A Shift in Culture Is Key to the Successful Transformation to Hybrid IT

By Mohamad Khalid, Enterprise Cloud Architect, NetApp


Cloud adoption typically begins with enterprise IT controlling the growth of shadow IT – a practice whereby business units deploy their own systems, negotiate their own contracts with providers, and hire their own employees to administer the environment. Shadow IT occurs when IT is unable to provide capabilities as quickly as the business demands, driving business units to procure services from external cloud providers.


Yet, IT can take the lead when it comes to procuring external cloud services, providing the agility and efficiency the business demands along with managing risk. Doing so requires a number of considerations—the first of which is to become a broker-provider of IT services rather than build everything in house. This approach is referred to as “hybrid IT” and involves the use of both private and public clouds (hybrid cloud).


The culture of both IT and the business must evolve in this changing landscape to drive the adoption of a hybrid IT model. Change, no matter how small, can be difficult, especially if employees are wedded to specific roles and job processes. Because of this, there must first be buy-in from leadership.


Changes that take place at a higher level include:

  • Providing appropriate solutions to the business based on price, performance, and risk
  • Developing a well-defined cloud governance process
  • Understanding clearly the cloud-provider capabilities and roadmap
  • Taking data privacy, data security, and data escrow into account
  • Offering services as a pay-as-you-consume model
  • Driving cost-efficiency via metering, placement, and show-back/chargeback models
  • Working with experts in business-process agility
  • Managing vendor-sourcing decisions and service management across the cloud supply chain

Communication and education are key to enabling this level of change across the enterprise. Therefore, it is important for IT organizations to help raise employee awareness. At NetApp IT we are midway through the process of communicating our approach to the IT organization via an educational series on cloud. Developed internally, the series includes an introduction on the basics of cloud and the business model, key governance factors, concerns regarding security and risk, specifics on how to manage and operate in the cloud, and what to expect in terms of changes to IT roles.


By empowering our IT employees, we are helping to alleviate any possible confusion they may have over how a hybrid cloud model will affect their positions as we evolve toward hybrid IT.


Everyone in the organization has a part to play in the successful transformation to hybrid IT using a hybrid cloud model. The journey toward cultural change, however, requires multiple steps – and patience. At NetApp, our initial efforts in getting IT and the business to accept the role of IT as a broker-provider of services are beginning to pay off. 


The NetApp-on-NetApp blog series features advice from subject matter experts from NetApp IT who share their real-world experiences using NetApp’s industry-leading storage solutions to support business goals. Want to view learn more about the program? Visit www.NetAppIT.com.


One of the major concerns today is with data migration between the private and public clouds, especially when the public cloud providers close their shop and offer a very short notice. Though you have already quoted it in "security and risk" factor, I believe there should be a well thought and well defined strategy towards migrations that are sudden and immediate in nature.

Mahesh you make good points and that will be detailed as part of the Security and Risk Section. Security and Risk should be looked across the Cloud Supply chain from  Architecture all the way to Operations as Enteprises drive to a Hybrid Cloud model.   To answer your question as part of the decsion tree as we onboard Cloud Service Providers we need to make sure we have an Exit Stratgey Plan which encompass as you stated a Data Escrow plan with the right tools, procees in place so if the Cloud Provider goes out of business we have the data,

Very good article, Mo.