Dimension Data, representing NTT within the MEA market, a global technology services company and Dimension Data parent, has released its 2021 Hybrid Cloud Report, which highlights the critical need for business agility and the role hybrid cloud has had on helping businesses achieve this.
Before COVID-19, many companies had embarked on digital transformation journeys, but the pandemic highlighted that many were not as agile as they had previously thought. The pandemic laid bare deficiencies in businesses’ cloud infrastructure, security and network architecture capabilities, hindering their ability to adapt and remain agile.
The new normal
The pandemic has forced a cultural mindset shift with global organisations adapting their agility plans from recovering infrastructure and applications to getting office-based workers set up and working from home. Despite this uncertainty, the pandemic has provided a significant opportunity to accelerate digital transformation initiatives.
The report, which conducted research with 950 decision-makers in 13 countries across five regions, highlighted the increasing reliance on technology and found that in South Africa:
- Cloud remains business-critical: 88% see cloud as critical to meeting immediate business needs among pandemic uncertainty.
- A business lifeline: 84.3% agree that pandemic has forced its business to rely on technology more than ever before.
- The benefits of hybrid cloud are already clear: 53% are already using or piloting hybrid cloud (lagging behind the 60.9% global average).
- Hybrid cloud is the future: The study found that a further 42.2% of respondents plan to implement a hybrid cloud solution within 12-24 months.
It is clear that hybrid cloud is now seen as critical to data-driven processes and real-time decisions both now and in the future, and by implementing hybrid cloud solutions at the above-mentioned rate, South Africa will surpass the global average in two years.
Hybrid cloud, when implemented correctly, drives efficiencies
As a result of the hardships of 2020, businesses are continuing to tighten their purse strings and look to hybrid cloud to increase cost efficiencies and drive organisational performance. The report found that establishing a more cost-efficient IT operational infrastructure is the second biggest driver of hybrid cloud adoption, especially given the shift to a distributed workforce model, where businesses now need to access data and applications in new, different and often complex ways.
The use of hybrid cloud has helped more than a third of South African businesses (39.8%) improve the speed of deployment of applications and services to create operational efficiencies.
Businesses, however, need to implement hybrid cloud in a way that will optimise environments to maximise efficiencies. This is why over half of organisations (56.6%) strongly agree on the need to engage with experts, such as managed cloud providers.
Beyond maximising cost efficiencies, businesses are also charged with changing attitudes to security and compliance and the complexities of implementing hybrid cloud. The report found that 38.6% of respondents in South Africa claim that difficulties in managing data security is one of the greatest barriers to adopting hybrid cloud. To overcome these barriers when working in such complex environments, organisations must choose the right environment that will securely host their mission-critical applications across public and private clouds, and work with a partner who understands the industries they’re working in to ensure compliance.
The report found that network performance and a shortage of skills were also regarded as sizeable barriers to hybrid cloud adoption. Both, if not appropriately addressed when implementing the cloud, could undo the benefits it offers.
“The key drivers for hybrid cloud adoption are agility, business continuity and compliance, and the ability for organisations to respond to change effectively. A sustainable cloud strategy must be closely aligned to the overall digital transformation strategy and supported by scalable infrastructure and cloud optimised platforms to truly experience and reap the business rewards,” says Kyle Stanton, Executive: Intelligent Infrastructure at Dimension Data.
Partnering for success
Industry collaboration and working with external experts will provide businesses with the right knowledge and skills to set up their hybrid cloud environments for agility. When we asked our respondents about the types of partner used, 71.3% of businesses in South Africa said they engaged with systems integrators, while 63.8% engaged with specialist information security consultants or managed security service providers highlighting the importance of security to cloud deployments.
“While many organisations found themselves unexpectedly moving toward a cloud-based operational model, adopting a range of new services due to the global shift to remote working, it’s imperative that they also acknowledge the need to part with providers that offer the correct skills, infrastructure, and security, to reap the rewards and business returns,” concludes Stanton.