We live in a world driven by change and innovation.
This was the point that framed Microsoft’s James Akrigg as he spoke to a packed crowd at IP Expo this month.
But for IT professionals the real question is this: in light of such rapid evolution, how do you modernise the way you work to be as relevant and competitive as possible?
The answer, he said, is Hybrid.
Here’s what he had to say…
It’s easier than ever to engage with your customers, Akrigg said. If they don’t like a feature of a certain product they can provide pretty timely feedback that you can act upon accordingly.
This means the time between customer requests and action is dramatically reduced.
But in order to see that benefit you need to empower every employee in the business with the information and tools to make it happen. This is the key to connecting your company with customers, Akrigg said.
“This can’t be theoretical,” he added. “It has to be something we actually live every day as a business.”
Break down walls
Not literally, of course. But IT infrastructure has fundamentally changed, Akrigg said. The boundaries are expanding and so are the ways in which the IT function operates.
He anecdotally asked the crowd for a show of hands – “Anyone who’s done a weekend shift to make updates so business people could access their systems on Monday morning, how many of you were ever thanked for that?”
Zero hands went up and a ripple of laughter spread through the crowd.
But times have changed, Akrigg argued. In the world of Hybrid, IT must now take a much more proactive role in business-critical processes, engaging with colleagues on the things that really matter.
And then the days of thankless overtime will be over because everyone is working towards the same goals in an integrated way.
Get it right on authentication
The key to overcoming Hybrid IT security issues in future lies in getting authentication right and knowing who is accessing what, Akrigg argued.
Identifying the people using apps, yes, but also the devices and locations from which they’re accessing them.
“People ask me ‘how secure is your cloud?’” he said. “I could open up some philosophical debate around it, but in the end it doesn’t matter how many millions we spend on securing our private data centres – they’re only as secure as your weakest device.”
And on the subject of poor-quality passwords, Akrigg had some more strong words to say…
“You might as well leave the doors open.”
Fine-tune the balance between old and new
On this blog we’ve often talked about getting the balance right when it comes to traditional and cloud IT. But many organisations have yet to manage it.
As seemed to be the theme across some of the other Hybrid talks at IP Expo, however, Akrigg argued that the more business-critical apps you can migrate to the cloud the greater business benefit you’ll see.
He talked about the exciting times we’re living in – how the amount of time between having a great idea and actually creating it used to be measured in months, but is now dramatically shorter thanks to Hybrid IT.
Talking about balancing between old and new, Akrigg argued it’s no longer about specific workflows sitting on either on-premise or cloud, but rather how we augment the traditional tools we’re used to with new cloud technologies.
He discussed the example of sending a document to somebody but it sends a signal to a cloud-based app that creates a unique experience for the person who opens it.
In a world of growing information-abundance, he argued, this kind of personalisation is going to become increasingly important.
Check out our latest research for lots more insight on the future of Hybrid IT.