Creating a strategy for intentional hybrid IT
Many hybrid IT organizations today became so by default. Years of infrastructure add-ons and changes created the hybrid IT environment they are now managing. For some organizations, there is no coherent strategy for managing disparate elements such as owned and operated data centers, colocation facilities, public and private cloud, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. The result is often a chaotic mixture of infrastructure and technologies that lead to a variety of IT issues, including:
- Shadow IT
- App sprawl
- Cloud sprawl
- Security breaches
- Poor data security controls
- Unreliable service
All the components of a hybrid IT operating environment might function effectively, but are they designed to work together to respond to the needs of the business and deliver on business goals? If the answer is no, then your organization needs a strategy for operating as an intentional hybrid enterprise. Intentional rather than accidental hybrid IT enables an organization to unify its disparate systems and operate like the sections of an orchestra reading from the same music score.
Aligning business and IT on organizational goals
To be intentional about your hybrid IT enterprise, your technology choices should align with your business goals. Achieving this alignment requires strategic planning between business and IT to ensure that everyone is on the same page. These early conversations help IT understand the business requirements so that they can begin to formulate a plan for applying technology to meet those requirements. They should uncover where the organization is currently and where it needs to go to achieve its goals. Bring the key stakeholders from business and IT to the table for these conversations.
Often, an organization’s goals don’t align with the reality of their current IT landscape. For example, many organizations are moving to a cloud-first strategy, but the reality is that migrating to the cloud is not the right solution for all workloads. Sometimes, making that move requires more resources and creates more risks. The business needs to understand the IT reality that exists in the operating environment to set clear, achievable goals.
A workshop format is an effective way to facilitate these conversations. These early-stage discussions will primarily focus on aligning business goals and understanding business requirements. They will progress into deeper technology discussions when IT looks at the current state of the operating environment and begins to assess options for a future state.
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Aligning technology choices with business goalsA strategy for rationalizing hybrid IT may not include incurring added costs. With hybrid IT, the technology is already in place. The goal is to redesign hybrid IT so that the disparate systems work in harmony. That means taking stock of the hardware, software, and systems you already have in place and tactically realigning and designing them to work together—not in spite of one another.
An example of this is your application portfolio. Many organizations are juggling hundreds of applications, some of them underutilized and even unmonitored. If improving IT service delivery is an organization goal, but the operating environment is overrun by application sprawl, then adding more applications is the wrong answer. The application portfolio should be assessed so that IT can place applications in the locations where they have the potential to achieve optimal service delivery and remove redundancy where appropriate, moving toward a shared services and application model.
Your operating environment likely has barriers that are impeding technology’s ability to deliver on its potential. For example, poor change management can add days, and even weeks, to simple change requests. What processes and procedures can be improved to remove the barriers? IT should bring this information to the table to help the business understand the current limitations and advantages in the operating environment.
Early-stage technology assessments can be done by collecting data from your CMDB and other resources. A high-level analysis should be followed by a more in-depth analysis to identify gaps and issues that need to be resolved in the environment before redesigning hybrid IT.
From accidental to intentional hybrid IT
An intentional hybrid enterprise doesn’t implement technology for technology’s sake. It is not hybrid by accident but by design. To achieve that intentionality, the business organization and the IT organization need to align on goals and develop a strategy for selecting and designing technology to meet those goals.
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