The advent of Hybrid IT environments – composed of some combination of legacy infrastructures, public clouds, private clouds, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, and more – means that your company and IT department will be in a state of flux at all times. How you manage the evolution of your IT journey in the cloud across these diverse and distributed environments will mean the difference between achieving and maintaining agility, or being hindered by complexity. Here are six tips to manage the continual change you will find as you migrate data and applications to the cloud.
Take inventory of what you have
The foundation for managing change is to know where you stand at all times. Take inventory of your data, applications, workloads, technologies, clouds, data centers, servers, networks, vendors, etc. Are you using what you have in the most efficient way possible? Are you supporting applications or equipment that are not being actively used?
Put governance around shadow IT
Business units today frequently procure their own applications. In fact, one report indicates that customers are using up to 15-20x more cloud services than IT estimates and, on average, consume 675 individual cloud services. This proliferation of services can result in security concerns, governance issues, performance degradation, and recovery problems. To avoid these risks, establish processes and guidelines for any application that needs to be brought on, so it can be done so with your knowledge, approval, and control.
Strive for balance
Too many vendors, clouds, platforms, applications, etc. can cause problems. If you end up with applications and implementations spanning 14 public clouds, 20 private clouds, and 5 in-house servers, for example, your entire hybrid IT environment can become increasingly difficult to manage, losing integrity, efficiency, and security. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should try to function in a skeleton environment or resist innovative technologies or new applications. You simply need to balance the need for agility with the complexity it introduces.
Plan for transformational events
Whatever your business looks like this year, one thing is certain: it won’t be the same next year. Therefore, you need to be prepared for potential business-related developments such as a merger or acquisition, and for IT-driven developments such as an application upgrade or a data center consolidation. Transformational events provide an opportunity for you to think differently about your infrastructure in light of new technology. By anticipating and planning for transformational events, you can manage the change they bring with them.
Develop a long-term IT strategy
Without a long-term IT strategy, you will be reactive instead of proactive. Complexity will overwhelm you, and costs will become unpredictable and uncontrolled. Issues of data security and protection can emerge as data assets are moved beyond the corporate firewall. In addition, performance, uptime, and availability problems can surface. A long-term IT strategy is of paramount importance to ensure that change in the hybrid IT environment supports the overall business objectives and delivers on desired business outcomes.
Ensure appropriate resources
As you review your current status and plan your long-term IT strategy, objectively assess your internal expertise. Do your people have the skills and time necessary to manage constant change in the hybrid IT environment? If there are gaps, determine whether it makes the most sense to hire new team members or outsource some functions to external vendors. You will need a full complement of resources, whether internal or external, to manage change effectively.
Change is guaranteed as you work more and more in the cloud while maintaining a legacy presence on the ground. These six tips can help you keep your entire hybrid IT environment functioning optimally and delivering the agility that is key to business today.
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