By Ric Riddle

2018-09-20

Hybrid

IT migrations and upgrades aren’t something most people look forward to. No matter how much you need a refresh, upgrades have typically been expensive, complex, and time- and labor-intensive. And in the end, it’s always disheartening to see that technology just keeps marching forward as soon as you lock yourself into a platform.

Hybrid multi-cloud architecture is different. Sure, moving to multi-cloud involves some strategic communication and resource management between you and your IT partner. But it’s shaping up to be an essential modernization strategy for most companies. That’s not only because it delivers the best of today’s technology in a future-proof package – it also delivers a painless way to update without losing your legacy investments.

However, first you might have to convince your board of directors or C-suite that it’s time for a new IT strategy. Here are a few tips for building out a plan that overcomes their common objections.

Building Support for your Case

IT concepts can seem very abstract and ephemeral when contrasted with the more easily seen pain points of day-to-day customer interactions and employee processes. In order to be successful long-term, it’s important to take time to build a team of supporters and advocates for the process.

Work with knowledgeable members of your IT team who can speak to the technical side, but also cultivate relationships outside of IT and offer some show and tell. Give them practical examples of how changes can impact their business.

If you present your colleagues and/or leadership team with information regarding the process, make sure you’re prepared from all angles; highlight budget impact, return on investment, long-term benefits, and impact on employees. Outline the transition process and make sure they have an understanding upfront regarding how and when a transition could impact their teams and the bottom line.

Architecting IT – and IT Partnerships – that Work

Once the buy-in is there, the rubber will need to meet the road. Implementation can be easier said than done, however, so you’ll need to line up key IT partnerships outside your organization.

What should you look for in your IT partner and your new architecture?

- The right people. The skills gap is real and growing as technology continues to complexify. Chances are you may not have the right people currently in place on your team to tackle architecture and management of a hybrid multi-cloud implementation, so you have to take into consideration the cost-benefit of adding full-time staff versus leveraging a managed services provider.

- The right certifications. To get the best of all worlds seamlessly connected in one architecture, you’ll need the ability to connect to Amazon and Microsoft data centers. Working with a certified AWS and Azure partner makes it much easier to obtain the private connections to those companies’ data centers.

- The right fit. Your partner should architect your new implementation by first taking into account the needs of your applications and workloads and matching them to the best environments. They will also need to understand Azure and AWS’s payment models to determine which will provide the most affordable solutions for your specific needs.

- The right features. An out-of-the-box solution is almost never a perfect fit. You’ll need to assess whether you have all the features you need or whether your company requires any additional software or other add-ons to make the system fit your needs.

Mapping Out Your Migration

When you make changes to your system, you’ll need to make changes to your security protocols as well.

Thoroughly documenting your current protocols, as well as the data and information stored within each environment, will help you to ensure a smooth transition and steady ongoing management.

If you have a robust disaster recovery plan, you may already have this information lined out. If not, this is a great opportunity to create one. Having all the details in place – from how to implement failovers to how to notify senior leadership and maintain communication throughout issues – will relieve stress in the event something unexpected does happen.

And, the same processes you develop for a disaster can be beneficial for building good overall communications strategies.

Working on these plans with your managed services provider can give you an opportunity to glean best practices from their team and their clients. You’ll want to ensure your managed services team is also prepped and ready for any contingencies that may occur, just as all your on-staff team members would be.

Managing Expenses

When it comes to budgeting for hybrid multi-cloud architecture, you may have an easier time getting expenses approved because they’re more incremental than large-scale IT overhauls. Cloud-based technology is typically billed on a monthly basis, rather than in one lump up-front sum.

Switching to an OpEx budget model (as opposed to a CapEx) may be beneficial for your business when moving to hybrid multi-cloud, in order to have more flexibility and better match the monthly payment model.

Providing Ongoing Support and Updates

Maintaining a complex infrastructure can be a drain on resources, especially if you are managing security and trying to keep your team on top of multiple business priorities. Internal IT resources and headcount may be better used to initiate new projects and manage other improvement and development.

Building a long-term relationship with an experienced managed services provider can help to ensure you’re covered — they’ll keep your systems up to date, ensure optimal security and performance, and keep up with the latest features and capabilities of each platform so you don’t have to.

Learn More in Our Ebook

If you are considering making the move to platform-agnostic, hybrid multi-cloud architecture,download our free HMC ebook for more information and advice. This approach is forever changing enterprise IT and it’s a great time to make it a reality for your organization.

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