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Hybrid IT

IT Complexity is Stifling UK Innovation

28th October 2015

Research from Sungard Availability Services® finds that despite being considered a necessity in remaining competitive, complex ‘Hybrid IT’ systems are causing numerous problems for organisations

London, United Kingdom: 28th October 2015 – Research from Sungard Availability Services® (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, has revealed that over half of UK organisations believe that the complexity of their IT estate is hindering their ability to innovate. The research questioned 150 senior IT decision makers in UK organisations with more than 500 employees; with an average IT spend of around £36m per year.

The rise of cloud computing has placed IT into an era of transition, with organisations looking to embrace cloud and move away from the traditional approach. Many now find themselves in a state of Hybrid IT, running their business across a number of different IT platforms – whether that is private or public cloud, on premise servers, or data centre services. Unsurprisingly, compared to an approach in which infrastructure runs on a single platform, today’s so-called Hybrid IT estate is becoming increasingly complex, and defined as such by 100 per cent of UK respondents.

However, despite this complexity, hybrid IT is viewed positively by 92 per cent of organisations and has been identified as a critical component of their success, with 77 per cent of organisations stating that it was a necessary part of staying competitive within their industry. In fact, three quarters of respondents (75 per cent) claimed that the move to a Hybrid IT estate was a strategic choice, with 51 per cent citing it specifically as their stepping stone to cloud. Those who have adopted a Hybrid IT approach have experienced a number of rewards – with over half (53 per cent) pointing to an increase in business agility while improvements in customers service and the speed of product developments have been noted by 39 and 37 per cent respectively.

“Hybrid IT is a critical part of running a modern IT environment. However, like any IT strategy, it requires a well-considered and comprehensive roadmap. Building a Hybrid IT environment with ad hoc purchases and trying to keep numerous disparate applications integrated in a single system is a recipe for disaster. Hybrid IT might be, for many businesses, a stepping stone towards a cloud-first policy but a failure to invest in the right applications now will lead to significant issues in the future.”

— Keith Tilley, EVP Global Sales & Customer Services Management, Sungard AS

New IT, Old Challenges

However, the research also revealed a darker side of Hybrid IT. As increasing numbers of businesses turn to this approach, the perennial issue of IT complexity is once again rearing its head; nearly half (47 per cent) of the UK IT decision makers rate their current IT estate as either ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ complex.

Furthermore, 69 per cent of organisations say they are now running more complex IT systems than before. This complexity is adding significant cost to the running of IT estates, with nearly a third of UK organisations (31 per cent) having seen an increase in operating costs thanks to Hybrid IT, adding an average of £251,868 every year.

Most worryingly, over half (53 per cent) of IT decision makers claimed that the complexity of their Hybrid IT estate is hindering innovation in their organisation. Add to this the fact that half of organisations (50 per cent) claim they do not have the skill sets needed to manage a complex Hybrid IT environment and we are left with a real cause for concern.

The research also found matters of IT security were considered as the biggest concern, with 38 per cent of organisations lacking the necessary skills to deal with security issues. Integration and interoperability was also a crucial concern: 27 per cent of organisations felt they struggled to integrate private cloud environments into their IT estate. Similarly, 22 per cent of respondents admit to difficulties in managing different IT systems across separate business departments.

“Look to any success story in modern IT and you will find cloud computing at its heart. But it is not often a case of just ‘switching on’ the cloud – organisations need to take a number of steps to get there, usually from a starting point of traditional on premise solutions, which are then complimented with external services – including public and private cloud, colocation hosting, or managed services. With the research highlighting just how important Hybrid IT systems are to remaining competitive, it is imperative that we find ways to help organisations of all sizes and sectors address and overcome complexity issues and move forward on the cloud journey.”

— Sue Daley, Head of Programme, Big Data, Cloud & Mobile, techUK

Commenting on the findings, Keith Tilley, Executive Vice President, Global Sales & Customer Services Management at Sungard Availability Services, said:

“Cloud computing may seem to be the natural way forward for enterprise IT but it is not simply a case of turning off legacy system and pushing old processes into new environments. Most organisations in the UK have legacy applications -many running some of their most critical applications-, and as such, Hybrid IT is a necessary transition in the adoption of cloud services. It is very promising that organisations recognise the strategic value of Hybrid IT, but it equally disturbing that half our respondents feel unable to cope with the level of complexity it has added to their business.”

Roy Gray, IT Infrastructure at NHS Trust Moorfields, commented:

“In the public sector, IT complexity is inevitability. Resources are stretched, yet we’re expected to remain on the cutting edge of technology, delivering the latest services as well as highly confidential data with no room for disruption in service. We do everything we can to stay up to date – sharing resources with other public sector organisations, or borrowing ideas and implementing them ourselves – unsurprisingly it can become very complicated very quickly. And it’s not going to change; we’ll never get any smaller, we’re always going to expand and expand and expand. We need to be able to deal with this.”

Badreddine Laroussi, Group CIO – TDA Capital, commented:

“The whole point of moving to a Hybrid IT approach is to increase business agility. Technology is changing all the time, with new applications and services appearing on a weekly basis – organisations need an approach that can take advantage of this, allowing the right solutions to be brought into the IT estate whenever they become available. Of course, this requires careful planning: which applications would suit a cloud environment and which would be better elsewhere? Do you have the skillsets needed to make a success of this approach?”

The full report is available to download here.

About the research

Interviews were carried out in September and October 2015 by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Sungard Availability Services®. 500 interviews were conducted altogether: 150 from the UK, 150 from France and 100 each from Sweden and Ireland. The research spoke to IT decision makers in businesses of over 500 employees across a variety of sectors – including financial services, business process management and retail.

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