Connectivity to support your IT environment – what does this mean for your business?
Developing the right IT strategy to face the future is a challenge, but it is also an essential driver of growth
We are seeing an unstoppable force in the form of digital transformation driving the need for better connectivity for businesses and an ever-growing reliance on cloud and colocation to host, power and sustain this organisational evolution. Developing the right IT strategy to face this future is a challenge, but it is also an essential driver of growth.
Irish businesses have had to navigate a tremendous amount over the past few years and to a large extent many have remained resilient, pivoting as needed to overcome the challenges facing them. One such challenge was the adoption of remote work at scale on the back of the pandemic, which as we all know has remained a permanent fixture to some degree, through the hybrid work model.
“If nothing else, the pandemic acted as an accelerant for Irish businesses when it came to adopting digital practices. Companies were forced to revaluate their IT infrastructure and data management needs, with many adopting digital processes quicker than ever before,” said Greg Casey, sales director, Digital Realty.
The radical changes this increased reliance on technology brought about are now very apparent, in terms of how we live, work, shop and interact. Practically everything we do is centred on continuous connectivity, including always-on data and self-service. As such, there has become this collective surge in the demand for real-time data and hyper connectivity from businesses and end-users alike.
In order to meet these new and evolving requirements, there is a huge onus on Irish businesses to modernise their IT offerings, in order to deliver for their business and staff, while ensuring they are keeping pace with their competitors and industry peers, domestically and on the global stage.
Why adopt a Hybrid IT approach?
‘Hybrid IT’ is now a part of the vernacular, but how does it support or improve an organisations’ connectivity? When it comes to IT infrastructure, like the hybrid cloud, there are a variety of benefits in the modern workplace. The most important is the ability to take control of corporate IT assets in the service of business objectives, such as improving service to existing customers or growing into a new market.
The hybrid cloud offers organisations incredible flexibility when connecting with their teams, which has never been more important than it is now. As more and more people resist the pressure to return to the office full-time, and in turn work remotely at least some of the time, connectivity be it in-market or across continents has bever been more important.
However, as businesses become even more dependent on digital resources, channels, and capabilities in order to grow, they also become more vulnerable to technological disruption. This is increasingly true if they remain tied to legacy IT infrastructure, which is often expensive and inflexible and certainly lagging behind in terms of connectivity. To address this, it’s vital that organisations map out their strategy and resources to meet these challenges, in an ever-shrinking window of time.
Having recently undertaken its own research report: ‘The Drivers and Challenges of Ireland’s IT Landscape’, commissioned by Amárach Research, in partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE), Digital Realty discovered the key opportunities and challenges that are driving Irish enterprises, from a cross-section of industries, when it comes to digital and IT transformation. “Almost half of respondents (45%) have said they will move to a hybrid IT environment that leverages both on-premises systems and off-premises cloud/hosted resources. While 39% of respondents said that optimising connectivity at branch locations or for employees working from home was a key network consideration, we expect this figure to grow exponentially over the months and years ahead”, said Casey.
“From a global perspective, we are seeing a much higher proportion of businesses moving workloads exclusively away from on-premise, toward a combination of public and private cloud deployments. While we are not yet at the same stage of maturity when it comes to hybrid IT approaches in Ireland, according to our research, reliance on on-premise models to house IT infrastructure by Irish businesses is predicted to decline by 63% in 2024, which is directly in line with projections from international analysts.
“By adopting a Hybrid IT approach, and utilising a private cloud environment, organisations can take a more strategic view when it comes to data storage and take more control of their data needs into the future. Taking control of your data is so important, especially in a world where no one is bound by location and companies are undergoing international growth. Knowing that you can make sensitive data available in locations where it will be geographically relevant, secure, and easily accessed by team members is critical to improving your organisation’s performance.”
It’s important to understand that delivering a hybrid IT strategy will demand flexibility, investment and partnership with vendors who can meet the need for public cloud, capacity, security, connectivity, compliance, and cost-effectiveness.
“With the growth in applications and workloads moving into the cloud, we asked those who took part in our research, how they currently connect to the public cloud. 35% are connecting to a cloud on-ramp via network service providers and 33% connect via public internet – one to watch in the future as more and more security concerns come to light, the move away from connectivity via the public internet is expected to disappear. We’re also seeing the growth of private cloud usage as respondents cites an increase of 20% private cloud usage by 2024.”
As security concerns continue to ramp up and issues around latency as well as the risk of downtime, it will be interesting to see how these figures change in the coming years as many will move away from relying on connecting via the public internet.
Organisations seeking to effectively utilise a hybrid IT environment, be that via hybrid cloud and or a mixture of cloud and on-premises resources, need to consider colocation as an integral part of their digital transformation strategies. With over 60% of respondents from our research indicating that site security, accessibility and resilient connectivity are key requirements for data centre selection, Digital Realty colocation facilities offer second-to-none connectivity to ISPs, cloud providers and internet exchanges all in one place.
Colocation enables enterprises of all sizes to move privately-owned servers and networking equipment out of on-premises installation and into a highly efficient and secure data centre environment with 99.9% uptime and robust back-up and recovery services.
“By far the most popular approach to IT strategy among Irish businesses at present is a move towards a hybrid IT environment that leverages both on-premises systems and off-premises in the form of cloud or hosted resources. In our research, we found that 45% of IT managers are on that particular course right now. This presents a challenge to both the C-suite and IT professionals to balance the hybrid world and drive innovation, which will dramatically alter their needs for more connectivity and better utilisation of cloud technologies.”
Ultimately, we are seeing an unstoppable force in the form of digital transformation driving the need for both better connectivity for businesses and an ever-growing reliance on cloud and colocation to host, power and sustain this organisational evolution. Developing the right IT strategy to face this future is a challenge, but it is also an essential driver of growth.
With such a complex IT landscape, it is vital for senior leaders to understand the right IT strategy for their business or else risk getting left behind. Adopting a hybrid IT approach, that is scalable and meets the demands for more connectivity and cloud capacity to successfully embrace the opportunities to digitally evolve, can help Irish businesses address this.
The road ahead means adopting a holistic approach to your organisations IT infrastructure. A strategic orientation toward the future is the first step to success, but this must be married to a tactical and practical plan to ensure that your IT grows to support your broader business needs.