According to Gartner, Enterprises worldwide will focus in 2018 more and more on hybrid cloud. The problem with that statement is that there is tons of ambiguity around what hybrid cloud actually means. If you ask this question within the Microsoft ecosystem, they will answer that Hybrid is the seamless integration of On-Premises with the Microsoft Cloud, more specifically Office 365 or Microsoft Azure. The reason for that answer is that Microsoft has done an amazing job in capturing the term hybrid in most of their products forcing a subliminal connection between hybrid and Microsoft in most professional minds.
But when Gartner talks about the hybrid cloud, what do they mean? Hybrid cloud is the combination of multiple cloud systems, vendor agnostic, (and if you really want you can include the on-premises systems) but more importantly, there needs to be a seamless integration between those systems. And today, in 2018, in the year that Garner predicts as the year of the hybrid cloud, none of the cloud systems are ready for that job.
Why is hybrid cloud so important? Why do companies embrace a single vendor anymore? The answer for that is Shadow IT through consumerization, Digital Transformation, and Workplace Modernization. The three biggest buzz terms used in the industry the last years. But why are those the reason for the need for the hybrid cloud? Let’s break it up:
Shadow IT through consumerization. Most cloud systems have been pushed in the workplace through end-users who love the experience those services brought. Box, Dropbox, Google, all gotten their adoption through end-users initially. It was easy for them to signup, use it from within the company network and helped them achieve things that the company IT infrastructure could not provide. This only got increased by the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ movement, allowing end-users not only to bring their own device but also their own services. The company IT department picked this up, in some cases, when through a migration to get that data back in the company’s infrastructure but in a lot of cases these technologies were embraced by IT and they became a part of the official IT infrastructure.
Digital Transformation and Workplace Modernization. Before we know what the impact is on the hybrid cloud, we will need to bring a little more clarity to these terms. Even though that DT and WM are terms frequently used, I wonder sometimes if everyone is in the same place about they actually mean. If you talk to Google people they will give you a slightly adjusted version to fit within the marketing play and the same goes for Microsoft. In my opinion, DT and DW is the process of implementing the right tool/service for the right job with the single goal to make your people as efficient as possible in whatever it is they do.
Let’s take this statement and analyze the impact of the vendor landscape. Can you honestly say that a single vendor is capable of providing the right tool for each of your processes you have in place? Of course not, because depending on your needs, your investments are done in the past, your industry, your job title, your market approach, that will define a large range of products and services you need. Can you try to standardize on one specific platform? Absolutely, but what has priority, standardization or efficiency? What has priority, standardization or user adoption?
And that is where the hybrid cloud model comes in. End-users should not be compromising their efficiency, motivation, their ability to work with the right service at the right task because there is a desire for single vendor lock-in. Wasn’t the desired outcome of digital transformation and workplace modernization, that people could work how they wanted and where they wanted? Or is it just a smart marketing set up of the large cloud providers to allow for Digital Transformation or Workplace Modernization but only if you use their products?
Ok, so hybrid cloud is a real thing, what does that mean in reality? It is not that all of a sudden, all these cloud providers are going to implement integration points with all the existing enterprise content management systems out there. The only way a real Hybrid cloud can work is when you work with content brokers, systems that synchronize data between different systems, allowing for a seamless integration between systems, no matter what they are, no matter where they are.
To end this post, let me give you an example of a use case for the need of a content broker. Like stated throughout the post, Enterprises are using different content management systems to collaborate, do records management, provide intranet functionalities, etc. Because of business rules, content will flow from one system to the other and vice versa. That is what a content broker does. Based on your business rules, it will synchronize data between systems, making sure the information is where it needs to be, up-to-date and managed.
If you want to see real implemented use case around Microsoft Teams, join me in this webinar. We will showcase a real hybrid cloud to support collaboration with Microsoft Teams.