CIOs favor hybrid cloud environments due to reduced complexity and increased flexibility, but many of them are concerned about security issues.
By William Atkinson
A majority of CIOs say that hybrid cloud environments, which integrate on-premise and cloud-based applications, helps reduce complexity and increase flexibility, according to a recent SAP survey. Concerns about security, however, are a leading issue.
Titled CIO Survey Results—Hybrid: The Next Generation Cloud, the report is based on in-depth phone interviews with 52 CIOs of large companies. While the sample size is small, it’s due to the fact that the respondents needed to be CIOs of large businesses and willing to participate in an in-depth phone interview. "These requirements made it difficult to get a larger sample size," according to a SAP spokesperson. "However, the in-depth phone interviews make this survey unique, because we were able to get great insight into what CIOs really believe about on-premise and cloud integration."
Eighty-seven percent of respondents say cloud solutions are important to their business. However, 83 percent assign similar importance to on-premise solutions. These results suggest a bright future for hybrid environments that integrate on-premise and cloud-based applications, according to the report.
In fact, 67 percent of respondents using cloud applications have already adopted some hybrid tools, and 75 percent of hybrid users say their company's IT processes end up being less complex after the migration. In addition, many respondents added that their hybrid approach makes it much easier for employees who work off-site to access company data.
Although a majority of respondents believe that a hybrid approach simplifies IT processes, 75 percent of respondents reported that institutional barriers exist, and that these barriers must be overcome in order for the integration of cloud and on-premise solutions to gain wider acceptance. Security is the top concern among respondents, with 52 percent reporting that on-premise solutions are more secure than cloud-based solutions.
"We have been using the hybrid approach for quite a while," says Tony Velleca, CIO of UST Global, a provider of IT services and solutions to Global 1000 companies. "We integrate in and out of the cloud as necessary to make our processes work, and it has been working quite well for us."
One action that UST Global took early on with its hybrid cloud was to create an intermediate database, then write custom codes to move the integrations back to the intermediate database and then propagate that to other systems. "We quickly realized that this was too complex," says Velleca, who recommends that organizations planning to adopt a hybrid cloud approach should use a formal integration broker.
"Our rapid growth and need for flexibility led us to implement SAP Cloud for Travel, while keeping our on-premise applications in place, creating a challenge for data management," says Velleca. "SAP enabled the seamless integration between our cloud and on-premise applications in order to maintain consistency of critical data, while accelerating business processes."
One of the benefits of the hybrid model for UST Global, says Velleca, was that “even though we had SharePoint in the background, we use 'social' internally, which for our organization, being a professional services organization where people are spread out, enabled us to get a lot of the data that was in different locations, such as back and forth e-mails, off of that and into social channels, where it can be used more like knowledge."