IT leaders are facing various challenges, including improving IT performance, data security, process risk and compliance, and agility, and are turning to hybrid cloud solutions to address these issues.
These were the findings of a Rocket Software survey, which found that 93% of respondents agree that their organizations must adopt a hybrid infrastructure model spanning from the mainframe to the cloud.
Automation is another key focus for businesses aiming to stay competitive in the digital-first era and is regarded as a solution to reduce manual efforts, enhance efficiency, and mitigate risks.
Many IT professionals still spend a significant amount of time manually managing and analyzing data, with 63% of respondents dedicating 6-15 hours per week to these tasks.
What Matters When Measuring IT Success
The survey also highlighted the importance of measuring IT success in terms of increased efficiency, optimized resources, and reduced risk.
However, IT leaders expressed concerns about their organizations' ability to manage risk effectively on the mainframe and in the cloud, with only 32% feeling extremely confident in their technological readiness.
The current economic landscape also appears to have influenced IT priorities, with a focus on efficiency, faster DevOps processes, automation, and increased output.
Software development was identified as both the most and least efficient aspect of IT organizations, indicating varying levels of optimization in this area.
Phil Buckellew, president of the infrastructure modernization business unit for Rocket Software, said he was surprised that software development was the highest-scoring aspect of IT operations and management in terms of being the most efficient and least efficient.
"There is clearly an opportunity to use new DevOps processes to improve the efficiency of software development and those leaders are seeing the gains, but the laggards are still feeling the pain of inefficient approaches to software development," he explained.
Hybrid Cloud Leverages the Best of On-Prem and Cloud
Hybrid cloud is such an important initiative for IT organizations because it is the most pragmatic way to leverage the best of traditional IT environments as well as newer cloud services, Buckellew said.
"Picking one or the other approach entirely often leads to inefficiency and disruption," he noted.
What most organizations find as the most sensible way forward is leveraging the cloud for things it is good at (such as analytics and supporting elastic workloads) while leveraging traditional environments like on-premises mainframes for high-scale transaction processing, according to Buckellew.
"IT leadership, line of business leadership, and clearly the teams that will need to leverage data and transactions that span environments need to be involved in building out a hybrid cloud strategy," he said.
Buckellew added that to generate the best results, organizations will need to build joint teams with team members with skills that span traditional approaches and environments as well as ones who know more modern approaches like DevOps or robotic process automation (RPA) and how to use modern cloud services.
"Blending a bit of the old with the new is where real modernization opportunities are most often found, with the least amount of disruption to existing operations," he said.
Buckellew pointed out that tracking progress is essential to prove that progress is being made and to justify continued investment.
That means setting clear key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics from the outset that align the stakeholders with the true objectives and ensure alignment as work gets underway (and as priorities shift and tradeoffs are required).
"One of the best approaches to source KPIs and metrics is to have the teams most impacted by the initiatives benchmark current approaches and metrics and offer what they believe could be achieved by new initiatives," he explained. "Capturing a blend of outcome measurements and in-process metrics that influence outcomes is also appropriate."
About the authorNathan Eddy is a freelance writer for ITPro Today. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin.