Hybrid cloud is getting a lot of press of late.

That’s where you have a mix of onsite software and service infrastructure, combined with public cloud software and infrastructure.

While ‘migrating to the cloud’ might be high on your list of priorities, it’s critical that you take a closer look at your business and strategic business goals first to see where cloud can help.

More than 93 per cent of organisations agree that cloud is critical to meeting immediate business needs (as per NTT’s 2021 Hybrid Cloud Report).

But it’s doing it right that makes a difference.

Does this sound like your business – or will be soon?

You are a mid-sized business with 100-500 staff, well-established and growing organically over time.

You’ve found that while expanding, you have needed to adopt systems and applications to suit the immediate or short-term growth of the business.

Over time, as the business grows, more departments are added; there becomes a growing need for systems and applications for each department’s unique requirements.

This can lead to a lot of disparate systems and applications that don’t talk to each other, with a mix of legacy and modern cloud systems.

Typically, at this stage businesses may have dozens of “core business applications” in use.

At some point, departments will want to share or integrate these applications and systems: finance, HR, sales, engineering, membership services and other departments all typically have some crossover of data that is common.

At this point, the business may not be running at an optimal level in terms of technology architecture, which requires a re-evaluation of systems and applications.

Are these systems aligned to support the business strategy or are they hindering it?

The case for migrating (some) systems to public cloud

What’s the case for moving to public cloud?

If you are looking to implement a hybrid cloud strategy, simply picking up systems and moving them to a public cloud is not enough to align with business strategy.

Researching ‘top 5 reasons why businesses move to hybrid cloud’ you will see reasons such as, “It’s always up to date”, or “It gives you scalability” or “You get better uptime.”

Note that these are all technical reasons for change, not business reasons.

If your strategic business goals are “We want to grow the business by X amount over the next three years, be more efficient, and provide better services to our customers?”, would these technical reasons hit the mark?

A better approach to hybrid cloud is not to start with the technology, but rather to start with the business strategy: what is the vision, what are the goals of the business.

Then, review the systems and applications in use, understand what is working and what is not, and develop better processes.

Only after understanding this does technology and a hybrid cloud design come into play.

A hybrid strategy born from strategic business goals

Once you have strategic goals and a technology plan, you then have a full understanding of what the hybrid strategy can be to allow the business to better realise its vision.

This could include, for instance:

● A mix of keeping a legacy system that is core to the business but virtualising it in the cloud

● Converting applications into Azure Enterprise Apps

● Introducing DevOps to provide integration and automation between applications

● Connecting BI Dashboards to your Finance, ERP/CRM platforms

● Reducing business risk by retiring physical servers

Implementing a hybrid cloud solution can give you an edge

Auditing your current technology configuration can help in determining if a hybrid cloud solution could enhance operations for your business or better realise your vision.

After evaluating your current state and understanding your requirements, you might find that a hybrid cloud solution can provide that edge for your mid-sized business growth to change the status quo, move into new markets, or drive growth and efficiency.

Clinton Shiels is CTO of Sydney-based managed service provider A1 Technologies. He has over 20 years of experience working with MSPs in Australia and the UK.

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