Fifty-six percent of businesses have already adopted multi-cloud – and 80 percent of those who haven’t are planning to in the next three years. That’s why hybrid and multi-cloud solutions are at the forefront of modern business considerations.

The rush to cloud is mostly over. Most organizations have a cloud footprint, the new paradigm is optimizing that investment. Counterintuitively, optimizing that investment now also includes moving some workloads to niche cloud providers, private clouds and (surprisingly) back on-prem.

This boom in hybrid and multi-cloud strategy is something that’s going to drive the market forward for several years to come, across a range of industries.

Businesses who don’t maximize the benefits they can derive from technology are going to find themselves left out in the cold.

Technology’s relevance is reliant on an organization’s ability to maximize its value from its internal and extended teams, such as third-party partners. So in an environment where the use of technology is a necessity for success, organizations must place an emphasis on attracting, developing and maintaining the best in talent with regard to innovation and technology.

It’s no secret how important gaining the right talent into an organization is – but we’re definitely going to see an increased emphasis on securing the right talent to drive innovation.

Successful organizations will blend finding the right talent with finding the right partners. With the expanding complexity of IT and project demands, it is now almost impossible to own all the required assets and employ people with all the required skills.

The role of a CIO has obviously changed over the years – they have moved from managing things and people to managing people, outcomes and contracts. Gone are the days of “go it alone” CIOs.

With the right talent, and the right business partners, organizations will be able to gain an edge on competitors, be it through new products or services that are more aligned with the demands and expectations of the market.

The words hybrid and multi-cloud are often used interchangeably, even within the media at times. However, they are different things and organizations need to have a good understanding of those differences before they take the next steps to implementation – a blend of both could well be the best outcome.

  • Hybrid-IT: Hybrid IT solutions are the result of combining private cloud architecture, public cloud solutions, and traditional in-house infrastructure to improve your cloud architecture. A hybrid cloud connects all of its components to create a single, contained environment.
  • Multi-cloud systems: Multi-cloud solutions are strategies that use at least two clouds of similar types. Some examples include multiple private clouds, multiple public clouds or multiple hybrid clouds. Multi-cloud solutions are sourced from multiple different cloud providers – often significant market contributors such as AWS, Azure or Google Cloud – and may be connected or not.

So real progress is found in the collision of these two worlds – both hybrid-IT and multi-cloud (HMC). Most companies are already a long way through their cloud journey – optimization to drive agility, cost efficiencies and innovation is increasingly becoming the focus. With HMC, some of the biggest advantages we see include innovation, efficiencies, and cost optimization.

Finding the right location for the right workload is essential. Huge organizational and operational benefits can flow from optimization – each target landing zone for a workload has benefits and limitations.

The solution is not limited just to hyperscale cloud, but increasingly, industry players are balancing between hyperscale, mid-scale and private clouds. We are also seeing the increase of repatriation – removing some workloads from the cloud all together.

Adopting HMC in your business can bring the following key benefits:

Vendor flexibility

HMC solutions will reduce your risk of vendor lock-in – you’ll have far greater freedom around implementation as it gives you greater flexibility with regard to your appropriate technology partners.

Through the implementation of HMC, you’ll have significantly more options in relation to infrastructure, services and pricing. You can pick and choose solutions that are best suited to your organization, your team and its technology architecture as it evolves.

In turn, this enables you to actively pursue innovation within the business effectively and push for faster and more flexible turnarounds for launching products or services to market.

The market for task specific cloud providers is growing – clouds that focus on cost, availability, simplicity, security, databases, sovereignty, AI compute, or GPU. There has long been a list of alternative cloud providers, but these have been focused on going head to head with hyperscale providers.

Frankly, there are some tasks that are extremely suited to hyperscale clouds; optimization is balancing between workload locations.

Improved innovation and cost efficiencies

A HMC strategy can also optimize your organization financially, as well as technically. Although there are costs associated with adopting and maintaining any new system, leveraging a combination of resources in an optimized approach will lead to efficiencies.

As competition increases in the cloud provider market with different value propositions, it allows organizations to select the most effective solutions to meet their specific contractual, commercial and technical requirements, producing savings and efficiencies in the process.

Increased resilience

Even the largest and most reliable cloud providers can suffer outages and downtime. But executing a HMC approach can protect key assets and enable your DR initiatives through backup and recovery capabilities, should an emergency strike. Through the acquisition of a HMC strategy, organizations are well-positioned to handle outages if they occur.

Ensuring compliance

Data legislation is constantly evolving – many countries now have strict and specific data management requirements. Under some circumstances, even individual employees can be held liable, rather than the business itself.

Accordingly, ensuring you’re compliant with appropriate legislation requirements and adopting best practices is essential. Leveraging a HMC strategy will provide you with an increased ability to select providers that align with your industry's compliance requirements, as well as the legislative requirements of the countries you operate in. Leveraging partners with cloud, storage or data centers that have certifications can assist your organization in meeting the changing compliance landscape.

And although there are benefits to a HMC approach, there are also challenges to be aware of and manage.

HMC management is an involved process. How you manage your environment through the use of internal teams and external third party providers is key to your ability to successfully plan, execute architectural changes, and manage contingencies. Selecting a partner that has broad capabilities will assist in building and/or managing these complex environments.

Your first – and arguably foremost – consideration for any hybrid or multi-cloud strategy should be your cybersecurity plan. HMC systems may be segmented, but they’re not immune to attacks.

However, they can also be a great way to enhance a multi-layered cybersecurity approach; an effective cloud strategy can help protect your company’s assets and IP, including customer data.

This is particularly important when you consider the increased structural complexity that naturally results from implementing HMC management. If this isn’t being rolled out in a consistent, standardized way, you’re potentially creating a number of procedural problems and cybersecurity risks for your business.

This is where the structure of your team and your ability to extend your team’s capabilities through the use of carefully selected third-party providers will support your ability to manage the risk of change whilst extracting the benefits multi-cloud offers. This isn’t just for PR purposes, either – it’s also about staying compliant with data legislation wherever you operate.

Now is the perfect time for your businesses to start making steps towards HMC if you haven’t already done so.

As the modern business landscape continues to change and evolve, you need to have a technology strategy to support your ability to meet those changing requirements, and multi-cloud should be part of that technology plan, with the right products and support, you can equip your organization as the requirements of your industry continue to evolve.

To find out more about hybrid and multi-cloud solutions, get in touch with Fujitsu today.