Mastering hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud can drive business transformation and simplify the IT landscape—if organizations can break down the barriers.

Unlocking transformational business performance improvement requires securely employing software and data at scale—and with speed—across the enterprise IT landscape. That, of course, is cloud. For a big enterprise, though, the bar is higher.

Because of data gravity, security and regulatory requirements, and the cost and complexity of mission-critical applications, big enterprises need a hybrid cloud solution that spans data centers, mainframes, multiple clouds (private and public), software as a service (SaaS) applications, and applications and data running at the edge.

Hybrid cloud integrates applications that run across multiple clouds, moving data securely across the cloud estate, and improving business processes and workflows that span multiple clouds. Hybrid cloud simplifies and integrates diverse elements of a large cloud estate as a single, coherent fabric of capabilities.

But just adopting hybrid cloud isn’t enough. To achieve its benefits—simplification and integration of the IT landscape—organizations must master it.

Mastering hybrid cloud integrates cloud assets according to a clear and compelling hybrid cloud vision.

Specifically, mastery confers 4 distinctive levers of value:


  • Build applications once, deploy them anywhere.
  • Manage applications once, host them anywhere.
  • Develop skills once, deploy them anywhere.
  • Innovate anywhere, with anyone’s technology.

Too often, cloud adoption programs lose momentum before program investments start to pay off. Dabbling-level adoption stops short of a tipping point where the ROI from improvements in business performance balances and then outpaces cloud implementation costs.

There are many reasons why hybrid cloud adoption can fall short of expectations, but there’s a consistent theme in every story from the field: the hybrid cloud journey’s archenemy is complexity.

As with every archenemy, complexity can be overcome. As it works with clients around the world, IBM Consulting sees 5 common challenges that frustrate hybrid cloud journeys to value:


  1. The architecture challenge: Cloud adoption piles cloud upon clouds. Mastering hybrid cloud integrates cloud assets according to a clear and compelling hybrid cloud vision, starting with a hybrid cloud platform architecture that provides a fabric of cloud services.
  2. The people and operations challenge: Cloud adoption assembles cloud talent piece-parts in siloed working practices. Mastering hybrid cloud develops cadres of cloud-savvy smart creatives, designs workflows that free those people to do their best work—efficiently and effectively—across the platform, and guides the evolution of a single hybrid cloud operating model.
  3. The security challenge: Cloud adoption risks expanding the security attack surface and is prone to failure in a multicloud environment. Mastering hybrid cloud develops a unified security program that steers business initiatives, optimizes security resources, and transforms operating culture to be security-first.
  4. The financial challenge: Cloud adoption manages individual cloud bills. Mastering hybrid cloud manages all cloud costs through a single view and captures opportunities to optimize costs and reallocate resources.
  5. The partner ecosystem challenge: Cloud adoption administers individual partner contracts. Mastering hybrid cloud brings partners together in a voluntary, multilateral ecosystem aligned under one strategy for success.

These challenges aren’t insurmountable. Download the report to discover the simple, pragmatic things organizations can do today to address them—and in so doing, achieve hybrid cloud mastery.

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Meet the authors

John Granger

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, Senior Vice President, IBM Consulting

Shai Joshi

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, Managing Partner and Growth Platform Leader, Global Hybrid Cloud Services, IBM Consulting

Thais Lima de Marca

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, Managing Partner, Hybrid Cloud Management, IBM Consulting

Varun Bijlani

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, Global Managing Partner, Hybrid Cloud Transformation, IBM Consulting

Shue-Jane Thompson, D.M.

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, Senior Partner, Security Strategy and Growth, Distinguished Industry Leader, IBM Consulting

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Originally published 06 June 2022