Cloud computing: Journey or final destination?

25 May, 2017
Kevin Stoodley

CEOs often see a public cloud platform as a journey’s end — a goal to be attained as soon as possible. The reality for CTOs, however, is far more complex. Many enterprises have existing IT infrastructure, applications and data that need to be taken into consideration, particularly when the value of a hybrid cloud becomes apparent. In this reality, cloud is more often viewed as a pathway to strategic business advantages.This difference in perspective is likely to persist for the foreseeable future. According to a Gartner survey, 58 percent of CEOs say growth is their number one priority in 2017, although technology is also rising in importance. While CEOs are most likely to be concerned about the business impact of a hybrid cloud strategy, CTOs must be prepared to look at the technical components and cloud-migration requirements in addition to business considerations.

Delivering real value through hybrid cloud

CTOs know that their organizations need to utilize cloud-native capabilities behind their firewalls and connect existing investments to hybrid cloud environments. A hybrid environment makes simultaneous use of both cloud services and on-premises infrastructure possible. It allows automated workload flow between on-premises systems and cloud-based systems — or keeping specific data stores on one side of the firewall or the other — for flexible deployment and for placing workloads where they run best with specific applications.

A few years ago, cloud computing only meant cost reduction to most business and IT leaders. Now, those same leaders are more likely to talk about the time-to-value benefits of hybrid cloud environments. The priority for their organizations is to rapidly bring new capabilities to market, and doing so requires the ability to integrate cloud applications with their existing business-critical legacy services. For example, hybrid cloud makes connecting modern web and mobile apps with an organization’s core data quicker and easier than ever, helping to accelerate innovation.

Making the right decisions for each organization

What works best and what doesn’t work as well on cloud-based systems often varies from one organization to another. For the CTO of a startup organization, large capital expenditures for infrastructure may not be feasible. Emphasizing public cloud options to acquire capabilities as a service might make more sense than immediately building an extensive infrastructure on premises.

On the other hand, a large enterprise running core, business-critical mainframe applications may have one or more powerful incentives to not move that workload to the cloud. For example, it may be running application server software on a mainframe for industrial-strength, online transaction management and connectivity to mission-critical applications and data.  The enterprise CTO might consider the power of cloud and IBM z Systems: a combination of enterprise-grade scalability, reliability and security with the agility to respond to market demands.

Whether an organization opts for an on-premises, off-premises or a hybrid model, choosing the right cloud servers is essential to gain the speed, flexibility, innovation and security needed to deliver the fastest path to value.

Working together: CEOs and CTOs

As server and platform decisions like these are made, the right mix of cloud-based and on-premises resources can take shape according to plan and the overall hybrid cloud strategy. CTOs know the importance of coming to an early rationalization about the organization’s overall IT direction and technology choices. And it empowers them to provide the right technologies that add business value to the different business units. After all, technology decisions by proxy in this manner can lead to a hodgepodge of systems that might not play well together.

The course of action for CEOs and CTOs that can have greatest impact is to work together, agree on common goals and use key performance indicators to measure their organizations’ progress on their hybrid cloud journeys. Once they do, CTOs can create the right IT strategy for long-term success.

Discover what’s required to make your journey to hybrid cloud efficient and cost-effective.

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