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Managing a Hybrid IT Infrastructure

The world of business is changing, and the role of technology has evolved into a crucial linchpin in this age of digital transformation. Increasingly, technology is no longer viewed merely as a support tool to increase the efficiency of business operations, but as a competitive differentiator that can make or break an organization.

Understanding the hybrid cloud
To succeed in this bold new world, businesses in Southeast Asia must possess greater flexibility and the capability to deliver much faster than they did in the past. It is hence no surprise that organizations are seeking new strategies to differentiate and accelerate their local and regional business using technology, including tapping into the public cloud.

Indeed, a 2015 study from Forrester noted that many businesses have already bought into multiple cloud platforms, with between 60% and 65% of organizations saying they are adopting or have already adopted a multi-cloud environment. Coupled with the fact that modern, mid-sized organizations would already have ample IT infrastructure in place, this means that a hybrid cloud is the logical way forward.

A hybrid cloud deployment has many advantages. Specifically, businesses benefit from the elasticity and rapid provisioning of the cloud without having to discard existing on-premises hardware. Aside from preserving their investments, it also facilitates compliance with pertinent data sovereignty and privacy regulations.

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The managed service provider
On the flip side, the hybrid cloud introduces increased technical complexity to the IT infrastructure, while a new way to accurately track IT costs will likely be necessary. Crucially, the skillsets required to properly manage both cloud and in-house infrastructure are also broader, which ratchets up the pressure to hire more experts versed in hybrid deployments.

The skills conundrum is especially true with organizations that have previously only deployed on-premises systems. With a hybrid cloud deployment, security across on-premises and cloud infrastructure suddenly becomes another key challenge that organizations need to rapidly get the hang of. However, hiring additional experts may not be an option, what with a slowing economy in countries such as Singapore, and continued cost pressures in Malaysia and Hong Kong.

One solution may be found with managed service providers, which are backed by a large, highly-trained support team to ensure that the right resources are always on-hand. This opens the door to thousands of experts based around the world with support for over a hundred technologies who can competently converse in multiple languages. And unlike engineers from equipment makers, managed service providers are vendor agnostic. Given that organizations typically leverage a blend of equipment from multiple providers, this ensures that any advice received will be completely impartial and benefits the organization.

   

Transformational IT
One less obvious benefit of a managed service approach would be how it can help with optimizing existing resources, ensuring that costs don’t spiral out of control in complex hybrid cloud environments. The rationale is simple: staffers overloaded with routine tasks don’t have the luxury of time to look beyond their immediate challenges.

Though the IT team has traditionally been the gatekeeper of the computers and the backend IT environment, their role has metamorphosed to be more of the enablers of this digital era. Freeing them up from the mundane and other low-value tasks will afford them the opportunities to communicate more broadly and deeply with stakeholders within the organizations to better understand the business. This heightened business acumen can only translate into new IT-centric strategies and initiatives to positively impact the company bottom-line.

Moreover, the managed services provider typically has greater experience with a range of deployment options and can more readily advise on what works and what won’t. This is especially important when it comes to key areas such as security and compliance and recommending the right policies and architecture to meet these requirements. Having the right tools in place from the get-go eliminates the hefty costs that can step from mistakes on this front.

Even organizations where compliance is not an issue can benefit from the use of advanced IT management methodologies such as ITIL v3 for a seamless and well-designed model that fits into the need of the business. The result is a greater velocity in the improvement of the IT environment.

Finally, the business organization benefits from a predictable cost every month. Similar to an IT hire, organizations pay only for the level of support that they need, deriving peace of mind from paying a fixed overhead with no bill shock.

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