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John Keller

Director, Product Management of Comcast Business

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Hybrid Clouds Enable Digital Transformation… With the Right Connectivity

April 17, 2017

Companies serious about digital transformation should consider the hybrid cloud approach.

There is a strong link between hybrid cloud investments and digital transformation success, according to recent research by IDG Research Services for storage giant EMC Corp. The more companies invest in hybrid cloud technologies, the farther they get in digital transformation – and closer to reaping the attendant benefits of increased business agility and operational efficiency.

Hybrid clouds, combining elements of public and private clouds, are the “great enabler of digital transformation,” IDG Research concluded after polling IT and business executives about their hybrid cloud investments. Here are some of the findings that led to that conclusion:

  • Ninety-six percent of polled IT and business leaders said their hybrid cloud initiatives are yielding measurable results.
  • Of those leaders, 21 percent said outcomes are “exceeding expectations.”
  • Eighty-eight percent called hybrid cloud an “important enabler of digital business.”
  • Hybrid clouds reduces IT costs by as much as 24 percent.

“Digital transformation” may be another buzzword in the hype-addicted IT industry, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Transformative technologies such as mobility, cloud-based solutions and big data collection and analysis are having a measurable impact on how businesses run their operations.

The goal ultimately is for businesses to become more responsive to shifting market dynamics and evolving customer demands. Companies get their products and services to market faster and more efficiently.

Participants in the IDG study revealed a keen understanding of the need for digital transformation: “A staggering 92 percent of IT and business leaders said their organization’s competitive strategy calls for digital business initiatives, and 90 percent called digital business ‘a top IT priority’ for the next one to three years. Some 44 percent, moreover, called it their number-one priority.”

Asked about drivers of digital transformation investments, “87 percent of the survey respondents called improving the customer experience a critical or very important goal. Other critical goals included acquiring new customers (86 percent), increasing innovation (82 percent), and enabling real-time business decisions and operations (81 percent).”

Connectivity Requirements

The benefits of hybrid clouds to enable digital transformation are evident, but the transformation isn’t exactly easy. Aside from other technical challenges and budget constraints, businesses need to invest in secure, high-bandwidth connectivity.

Moving high-value assets to a cloud infrastructure, with information flowing back and forth between premise-based and off-site environments, requires reliable, highly available connections to avoid latency and performance issues. Left unaddressed, these issues can prove counterproductive. You don’t want users and managers to say, “Things worked better before. Why did we have to change them?”

There is also the ever-present concern over potential theft of sensitive data traveling back and forth. Businesses need to protect their intellectual property, customer data and private employee information from prying eyes. That makes connecting to a cloud infrastructure through the public internet not an option for many companies.

Fortunately, business service providers are making it possible for companies to bypass the internet through private, dedicated Ethernet paths to their cloud assets.

With speeds of up to 10 Gbps, the private Ethernet connections allow enterprises with multiple locations, be they branch offices, data centers or retail stores, to link all of their sites as a seamless extension of their networks. Thanks to the high capacity of Ethernet connectivity, they needn’t worry about performance degradation.

Hybrid Advantages

Hybrid clouds help control costs while modernizing enterprise IT. The combination of traditional data centers with public and private clouds facilitates the execution of IT strategies faster and more efficiently, thanks to advances such as the automation of management functions, self-service provisioning capabilities, and boosts in scalability and elasticity.

As the IDG study shows, companies serious about digital transformation should consider the hybrid cloud approach. The availability of private Ethernet connections to cloud services gives them another compelling reason to consider the hybrid model.

Photo credit: Razza Mathadsa via Visual Hunt / CC BY

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