An increasing number of CIOs are considering a hybrid approach to their IT infrastructures, especially as they become more comfortable with cloud deployments. Among large enterprises, for example, Gartner found that nearly 75% plan to implement a mixed, hybrid-based solution by the end of this year.
Hybrid environments are enticing because they enable companies to have the best of both worlds: the flexibility and functionality of the cloud, while maintaining the hardware of their current onsite investment. Yet, many IT managers worry that pairing these two environments will make it more difficult to manage an IT infrastructure that combines and connects an onsite system with cloud-based functions.
Below are five ways CIOs can reduce complexity and still reap the advantages of a hybrid communications cloud solution:
1. Develop a Holistic Strategy. With perhaps dozens of systems and hundreds of requirements across an organization, it may seem more manageable to address each system individually. But when CIOs put each into the context of their broader IT vision, it enables them to make more strategic decisions about deployment. Seek solutions that simplify communications deployment and management by integrating applications and data onsite and in the cloud, resulting in reduced complexity and cost and increased efficiency.
2. Require Cohesive Management. Of course, complexity increases with the number of cloud deployments and onsite locations that are often served by a multitude of UC and IP telephony platforms. But it becomes really significant when IT managers must log into disparate communications systems in order to troubleshoot problems. When evaluating services, look for a solution that can provide a comprehensive view of the whole system. For example, a common, integrated and service-centric communications solution like ShoreTel Connect gives IT managers a single-screen view of system administration across cloud and onsite communications, or any hybrid mix of the two deployments. This greatly simplifies IT management and enables faster troubleshooting should problems arise.
3. Lean on Vendor Expertise. In large companies, IT teams have a diversity of experts. But CIOs in smaller businesses don’t always have the same luxury. They need to operate with greater efficiency, without necessarily having in-house help. By prioritizing internal expertise and mapping it to company initiatives, CIOs can determine which applications are best maintained in-house and which should be managed in the cloud by a services provider. For example, efficiency is created when a company can rely on ShoreTel expertise to manage the phone system in the cloud, thus freeing up the IT team to focus on other corporate priorities that require local control, such as overseeing private data security.
4. Automate Routine IT Tasks. It’s not unusual for IT teams to manage routine tasks manually, but doing so should be the exception. With a hybrid communications solution, the CIO can take advantage of the cloud services provider’s ability to automate processes and provide the latest innovative updates quickly and easily, thus reducing the burden on internal resources.
5. Build in Greater Flexibility. A strategic deployment of cloud assets can also create efficiencies when developing new initiatives. By providing flexible access to cloud applications as they are needed in hybrid communications, IT can enable teams to become more agile, streamlining the development process and enabling faster time to market and revenue.
As CIOs look to deploy hybrid communications solutions, complexity doesn’t have to be an obstacle. The key to success is maintaining a strong vision for an end-to-end cloud and onsite communications deployment strategy that is integrated and seamless.