The hybrid IT conundrum: How to effect seamless enterprise transformation

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The term ‘enterprise transformation’ is frequently heard, relating to organisational change and moving away from legacy technologies. Accenture defines it as a “fundamental shift [of] strategy, in response to major disruptions through a complete, business-driven remodelling of how a company structures itself.” But how far down the company does change go?

Antonion Piraino, chief technology officer at IT management software provider ScienceLogic, argues organisations need to assess the effects of bimodal IT at an operational level as well as at the application layer.

Speaking at IP EXPO, Piraino explained the consequences of bimodal IT – the idea that organisations need two speeds of IT, one for reliability and the other for agility. “Your people now start to go down two different paths; [one] orderly, traditional IT, maintenance on a day to day basis, and [then] you have these new sprinting, DevOps-type people developing new applications, trying things all the time,” he said. “Your processes change dramatically now.”

It affects the platform level, with the move towards a Docker-esque containerising of applications going against the traditional ‘building blocks’ approach and using lifecycle management technologies. But it also affects operations in a variety of ways. How do you decide which apps to move where? Which heritage apps require refactoring to make them cloud ready? Is there a danger of reinvigorating the previous siloed approach? “There’s a huge impact on your operations teams as well – you create a Chinese wall between them,” explained Piraino.

Recent statistics from the Cloud Industry Forum show how entrenched companies still are. 86% of organisations polled expect in 2016 to still own and operate the majority of workloads inside their own data centres. 78% still run their own IT operations. 60% still run Windows Server 2003.

Piraino identifies four problems when companies assess a move to hybrid IT: CIOs being hesitant and lacking confidence in understanding workloads; a shift in complexity from on-premise to cloud; struggling to identify cloud appropriate workloads, and fearing a lack of visibility before, during, and after a move to hybrid.

Ultimately, Piraino advocates a federated cloud environment for enterprise transformation to ensure greater visibility and cost effectiveness. “The biggest cost in all of your businesses today is manual labour,” he explained. “You can go down the track of deploying open source technologies to your hearts’ content, but at the end of the day it is not going to overcome the fact that your labour costs are going to be high.

“Reducing that complexity and reducing that labour cost is critical – bringing back time and money to your organisation, and ultimately having a single management capability.

“You are going to hear more and more about bimodal IT, and you are going to have to think about it in the long run. Know it’s measured risk if you do so,” Piraino added.

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