Gartner expects five years for hybrid cloud to reach productivity: Are they right?

Gartner has released its latest hype cycle for emerging technologies, and while the likes of autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things sits atop the peak of inflated expectations, hybrid cloud computing is a bit further down the line heading straight for the trough of disillusionment.

The analyst house groups a bunch of technologies in three different stages and heavily influenced by its nexus of forces – mobile, social, cloud and information. Hybrid cloud comes under the digital marketing banner, whereby enterprises focus on new ways to reach consumers. Other technologies in this bucket include IoT, machine learning and gesture control.

For the ‘post-nexus’ stages, Gartner describes the first as digital business, whereby physical assets will be digitalised and will become equal actors in the value chain. Wearables, virtual and augmented reality and quantum computing form part of this sector. The second, autonomous, defines an enterprise’s ability to leverage technologies that, in essence, replace human capabilities.

Betsy Burton, Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst, said: “We encourage CIOs and other IT leaders to dedicate time and energy focused on innovation, rather than just incremental business advancement, while also gaining inspiration by scanning beyond the bounds of their industry.

“As enterprises continue the journey to becoming digital businesses, identifying and employing the right technologies at the right time will be critical,” she added.

According to Andy Soanes, chief technology officer of Bell Integration, Gartner is right to be putting hybrid cloud five years away from the vaunted plateau of productivity, citing the recent move from Netflix to shut down its last on-prem data centre to go all in on public cloud.

“Finding the sweet spot, where the business is gaining the maximum benefit from a perfect balance of on-premise IT, private cloud and public cloud services, can be extremely difficult,” he said. “A business must be able to identify its ‘crown jewels’: those applications where failure, or losing control of data, would have catastrophic consequences.”

He added: “On the other hand, IT should be wary of excessive caution, keeping applications in-house when it no longer benefits the business to do so. Losing control of an application, or putting the organisation at risk or failing compliance, is an understandable worry.”

For James Butler, chief technology officer of Trustmarque, hybrid cloud should be on the CIO’s mindset as soon as possible. “Taking an incremental approach to hybrid cloud gives CIOs a platform to lead real business change from the centre, and avoid being bypassed or replaced,” he wrote in this publication back in June. “By driving the strategy and promoting the positive benefits of cloud, CIOs will reduce risks and maximise investments; rather than simply ignoring cloud and falling behind.”

Soanes stresses the importance of organisations needing to get their house in order. “An IT department that knows the services it has, the services it needs, and the changes it has to make to get there, will be able to identify its perfect cloud sweet spot, where the crown jewels are kept in the business, but the IT department’s energy is not spent performing housekeeping for low-risk, low-value applications,” he said. “This will be where IT services are providing the maximum value to the business, regardless of where they actually reside.”

Read the full Gartner hype cycle here.