Definitions are important, but not enough if reality changes – fast. We happen to support more companies of large scale and more users in the business cloud environment than any of the so-called cloud version1 vendors. We listen carefully and have built our strategy on the input we get from customers and partners. We happen to see an interesting shift for cloud closer to the reality – not dreaming, not vapor ware.
But lets start with the classical definition for cloud, and we will focus on the software aspect of the equation, software as a service to be more explicit:
Hybrid clouds are a combination of public and private cloud deployments, full stop. It is the blending of internal and external cloud resources, allowing each area to perform distinct functions within the same organization.
And this option makes sense, as companies often still have concerns about data sensitivity and security.
But reality shows that - this definition (NIST) being true – it is not enough when you look at the reality that companies are facing.
There are existing assets that they own and operate, often named as on-premise – and a lot oft hem make sense if the work and deliver the business outcome desired. There is not essential value in ripping out good solutions for just taking it to a cloud deployment model. The benefits are not enough then.
Now we do know that if innovation and agility are key drivers – and business want outcomes fast – you should really embrace cloud. And you should lead your transformation with cloud – public and private, hybrid.
But how to connect or integrate into the existing landscape of solutions?
How do you cater to an need to work in business networks, means optimizing not only a department – lets say sales – and for sure not only optimizing your company as you already live in a connected world – lets say supplier and customers?
This is where hybrid extendedcomes in. Key question for every business is: How do you enable fast business outcome when the business process spans different solutions with different deployment models? And this irrespective of understandable reservations we often hear – some nice quotes from co-innovation customers to illustrate the point:
If it works, why rip it out?
How do I innovate in certain areas without breaking the consistency of data and process?
How do I enable change in some areas quick – quick wins – but know that I do not end in a mushrooming environment of solutions (aka cloud mess)
Do I need to go to a 3rd party for integration?
Well, this is not simple – but please challenge your vendor if he understands what the right mix is for you. Not "cloud for cloud sake".
And clearly the right platform and infrastructure strategy needs to be in place and only then it will work. What are some of the capabilities the platform needs?
Converge to one platform – like innovative, extendible, open - how many platforms does your provider really have?
Allow a modern business platform that delivers capabilities your business needs to cater to innovation – like in memory, predictive, reduced footprint
Ability to extend or build custom applications via PaaS offering, including a marketplace - how open is the platform underneath the cloud solutions?
How often do you get innovation that you can consume to address new or improved processes? And how did this change recently - more or less innovation cycles?
So the right mix needs to be linked to the right platform and to the right infrastructure. Sounds simple - but hard to execute on a global and enterprise scale.
This is what a good strategy should be about. This is the flexibility your customers need. It is about the customer situation defining the right path to cloud adoption – not at vendors pace.
I am passionate about cloud, and I am passionate of my ERP background. Yes, I stated it: ERP. Both is needed to succeed. But do not believe the dreamers that want to build ERP again - from scratch. Lets leapfrog this attempt and build on what works that is truly stable and global and reliable – towards the "modern ERP" which is a "networked ERP" – leveraging innovative technology and cloud consumption models – as a hybrid extended deployment reality.
Thanks to the customers and partners that co-innovate with us, they are truly leading the way…
Let me know your thoughts and follow me on twitter @SDenecken to see this journey unfold.