be tough to put cloud strategies in place.

Outdated application portfolios present a continual challenge for growing companies. Large companies, especially those that grow through acquisition, find themselves managing a broad and always-expanding application portfolio. Those portfolios are often littered with legacy applications that existed long before the advent of cloud computing. Many of those apps do not accommodate cloud environments, leaving IT teams in the unenviable position of making hard choices. Either they must abandon the apps and find replacements, spend the time and energy to find cloud workarounds or simply accept the limitations of the apps and maintain the infrastructure needed to support them.

Choosing guides and solutions for the cloud journey

The essence of these challenges is this: Organizations find it difficult to make their hybrid environments work as they need them to. Cloud migration alone is not enough to optimize enterprise environments or applications. Out of necessity, many businesses seek help. They want experienced partners that offer solutions to help them meet their most pressing needs:

Advice on how to best incorporate on-premises hardware. Enterprises seek partners to advise on the wisest way to decrease reliance on traditional hardware. The goal is to reduce the need to maintain physical centers and transition to the agility of the cloud.

Best practices to reduce operational costs. Retiring physical locations helps reduce the operational costs associated with them. Mastering the hybrid environment also allows cost optimization.

Ways to reduce risk of business disruption. Unplanned business disruption is likely one of the greatest fears of any IT team. These teams need experienced partners to help navigate migration and modernization safely to reduce this risk.

Direction for managing legacy modernization and migration. The costs of maintaining legacy applications can be high, from employing staff knowledgeable about the applications to maintaining physical data centers required to keep those applications running. Experienced partners can help plan a migration strategy and reduce the associated costs.

The economic argument for an optimized hybrid cloud environment

As businesses choose partners for their cloud journey, they seek assurances of achieving ROI and a positive economic impact on their business. The Forrester TEI™ study evaluated the financial impact of partnering with IBM and using IBM solutions and found these results:

  • 34% decline in application migration and modernization costs
  • 44% reduction in risk of application disruption
  • 35% decrease in ongoing operational costs
  • 80% reduction in data center footprint over five years

The study provides in-depth detail about the quantifiable impact that businesses can expect from an optimized and well managed hybrid multicloud. Download the Forrester report The Total Economic Impact of Optimizing And Managing Your Hybrid Multicloud to learn the cost savings and business benefits available from accelerating your cloud journey with IBM.