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7 steps to mastering your hybrid IT transformation

HPE's master cloud and hybrid IT strategist Ray Richardson explains how to get your IT investment to pay off.

By Ray Richardson, master cloud and hybrid IT strategist, HPE

Why are some organizations not seeing investment payoff from cloud and hybrid IT infrastructure? Today's enterprise businesses know that legacy investment in data centers, skilled IT staff, and technology are no longer satisfying the needs of the business, and every industry vendor is pushing a new buzzword-laden solution that promises the world.

Yet this is what we see in too many organizations, including leading global enterprises:

  • Promised cost efficiencies don't materialize.
  • They reinforce consuming external IT resources when cloud implementations don't gain traction.
  • Overall spending increases when applications are moved to an "external cloud provider."

Many of the CIOs and IT leaders I speak with are asking, "What are we not seeing, what are we failing to do, what must we understand, and how do we need to change to leverage the investments we have made to begin seeing tangible results?" And many of them are pausing to consider whether large, transformative IT investments are really worthwhile at all when the business increasingly gets the services and capabilities it wants at a "reduced cost" from outside sources, such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and more.

Hybrid IT success

Ad hoc outsourcing of IT does not leverage technology as part of the organization's value chain in execution of its strategy or mission. A focus on IT cost consistently fails to enable the necessary efficiencies and innovation, whether delivered from internal IT or an outsourced cloud provider's generic offerings. Provisional outsourcing also costs you the internal insight, intellect, and principles to translate business needs into IT services, however sourced. The real investment is in enabling IT to deliver business value under new models and added capabilities—far beyond what a public cloud provider would ever be able to deliver.

There are organizations that are making their internal efforts at creating a hybrid IT organization pay off through a more purposeful and structured approach. In my experience of working with a wide range of clients, there are seven key success factors to getting results from hybrid cloud initiatives:

  1. Have a solid business case and plan: Transformative efforts to create modern, hybrid IT—cloud, hybrid, "converged or composable" infrastructure, "end to end" automation, DevOps, etc.—cannot be approached as a typical IT implementation. You need a more defined and detailed vision, justification, and plan that defines the investments and justifies how results will be obtained and measured to get the necessary sponsorship, stakeholder alignment, and resources.
    High-level sponsorship is crucial to obtaining proper funding and resource commitments.


  2. Engage credible executive sponsorship: Lack of a detailed vision means that many organizations fail to get an active, engaged, and credible sponsorship. High-level sponsorship is crucial to obtaining proper funding and resource commitments.
  3. Realize it's not a "point solution" or platform migration: IT has often provided satisfactory short-term results simply by implementing some newer, faster, cheaper technology tool or platform. Moving to a cloud or hybrid infrastructure is highly disruptive to traditional IT operations and business models, and requires new roles and processes. You must plan for the scope of the change you're undertaking.
  4. Embrace ruthless standardization: You can't automate it if it's not standardized. I can't overstate how critical and far-reaching the need is to transform culture, practices, governance, and policies. The infrastructure needs to be pre-wired, pre-defined, and pre-configured, and the standard needs to be absolute for baseline templates to be able to be automated and orchestrated.
    Roll out change in stages, each with a set of metrics and goals that must be met before moving forward.


  5. Plan a phased approach: Roll out change in stages, each with a set of metrics and goals that must be met before moving forward. Successful cloud and hybrid infrastructure plans, executes, manages, measures success, and validates it against their business case at each stage.
  6. Manage change: Management of change is crucial. You have to understand how disruptive change affects the organization, and guide staff through it, rather than throwing them into a new reality without obtaining buy-in and providing sufficient training and support.
  7. Focus on exceptional consumer experience and desired outcomes: Most failed IT cloud or hybrid initiatives lacked a clear definition of meaningful and measurable business results. Focus on delivering the initiative's end state, in terms of business outcomes and customer satisfaction.

Enterprise IT organizations and service providers are realizing the benefits of this next-generational thinking by focusing not merely on the implementation of the tools and technologies, but on the overall vision. They're not taking an ad hoc approach to workload and application migrations, but purposefully working, in a structured way, to transform their organizations.

For more on choosing the right path to your IT service transformation, read "Transform to a hybrid infrastructure with the Right Mix."

Ray Richardson is a master cloud and hybrid IT strategist at HPE, consulting with global enterprise clients. He has three decades of experience as an IT consultant, enabling and empowering organizations embracing today's innovative IT delivery approaches.


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