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March 25, 2014

How hybrid IT is enabling business agility

Darron Antill, CEO at Intrinsic spoke to CBR about aligning IT services to help businesses become more agile.

By Claire Vanner

It is the IT possibilities for businesses continue to grow, so do the issues of how to manage those services.

Today, most companies will have both on and off premise technology, with cloud and managed services really opening up more opportunities for business agility.

Managed services provider Intrinsic are looking to the next generation integrated services, using hybrid IT to become ‘enablers of business agility.’

But this isn’t as simple as it sounds. Darron Antill, CEO at Intrinsic says that lots of customers and CIOs are coming to Intrinsic how to become more agile, but there is no one simple solution.

"I think you need to understand what the business drivers are. Is it the business demanding agility, or is it the IT department trying to gain a competitive edge?" says Antill.

Looking to the low end of the mid market, many businesses were early cloud adopters because they did not have significant IT teams or the IT legacy, as opposed to larger enterprises in sectors such as finance which have significantly stricter data rules. So transforming an IT strategy is dependent on the organisation’s current IT posture.

"There is no readymade solution and that’s very much our strategy to how we do it. We’re positioned to be the next generation of managed service provider and how we do that is we help people to deploy and manage a hybrid IT department which will evolve over time," says Antill.

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A hybrid IT service essentially means incorporating on-premise services with both private and public cloud services, whether they are self-hosted or third party-hosted. But with legacy IT systems in place, it’s not a rip and replace situation.

He says: "If you go back five years ago, everyone was talking about moving to the cloud. And now there’s a realisation that certain things can move to the cloud: disruptive technologies and new technologies that are coming to the market are more often than not cloud based. I think people want to adopt them. But the reality is people want to build on what they’ve already got, so there will be this hybrid situation in terms of hybrid IT."

Antill says that the shift in moving to cloud is driven by this desire for business agility, which in turn is driven by this new need and ability to not be chained to their office desk.

"More and more people are looking to adopt cloud based services and now it’s all about agility. People want to make sure they’re giving the right level of service and security to their road warriors, sales force and people who are working from home. Our job is to help people implement those types of solutions, and advise them form a hybrid perspective," he says.

Indeed, this out of office working presents the issue of having the right devices to work on. "People want to engage BYOD but they’ve got far more stringent controls about how they enable these things," says Antill.

"We see a lot of virtualised environments where people can virtualise their working environment to a single device, whether that’s a PC, laptop or a tablet, or even multiple devices. But it’s centrally managed which means you can provide a good user experience but also keep your overheads in line.

"At Intrinsic we’re implementing a BYOD scheme and that’s about engaging the workforce and making us agile. We practice what we preach. It’s the future. If you don’t do it you’re in the past," says Antill.

If workers are operating from their own devices, then it is essential that the correct cloud infrastructure is in place to connect to. That has latterly lead to a trend of hybrid cloud environments within hybrid IT as businesses draw services from both public and private cloud.

"Large organisations typically have their own private clouds. But more and more small organisations are looking to adopt public cloud-based solutions. The hybrid cloud is that combination of both within the cloud services environment.

"The key there is how they link together, because companies are going to use different clouds from multiple tenants from multiple sources for different applications or platforms and it’s really how they aggregate together," says Antill.

"Once they have [implemented a hybrid IT scheme], people look to effectively manage, operate or de-risk some of those solutions. They need to do it in a cost-effective way and secure way and often they’re looking for experts that can offer managed services to do that. So the nirvana for us as a strong managed services business today, is to manage people’s environments whether they are on premise or off premise and almost provide that as a single pane of glass service to those customers."

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