Cloud computing is playing an increasingly important role in businesses across the country, regardless of their organisational size or the sector they operate in, as business leaders turn to Cloud services to transform their IT estates. According to our latest research on the state of UK Cloud market, 84 per cent of organisations currently use at least one Cloud service, up from 48 per cent in 2010. Moreover, 78 per cent of those organisations use two or more services, a significant increase on the same figure recorded in 2014, highlighting how the delivery model is making its presence felt in businesses today.

This growth story owes much to the fact that Cloud services are having a profound impact on the design and delivery of organisations’ IT capabilities and, as a result, on the performance and flexibility of their businesses thereafter. At its heart, the concept of Cloud is all about organisational transformation though the
agile on-demand delivery of IT solutions; it is not so much about the technology itself. Cloud is transforming the ways that businesses communicate internally and with their customers, providing more flexible and faster access to technology, reducing capital expenditure and shaving healthy amounts off of overall IT spends.

But what is clear is that Cloud is but one part of an increasingly complex and diverse picture. Although penetration has increased year-on-year, and indeed, faster than we had anticipated, Cloud-based solutions still constitute a relatively small part of the wider IT estate and half of organisations expect to keep specific applications and services on-premise indefinitely. This, by no means, is to suggest that appetite for Cloud is on the wane; more a reflection of the fact that not everything can or should be migrated. With this being the case, the majority of organisations will be maintaining Hybrid IT environments for the foreseeable future.

Hybrid IT is hardly a new phenomenon as it relates to the co-existence of multiple IT deployment models – which has been true for most businesses since the move away from mainframes in the 1980s. But most causes of a hybrid environment have historically been the product of a transition process rather than an explicit or deliberate strategy. Arguably this is no longer the case and we are seeing Hybrid IT estates emerge by design.

From a business point of view, such an approach to IT is a useful one. Rather than charging full-throttle towards one type of infrastructure, businesses are now able to pick and choose the types of IT that they feel most comfortable with, and that are most appropriate for their individual applications. Embracing a hybrid approach gives businesses the flexibility to construct an IT estate that will feed into the needs of the organisation, evolving as-and-when required. This bottom-up evolutionary approach removes many of the risks of grand all-encompassing IT projects, which tend to be expensive, difficult to coordinate and slow to react to changing business requirements.

Cloud is a proven IT deployment model, but for most organisations it is one of many that
will be used. The benefits of adopting Cloud alongside on-premise are proven and Hybrid IT is a natural and unstoppable evolution in the IT landscape, which will serve to enhance business outcomes with the continued investment of time and innovation.