Last month 15 of Sydney’s leading executives connecting over lunch to discuss the role a hybrid IT strategy plays in delivering transformation projects.

Featuring insight from iQ3 and Australia’s first neo-bank, Xinja, the discussion raised some interesting points on the connection between hybrid cloud strategy and the role that CIO’s play in delivering business-wide transformation through IT.

Speed is Competition

It is clear that organisations are doing more with less. Negotiating the challenge of upgrading legacy systems, all the while being challenged to compete with organisations who have started with just a blank sheet of paper.

One of these is Ninja, Australia’s first “Neo-Bank” (which isn’t yet a bank). A neo-bank is synonymous with being a purely digital bank. The team hoped to leverage a powerful app that has all the banking functions through your smartphone.

“We are giving Australian’s a choice between traditional banks and something that is new, transparent and digital,” said Dave Chapman, the newly appointed CIO of Xinja who was previously the CIO of Teachers Mutual Bank.

“It brings it together in a way that is intuitive and instant. We are designing products that help customers get ahead. As a bank, we are for purpose as well as for profit.”

Hybrid is here to stay. The overall feeling of the group is that infrastructure needs to be considered based on culture, cost and context.

The banks IT strategy is entirely in the cloud. Chapman explained that it represents the future of banking, and for those in a room, a representation of competition at speed.

Innovation Through Hybrid

Hybrid IT represents the modern IT framework for CIOs. It gives businesses the ability to utilise the strengths of a variety of public and private cloud networks, as well as taking advantage of the assets which sit within your organisation.

It represents a way for the enterprise to respond to “Neo-Organisations”. However, it has to be utilised well.

“With a hybrid cloud, you need to think about what is the right place for this data to live and what is the economy for it. There is still ambiguity around that and many misconceptions,” said iQ3’s Managing Director Craig Humphreys.

“We are seeing a rise of the hybrid model through our customers and what that is doing is giving organisations the ability to do thing differently.”

The benefits of hybrid cloud were put forward by many in attendance, however, with that came the cultural challenges that come with it from an organisational perspective. The systems in place are not just technology frameworks, but employee and function frameworks.

With this comes a brand new set of challenges, which must be addressed from the top at the executive level.

Not Everything is a Cloud

“There are certain workloads and applications that you just can’t switch off.”

Accepting that not all workloads are made for the cloud was a critical point taken by one of the attendees. Although organisations are spending time keeping up with the Xinja’s or their industries, some things are just that mission-critical that organisations need to maintain them.

“There is also the skills lag in getting experience in new workloads, some of the larger organisations are one or two cycles behind taking workloads to the cloud because of the skill level of their current employees,” Humphreys noted.

Another driver where cloud isn’t making sense is that there are many edge cases where public cloud doesn’t make commercial or technical sense.

“We have seen that in regional areas, in larger storage environments and so on. Many people are evaluating this hybrid cloud to get the best of both worlds regarding cost as well.”

Being real about your hybrid environment represents a competitive advantage in some cases. If the business sees on-premise as being the most viable for your business at that time, cloud transformation is not required, and effort can be placed in other areas of the company.

Conclusion

Hybrid is here to stay. The overall feeling of the group is that infrastructure needs to be considered based on culture, cost and context.

Xinja represented a change in industry and approach to customer engagement. The connection between these missions and IT infrastructure is becoming more and more transparent.

As such, all CIOs have a role to play in ensuring they can transform their businesses into competitive machines. This transformation begins with hybrid.

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