How hybrid cloud can save same digital transformations from being duds

With 84 percent of digital transformations failing in some way, business leaders are looking for new strategies to help their organizations evolve

hybrid cloud

When big-name brands fail, it’s hard to look away. Whether it’s a social media snafu by a fast-food chain or an all-out shuttering of an iconic retailer, we are fundamentally hard-wired as human beings to be fascinated by these stories, just like rubberneckers at the sight of a traffic accident. Business leaders, however, take special interest when an iconic retailer essentially disappears into the annals of business history. In those situations, the problems that beset the organization on the road to obsolescence suddenly become glaringly obvious.

It isn’t difficult to find stories about retail doom and infallible giants that are facing trouble, but that doesn’t mean the state of retail is in trouble. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In 2017, retail store openings increased significantly, and for each company that closed a store, another 2.7 stores were opened.

The role of digital transformations in enterprise failures

Industry research indicates that 84 percent of digital transformations fail in some way. That’s a huge number. But when a massive failure carries the headlines, what you’re really witnessing is the aftermath of a missed opportunity to innovate and transform the business to meet the needs of consumers. And while many companies are doing their best to evolve their business and keep up with the rapidly changing marketplace, attempts at a digital transformation often go wrong. Just take a look at these eye-opening statistics:

  • 40 percent of organizations will abandon or slow the transformation process due to less-than-expected results.
  • 32 percent of organizations will achieve certain milestones, but get near-zero results.
  • 12 percent of organizations are actively trying to transform, but are failing to see the expected results.

The result is unaccomplished missions, missed executions, and unsuccessful strategies.

Why do digital transformations fail?

Some organizations simply don’t fully appreciate what a digital transformation is, and this inability to form a unified vision plagues the process every step of the way. For other companies, there’s a lack of focus or enthusiasm from the people in charge. This may be due to a fear of change or concerns about the financial investment.

For many organizations, they simply try to take on too much at once. Massive technology overhauls are very risky; they can incur expensive setbacks, cost overruns, and a loss of scope. Consider some of the many challenges:

  • Lack of high-demand programmers and developers.
  • Inability or underestimation of effort to break away from legacy systems.
  • Disagreements on how to measure successes.
  • Failure to map out full strategies in advance.
  • User misalignment.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt a digital transformation—quite the contrary. Digital transformations are necessary in today’s competitive landscape and can revolutionize your business.

Your organization can avoid some of these issues by adopting smaller, user-focused changes. Successfully innovating in incremental steps—rather than investing in a major overhaul and failing part of the way through—can allow for more rapid adoption and bigger wins, while minimizing the risk of overall losses.

Creating a new strategy with the hybrid cloud

One way to implement these incremental changes is to leverage a gradual and planned hybrid cloud approach, rather than an entire lift and shift. Instead of moving an entire IT infrastructure to the public cloud, private cloud, or bare-metal infrastructure, the hybrid cloud allows you to mix and match your infrastructure solutions to effectively meet the unique needs of your application stacks. At Hostway, we dubbed this approach the “third-generation cloud,” and it’s a constantly expanding, superecosystem of hybrid cloud services and features that are designed to deliver better applications, superior workload management, and completely customized control.

One iconic organization that saw immense success through this type of digital transformation is the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan. While an estimated 1.7 million people visit the museum each year in person, an additional 3 million people visit the website annually. The Ford museum engaged in a massive digital transformation catering to both in-person and website visors, with only 5 percent of its extensive collection on physical display, with the rest of the archives digitized and presented online. Needless to say, the Ford museum website is mission-critical to its business because it contains 95 percent of the assets. As it made this digital transformation, the museum decided to use a hybrid cloud approach leveraging a virtual private cloud. This allowed the Ford museum to combine the security and configurability of a dedicated server environment with the flexibility of a public cloud.

Furthermore, this digital transformation has enabled them to be more agile as they grow and evolve. The museum’s director of information, Kevin Cubberly, said, “Performance-wise, the new environment is night and day from the old environment. We have the flexibility to spin it up and spin it down and do what we need to do.”

By using the hybrid cloud as a digital transformation platform, an organization can experience the freedom to innovate and evolve with multiple cloud powers, all while protecting against common digital transformation disasters. This is because the hybrid cloud allows for:

  • Development that can take place securely, with precise testing and controlled conditions.
  • Better leverage of legacy applications that exist in the cloud.
  • Legacy systems that are not destined for the cloud to remain on dedicated and on-premises sources while effectively interacting with your cloud environment.
  • Resources to be easily put to rest if your digital transformation project stalls
  • Deployments, such as application updates, to be more easily rolled back.

Security considerations

Most business data is mission-critical data, so the systems that carry and execute on this data must always be running, secure, and scalable to meet changing business demands. These are significant requirements; fortunately, a hybrid cloud solution that leverages direct connect capabilities through its hosting and MSP partners are capable of meeting these needs. The right hosting partner will even be capable of rewriting the technology enablement story for organizations of all sizes.

Moving forward

Technology innovations will always cause disruptions in business. But with a robust hybrid platform, you can pivot those disruptions in your favor. Use the technology to create a bridge between dedicated resources and the public cloud, effectively allowing you to make the small, rapid changes that will result in big wins for your business. As technology changes, you’ll be better suited to adopt emerging products and evolve your organization without rushing—and without making headlines for your own IT failure.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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