Authored by: David Thompson, Managing Director, Southeast Asia and Korea, Micro Focus
It is safe to say most IT environments were not designed to deal with a global pandemic of the scale that we face today. As COVID-19 disrupted the world, IT leaders abruptly found themselves tested with an unprecedented set of IT challenges that require immediate solutions for business continuity.
Today, network complexities and service requirements are growing at an erratic pace. Key sectors with critical infrastructure, such as finance and healthcare, are feeling the intense pressure to ensure continuity of service, which is intricately linked to individuals’ and businesses’ recovery. For these organisations, automation, powered by hybrid IT, has emerged as a critical driver to flatten the recovery curve.
The hybrid IT architecture’s most prized feature is its ability to enable organisations to focus on innovation in a feature-rich environment, supported by data insights and efficient virtual processes. There is little doubt why this IT approach is high on CIOs’ agenda today and poised to shape smart transformations across industries in the foreseeable future.
Building resilience through workplace transformations
At this stage of the pandemic, social distancing measures have made it challenging for enterprise technology leaders to disregard the hybrid-IT model when strategising for the next phase of business. For organisations that have historically been resistant to transformation, the risk of delayed action would lead to a lack of competitiveness in a rapidly changing environment.
To maintain productivity, organisations are focusing on providing access to key business applications to their work-from-home staff. This is easier said than done, as many of these applications have never been built to work over VPNs and varying network conditions, resulting in poor performance.
Access behaviours to corporate environments have also changed. We are witnessing a decreasing use of VPNs to connect to corporate applications – so what is the layer of security used to provide secure authentication? The answer lies in context-based access controls, adding layers of authentication when organisations encounter unusual behaviours, or when connecting to sensitive applications.
These transformations in working remotely call for the rise of digital-native workplaces, equipped with smart applications that automate backend processes and optimised digital workflows. Hybrid IT is a critical driver of this reality.
Overdependence on traditional, on-premises infrastructure, is very real today. It is often the case that those large-scale organisations are equipped to manage critical applications and processes remotely without any interruption for some duration. No one planned for more than a 90% virtual workforce. Most BCP have not been designed to deal with a pandemic of this nature and duration. Dealing with the rising volumes of online traffic driven by employees and customers have overwhelmed the network and applications severely impacting productivity.
The pandemic has demonstrated that nothing can be taken for granted. From a business continuity perspective, the adoption of hybrid IT will give organisations an edge in building agile, future-ready workplaces to weather these disruptive times.
Continuous improvement of processes through added business intelligence
Beyond network constraints, organisations are also facing the need for increased levels of agility and intelligence to keep pace with world events and changing business models.
According to IDC, Asia Pacific-based banks’ best hope in the post-COVID-19 era is a “recovery-ready risk framework” that relies heavily on banks’ ability to access and analyse multifaceted data to power predictions, decisions, and risk analytics. In healthcare, nearly every health organisation is using machine learning in some capacity to improve the way it tracks and deals with diseases, according to Deborah DiSanzo, an instructor of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in health at Harvard University.
The challenge of obtaining insights at scale is not limited to the boardroom level but is also experienced at the frontline, where employees need to be equipped to make quick and sound decisions in the field. To fully harness the power of real-time insights, organisations will need a modernised platform built on container that is cloud-native, services-centric equipped with data processing engines.
So for organisations, the choice is not to rip and replace, but a more pragmatic approach that provides a bridge, between the traditional on-premises core system, which is really the brain, with the more modern edge computing solutions, cloud platforms, and so on.
Hybrid IT underpins efforts to unify the two worlds of agile developments for front-end applications and planned major updates of core systems by supporting multiple processes simultaneously. This ensures that there is no unfortunate surprise that could lead to an outage or operational failure.
Against the ever-changing economic backdrop today, hybrid IT environment provides the stable support critical infrastructures need to keep on running while fast-tracking digital enhancements. We continue to see enterprises in sectors such as finance and healthcare upgrading their analytics and Al tool kits to meet new business and customer-satisfaction objectives. The common goal here is to achieve a high-tech, lower-risk operation that is equipped to run, evolve, and avoid downtime. With a hybrid IT model, this is an entirely possible reality.