The digital world is highly capable — but it is by no means a simple place. It’s true that technological developments complement the way we work and live in a host of ways, and innovations are driving new value and synergy for business. Still, the fact remains that digital, cloud-first transformations, which are now an unavoidable and ongoing part of any enterprise lifecycle, aren’t always the easiest tasks to accomplish. To combat this added complexity, outsourced cloud management will soon be the enterprise’s greatest ally.
This complexity is particularly apparent when we think about how cloud adoption has accelerated in the wake of global disruption. We’ve all heard or experienced how technology implementations are changing by the day as reliability, collaboration, scalability, and more must grow to meet new needs. Subsequently, we’ve seen organizations make substantial investments into the physical facilities, compute, networking, and data storage both they and their customers depend on.
Driven by the pandemic and increasingly competitive markets, these organizations are turning to the flexibility of hybrid cloud delivery to maintain their momentum and achieve great results. In fact, the global hybrid cloud market is expected to grow from $44.6 billion in 2018 to $97.6 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 17%. However, hybrid clouds come with their own costs — namely, a level of complexity that can weigh down enterprises or even risk the viability of an evolving IT framework. Nevertheless, the speed at which businesses must adapt is putting increased pressure on IT groups to deliver.
Why hybrid cloud?
The world of service provisioning and consumption has radically changed. The amount of data businesses utilize and transfer has soared, and the locations the data must flow through are far more distributed. Even the workforce and the user base itself have become more disparate as a result of recent disruption. This means digital-first initiatives such as Software-as-a-Service consumption are necessary for rapidly deploying services, supporting a remote or hybrid workforce, or tapping into the power of new data.
Hybrid cloud provides platforms that can speed up the fulfillment of business initiatives and help build a frictionless ability to consume, scale, and deploy technology for immediate business impact. Additionally, with people remaining at home and out of office, the hybrid cloud supports remote capabilities and greater operational mobility.
This benefit is further underscored by recent natural disasters that disrupted on-site work, including winter storm Uri in Texas and the derecho in Iowa. As a way to seamlessly orchestrate and combine multiple clouds (each with their own different value propositions) hybrid cloud delivers greater elasticity, cost conservation, reliability, security, and compliance advantages compared to multi-cloud or pure on-premises IT delivery.
There is a catch, however: if enterprises don’t meticulously plan their cloud operations, they will quickly run into challenges like out-of-control spend and unsecured deployments due to a lack of understanding with the shared responsibility model.
Let’s use the remote or hybrid workforce as an example. Cloud services can provide a great mobile solution that allows your workforce to operate anywhere. But hold on — have you thought about endpoint security, or how to get visibility into what is going on? What type of devices will be used? Have you reviewed application licensing restrictions? Do you have industry-specific governance and controls that are different in the cloud? These are just a few examples of scenarios requiring proper planning and insight — otherwise your cloud adoption will quickly turn into a fire drill or even a detriment to operations.
Why outsourcing matters
Today’s enterprise can’t afford to be hesitant in a rapidly shifting world, and organizations shouldn’t wait and wonder if a hybrid cloud implementation will be more risk than reward. Still, hurdles to successful deployment can make the advantages of hybrid cloud seem out of reach, especially when developing internal knowledge for a proper hybrid cloud integration.
The skills needed to build and manage a cloud-based architecture are different from those that are needed for on-premises infrastructure — which means finding or cultivating new talent is paramount. However, the cloud is still considered a relatively young industry, so IT professionals with the expertise to lead and execute cloud initiatives are hard to come by. Now, driven by either a skills shortage or a difficult pay scale for acquiring the right expertise, managing hybrid cloud transformations internally might not prove to be a durable operating model for success.
Speed to innovation must be a priority for maintaining a market advantage — this is why outsourcing to a trusted and expert partner is many organizations’ best bet for getting fast, successful transformations and impactful results. In essence, a hybrid cloud strategy must often become a managed cloud plan.
There are an array of benefits to managed cloud services, and they range from cost control to support and vendor interaction. Managed service providers (MSPs) deliver thorough, single-source knowledge to ensure that the right plans and benefits are created easily. Furthermore, they monitor for key indicators that could lead to rapid increase in spend, helping enterprises implement the right cost control measures to avoid the surprise billings.
MSPs also deliver pre-cultivated relationships with cloud providers, which can sometimes be challenging to navigate — especially with multiple in play. This means faster resolutions and quicker turnarounds for hybrid deployments. For highly regulated industries like government or healthcare, the right partner can help ensure everything remains compliant and secure in the face of increasingly stringent requirements. These can seem like small changes on paper, but when you consider the arduous implementation and monitoring processes that they avert for internal teams, these can truly be make-or-break benefits.
Choosing the right managed cloud partner is fast becoming a key consideration for digital-first organizations — and it starts with assessing the business’ goals and objectives. IT teams must understand their strengths and weaknesses, where gaps exist, and what business requirements they need to cater to. This helps enterprises partner with the right provider that delivers the ideal cloud services to complement strengths while overcoming weaknesses.
Immediate growth in a managed hybrid cloud environment will be driven out of necessity. Soon, however, as organizations see the benefit of joining forces with managed service providers and recognize the time and effort they can return to their business for other core initiatives, outsourcing’s growth trajectory will likely match that of the hybrid cloud. When ease of implementation and consumption at this level is experienced (as opposed to going through transformation alone) the choice is clear — a managed hybrid cloud path is a truly transformative one.
Looking ahead, as organizations continue to adopt the cloud in either hybrid or multi-cloud deployments, the need for centralized management and visibility will be the new necessity. The ongoing evolution will see both enterprises and providers forging new paths as edge developments continue and containerization becomes more prevalent. Despite constant change, choosing a provider that can deliver innovative Platform-as-a-Service capabilities will be vital for ensuring ease wherever tomorrow’s business needs to go.