As a kid, I went camping with my family a lot. This was before the days of smartphones and mobile videogames, so we had to come up with ways to entertain ourselves during downtime. My go-to activity was cloud watching. While it was fun to see them shapeshift into pirate ships and dragons, it was also a bit infuriating: as soon as I’d see the perfect shape form – before I could turn a parent’s attention away from driving tent pegs to looking skyward – it was gone.

Fast forward a few decades, and I’m still looking at clouds. I can see why clients find the process both thrilling and infuriating: as soon as they have a sense of the shape of the right cloud for them, it shifts. How can they find the right mix of on-premises and cloud-based? Do they use a single cloud provider or multi-cloud approach? Which parts of their IT footprint is best suited for the cloud? Applications? Platforms? Infrastructure? Where should they land on the ever-evolving debate of public vs private cloud strategy? There is no one-size fits all for cloud, and as organizations look to achieve greater business agility, that “right fit” has an ever-decreasing shelf life.

While finding the "right fit" is a moving target, we see that overall cloud usage continues to increase. In the CGI Client Global Insights, executives we interviewed cite increases in usage across all cloud types year-over-year (+6 percentage points), with hybrid cloud usage up 12 percentage points to support customers and up 17pp to support the internal organization.

Take a hybrid and multi-cloud approach

For the better part of a decade, organizations with a mix of legacy data infrastructure and cloud looked to cloud-only enterprises with a bit of envy. Now, though, the tide seems to be shifting. While there is still a desire to think cloud first, businesses that invested heavily in the public cloud are facing challenges such as cost overruns, security and compliance risks, and lack of control. These are some of the driving forces for hybrid adoption with, according to IDC, over 90% of enterprises worldwide relying on some form of hybrid/multi-cloud approach by 2022.

Organizations with a mix of data platforms now have more options for how they bring applications and solutions to market. This mix also provides greater flexibility for how organizations manage (access, move and store) their data, allowing them to select the right combination to reduce costs and increase security. Of course, choice can be its own challenge: too many choices can be overwhelming without the means to manage them all intelligently.

Bring agility and intelligence to your data fabric

Without the right tools and strategy in place, an organization’s mix of public cloud, private cloud and on-premises datacenters is just a hodgepodge of disparate systems that are a headache to manage. With the right tools and strategy, however, one can build and manage a true data fabric that integrates data across the entire organization. This allows an organization to, among other things:

  • Speed up IT modernization – making it easier to prioritize and plan its digital IT landscape and app portfolio in a way that aligns to business priorities whether that includes refactoring, transforming or creating net new.
  • Increase business agility – as the pace of change continues to accelerate, and levels of uncertainty increase having an integrated data fabric allows organizations to adapt to new market opportunities with speed and flexibility. Only 18% of commercial executives we interviewed say their business model is highly agile for addressing digitization.
  • Drive more value from its data – having data available from the entire organization not only provides a new level of visibility and insight, it also puts that data at the fingertips of developers to innovate with emerging technology such as intelligent automation and predictive analytics. 

Overcome traditional transformation tradeoffs

A well-designed and implemented data fabric can help to erase the traditional tradeoffs that organizations had to make with their digital IT landscape. Previously, one could go to the cloud to achieve speed and scalability at the expense of security and cost savings. Alternately, an on-premises solution would provide security and savings, but at the expense of speed (of data and of innovation) and scalability. With the right hybrid multi-cloud model, an organization doesn’t have to choose. What’s more, the right model today might change tomorrow. And that’s okay.

We understand this because we’ve done this for numerous clients.

Through our recently-announced partnership with NetApp, CGI can help clients deliver a hybrid and multi-cloud approach that empowers organizations to shift business models and adapt to disruptive change. Together, we are helping organizations realize the full potential of the data fabric, meeting them wherever they are, accelerating each step of the way on their journey to the hybrid multi-cloud.

Learn more about how CGI and NetApp are working together to accelerate digital initiatives for our clients

About this author

Douglas Vargo

Douglas Vargo

Vice President, Consulting Services

A seasoned digital leader and strategist, Doug leads CGI’s emerging technology practice for the U. S. East Business Unit. With nearly two decades of experience in developing and delivering complex innovative solutions and strategies , Doug brings a deep understanding ...

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