We all know how important cloud enterprise transformation is to today’s large organizations. But we also know how difficult it can be for huge businesses to change course, adopt new ways of building and maintaining IT, and keep pace with a rapidly evolving technology and consumer landscape.

The good news is that, as the dust settles on the Great Cloud Migration, the essential capabilities and accelerators for transformation are becoming clearer. And two of the most important are hybrid cloud and open source. In fact, these two components are now at the heart of virtually every successful enterprise transformation initiative at scale.

Hybrid cloud’s importance should be no surprise. Organizations now turn to cloud platforms and solutions as a matter of course. They do so to increase agility, support creativity, drive innovation and streamline operations. And most large organizations are settling on hybrid cloud because it allows them to balance the innovation, agility and scalability of the public cloud with their needs for lower latency, cost-effectiveness and regulatory compliance in the private cloud.

But open source is becoming just as relevant. Accenture’s own Future Systems research shows that a massive 98% of the highest-performing companies have now adopted open source solutions from leading organizations like Red Hat. There are many reasons why they’ve done so. But one of the most important is that all the qualities of open source – innovation, agility, an open culture – are perfectly aligned with the goals and drivers of a modern business transformation.

So is enterprise transformation as simple as adopting hybrid cloud and open source? Not quite. There’s no escaping the fact that making change on this scale is hard. From the overwhelming complexity of modern IT topologies to the difficulty in getting a coherent vision and strategy for the whole enterprise, there are many challenges to overcome. And that’s before you start considering the greater risk profile of today’s IT, the pull of legacy technologies and processes, and the need to drive a broader cultural shift alongside.

The solution? Ultimately there’s no simple answer. But it all comes down to balance. That is, balancing the need to keep optimizing the legacy parts of the organization while also carving out space for innovation in a way that puts the needs of humans (workers, customers, partners) above all else.

There are four crucial things to think about here:

  1. First, you have to standardize. And by that I mean processes and services as well as infrastructure. This is essential for enabling the organization to take advantage of new software and hardware, and providing a platform for innovation that bridges internal divisions.
  2. Second, you’ve got to modernize before you migrate. The most successful cloud transformations are application-driven. That is, they develop a detailed picture of the existing application estate before attempting to migrate it to the cloud. It’s important to perform an analysis of your application landscape. This, in turn, will inform the entire cloud strategy, ensuring the best technology solution choices for your applications. And, the analysis will help you appropriately balance these solutions across a hybrid cloud environment to meet strategic business objectives.
  3. Third, you have to be ready to run at multispeed. Business needs and the applications that support them are all different, and all need to run at their own pace. For instance, you would generally use DevOps and rapid agile deployment for cloud-native apps, while wrapping legacy technology in microservices and APIs.
  4. Fourth, you need to look at the culture. New skills will almost certainly be needed – and not just in the IT function. Business owners, too, need to understand what’s changing and why so they can participate fully in the transformation process.

In our day-to-day work with clients we use Red Hat open source platforms and solutions to quickly put in place some of these crucial building blocks of the modern enterprise: microservices, Agile and DevOps, hybrid cloud, and more. And with Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud strategy, we can accelerate a transformation while ensuring the whole organization is aligned around a shared set of goals.

Ultimately, with change now ever-present, the need to digitally transform has never been greater. No one should pretend it’s an easy thing to do. But in hybrid cloud and open source, enterprises have a strategy that has been proven to streamline and accelerate the process. You might even say open hybrid is the future of enterprise IT.

Jan Myklebust

Red Hat Strategy and Architecture Lead, Europe

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