Throughout the course of this Tech Talk series, we’ve really hammered on the idea that a Hybrid Enterprise model is a great solution. But as we wrap up, I feel that I’ve left one thing somewhat unclear. That is: the answer to the question, “A great solution to what?” What real challenges do we solve by moving towards a hybrid enterprise architecture? Why should you care? Previously, I threw out some ideas to start the conversation in your own organization. Finally, I intend to present a few common problems that the hybrid model is a compelling solution for, which you can then discuss as they relate to your business.
Or more specifically, availability without compromise. One could easily pick up and move an entire application to a public cloud provider and experience a higher degree of availability. But this comes at the cost of visibility and control. A great example of a hybrid design creating availability without compromise is an example Bob gave of a customer integrating O365 to an ADFS instance in the cloud (read: available), which replicated back to a less robust, but local ADFS instance. This design gives the availability of a large cloud service with the local management, insight, and control of hosting your services locally.
We have referred to the idea that an end-user may have a very poor experience if a hybrid application is not designed thoughtfully. However, if well thought out, a hybrid application (a hybrid application is one where application components are spread between providers, regions, private/public, etc.) can provide an end user experience that is perceived to perform as if it were local. Solving this issue is tied directly to solving the business challenge that causes us to want to not be local in the first place: business requirements involving data sovereignty, security, uptime, compliance, and so on. A hybrid model can help us satisfy these requirements without being bound to a particular location.
My first article in this series alluded to my belief that users circumvent IT as a whole to get things done because they have not been given what they want or need. By adopting a model where we blend homegrown, local apps with SaaS apps and with cloud-hosted apps, and we access these in various geographies over various networks, we suddenly have afforded ourselves the flexibility to create and deliver the services that our users require. Let us not forget that IT is all about empowering the business; if a hybrid enterprise approach is the key to unlocking wasted potential in our end users, we had better jump on it!
As we conclude the series and you have a stronger understanding of what “hybrid enterprise” is all about and what business challenges this approach will address, the only thing left is to figure out where in the world we go from here!