Hybrid IT is the future, but there's still work to be done

The corporate IT landscape is evolving quickly in this disruptive, fast-paced environment that we now live in, with factors such as agility and flexibility beginning to take precedent over reliability and cost efficiency.

This has led to the rise of hybrid IT, a topic explored in a new study from Hybrid Hive which found that two-fifths of respondents already have a hybrid IT environment in place - while a further 51 per cent are open to it - and 14 per cent are already spending more than half of their IT budgets on cloud technology.

The 'Hybrid Habits' study - which surveyed over 1,000 IT decision makers (ITDMs) from seven countries - revealed a majority consensus that hybrid is going to be a critical component in the future of corporate IT. 79 per cent of ITDMs said a hybrid IT infrastructure is "inevitable" and 81 per cent said a hybrid environment will be needed to achieve company objectives.

So, the new question for ITDMs seems to be not if they will invest in a hybrid infrastructure, but when. As with most things in today's ultra-competitive business landscape, speed is key, as those companies that invest early will likely benefit more in the long term than those slower on the uptake.

Greater flexibility (60 per cent) came out on top in terms of what was most attractive about the hybrid IT environment, followed by improved efficiency and lower costs, cited by 50 per cent and 44 per cent of respondents respectively. However, the study highlights the dangers of concentrating too much on short-term gains, with long-term benefits such as innovation only cited by 45 per cent of respondents. "ITDMs should indeed be focused on areas such as cost reduction and improved agility," said Andrew Brabban, Head of Hybrid IT at Fujitsu, "but equally, if they want to get the best out of Hybrid IT investment, they must not lose sight of the longer-term positive impact it could have on their business.”

Other long-term benefits such as increased speed to market (37 per cent) and the need to digitise (22 per cent) also score relatively low. Mark Phillips, Head of Hybrid IT for Fujitsu EMEIA added: "IT is a department primarily driven by cost reduction rather than enhancing the top line. But the more forward-looking CIOs understand the need to do both. It’s OK for cloud expenditure to increase if it’s driving revenue in the process."

Unfortunately, it's not all fun and games. Cyber security is a key issue in most areas of technology at the moment and the study reveals that the same is certainly true for hybrid IT. 49 per cent of ITDMs see reduced security as the top risk and nearly half again (48 per cent) said securing their business from outside attacks is their greatest concern.

In the study, Marcus Jewell, vice president EMEA at Brocade, highlights the dangers of security becoming a blocker rather than an enabler: "From a business perspective, security is not only a barrier to implementing a new IT solution like hybrid IT, it is also a barrier to digital transformation and building a competitive advantage. For many businesses with legacy systems, the maintenance of data security and privacy is consuming so much time that opportunities to innovate and transform are being missed.”

A significant knowledge cap could also get in the way. 37 per cent of ITDMs surveyed admitted that they don’t know what a ‘good’ Hybrid IT model looks like and 62 per cent need more help to understand Hybrid IT and its implications.

So, hybrid IT is undoubtedly the future, but there is still a way to go before the opportunities can be realised. Security concerns - as well as a clear knowledge gap - are standing in the way and the pressure is on ITDMs to find solutions sooner rather than later.

The full report can be found on the Hybrid Hive website.

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