Our new whitepaper, Hybrid cloud: The best of both worlds, explains why the cloud is a key enabler of digitalization - and why a hybrid Microsoft cloud is the right choice for most organisations.
The cloud is changing the way we do business with IT. It holds the key to lower costs, greater agility and flexibility, and a future in which enterprises are more innovative and responsive to their customers' wants and needs.
However, not all organisations are ready for wholesale cloud adoption. For some, it might make more sense to keep specific applications and data on-premises than in the cloud. Their reasons could include performance and availability requirements, as well as the total cost of ownership.
Meanwhile, not all cloud services are created equal. Different vendors offer different levels of control over where data resides, different levels of transparency, and different levels of speed and scalability - and, of course, different price points.
So, if enterprises are to achieve the best possible balance of security, agility and cost across the entirety of their IT environments, they can't rely on one source of infrastructure alone. They need to combine - and seamlessly integrate - public and private cloud capacity with on-premises IT.
This is called the hybrid cloud, and many of the most cloud-mature organisations are using it already.
Last year, we conducted a study together with Radar entitled Benefits of Cloud Maturity: Cloud Maturity Index 2015. The research ranked Nordic enterprises by their strategic and operational levels of cloud maturity, designating the 90th percentile 'cloud-mature organisations'. 55 per cent of this group were shown to be hybrid cloud users, beating an average of 30 per cent across the sample as a whole.
Cloud-mature organisations spend 34 per cent less than their peers on the operational aspects of IT, according to the study, and allocate twice the proportion of their overall IT budget to innovation and growth. More so than their less mature counterparts, they recognise the hybrid cloud as an equilibrium where all of their needs can be met.
This shows that the hybrid cloud is more than just a stop-gap. To borrow a phrase from a Microsoft whitepaper, it's a place that enterprises "are going to call home for a long time to come".
Most organisations worldwide are users of Microsoft technologies like Office, Exchange and SharePoint. In the Nordic region, the figure is above 80 per cent. These tools are powerful, widely used and supported, and familiar to the more significant part of the workforce.
Now, thanks to Azure and Office 365, they can also be deployed in a hybrid model. So, when it comes to Microsoft technologies, you can use whatever combination of public cloud, private cloud and on-premises infrastructure best meets the needs of your organisation.
You might, for example, use Exchange Server for senior management, and Exchange Online for rank-and-file workers. Or you might store regulated data in a private cloud and use Azure for everything else. Almost any combination is possible, and all of it can be integrated with Azure AD for single sign-on access.
Of course, migrating to a hybrid Microsoft cloud - and then managing the hybrid environment itself - can be a significant undertaking for organisations of any level of cloud maturity.
The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider programme exists for this reason. It means that Microsoft partners like Tieto can deliver a complete Microsoft cloud solution to their customers, together with add-on services, all under a single invoice. Since we launched Tieto Productivity Cloud in 2013, we've supported over 100 Nordic organisations - representing around half a million end users - in leaping.
Now, we're finding that more organisations than ever are exploring the possibility of Microsoft technologies in a hybrid way. Our new whitepaper, published today, explains the value of this approach, and why a hybrid Microsoft cloud will be a crucial enabler of digitalization and source of competitive advantage for many enterprises in the future.
To learn more, read Hybrid cloud: The best of both worlds.
Richard Lindstedt is driving cloud services innovation at Tieto, developing new offerings that help customers take advantage of the benefits that hybrid cloud solutions bring. Richard is specifically focused on the Tieto private cloud platform based on Microsoft technologies and the Microsoft Azure public cloud services. He has 25 years of experience in enterprise networking, management and security solutions, as well as product management, product marketing and professional services.