Kathy Gibson reports from the IDC CIO Summit – Hybrid cloud is a complex and challenging issue – and the prevailing myths and misinformation don’t help organisations grappling with it.

Abdul Moosa, chief technology officer of CoCre8 Technology Solutions, points out that companies find themselves in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous space. Businesses know they have to digitally transform, that they cannot continue to do what they are doing now.

“But there is such confusion around digital transformation,” Moosa says. “Some people might think you can buy it off the shelf, or flick a switch to deploy it – but it is a process or approach to achieving a business outcome using digital technology.”

Moosa points out that most companies are looking at how they can become more profitable, engage customers differently, and be more competitive.

“Where these change are underpinned by tech, we are seeing digital transformation.”

Hybrid cloud is a model that helps these organisations to change their business models without putting their existing systems at risk.

“Most traditional businesses operate using legacy technologies. But they also need to introduce technologies that will let them drive a digital business.

“However, moving to the new cloud-based models is easier said than done. So they can use hybrid cloud to help them on their digital transformation journey.”

Moosa explains that there are four steps in the digital transformation maturity model, with hybrid cloud as an important enabling technology.

The first step is modernising the platform to support hybrid cloud. During this step, businesses need to move away from fire-fighting mode where they work with just legacy applications.

“From there, we talk about the consumption of traditional public cloud services,” Moosa says. “This is when innovation starts taking place, and cloud-native apps are developed.”

This step is followed by the transformation of non-core IT services into the cloud.

Business transformation is the end goal, where organisations can harness the entire and complete power of what thy public cloud provides. Although legacy usually doesn’t fall away completely, Moosa says. “In some form it will still exist, but the ability to integrate the public cloud and legacy systems is where hybrid cloud comes in.”

Overlaying this process is security, he adds. “Cyber security needs to be top of mind and integrated natively into all public cloud or on-premise systems. And it needs to be integrated as a principal, not as an afterthought.”

Compliance is also vital across the entire framework.