Factoring managed and hybrid IT in digital transformation

Benny Lee, Regional Director, Greater China, CenturyLinkIn 2016, almost every company has evolved into a tech company. With the rise of cloud, SaaS, and the internet of things (IoT), leaders everywhere recognize that keeping up to date with technology is imperative. Several of these macro trends will continue to be top of mind in 2017 -- digital transformation, hybrid IT and security but they are not to be considered in isolation. Hong Kong businesses are moving towards digital transformation and they will require a trusted technology partner to support them, which makes it an exciting market to be in.

Managed solutions influence the uptake of hybrid IT models and both factors impact the enterprises digital transformation journey. The following are key tech predictions we'll see in Hong Kong for the year ahead:

1. Digital transformation
Enterprises are moving from the awareness stage to the adoption stage when it comes to digital transformation. They are embarking on their IT transformation journey and starting to adopt and adapt to digital disruption.  According to CenturyLink's Asia Pacific Hybrid IT Readiness Report 2016 (the 2016 Report), 63% of respondents see the strategic role of IT as achieving growth momentum, 45% see it having a strategic role for digitally transforming the organization. Organizations are looking for a managed service provider with the right credentials and who provides secure services that meet KPIs when it comes to pricing, performance, availability and service delivery.

2. Hybrid IT
This model is fast becoming the IT infrastructure of choice across organizations in Hong Kong as they move steadily towards using a blend of in-house and third-party hybrid IT services for data center, security, and application services. It is the pervasive IT infrastructure model for organizations in Asia Pacific, too.

Hybrid IT provides IT services for organizations while enabling risk mitigation (appealing to security conscious executives), and requires strategic alignment between internal and external IT professionals to support business objectives.

Organizations increasingly want customization of services to meet their varying needs. For instance, if an organization needed hosted infrastructure, or data centers, they want one provider who is able to offer that. Hybrid IT also provides the much-needed scalability, flexibility and agility. The ability to scale services over time as required means the organization only pays for what is needed. In fact, IT leaders in Hong Kong consider scalability and flexibility to be the most appealing benefits of this model.

Hybrid IT will continue to grow as businesses outsource services and connect them with existing infrastructure. It will continue to drive agility, modernize the IT environment, and maintain competitiveness without over commitment to capex costs. An example of a managed solution that is driving demand for hybrid IT is managed-VDI solutions. Organizations have far greater flexibility, higher-security and increased ability to meet compliance requirements through managed-VDI solutions.

3. Private cloud
Cloud is no longer a discussion of the future. Everyone has either already moved to the cloud, or are thinking of it -- and not just the public cloud, but private, too.

The demand for private cloud in Hong Kong has grown tremendously over 2016. Reason being, organizations here are fast maturing in their capabilities to leverage predictive analytics, and big data projects that are based in the cloud or that leverage managed services allow companies to accelerate time-to-insight by acquiring and scaling big data infrastructure that previously had to be built from scratch.

The year 2017 will see large scale migration to cloud-based platforms, particularly as managed service providers can help reduce the challenges in the cloud for businesses.

In Hong Kong, we are also seeing an increasingly common "Cloud First" strategy to new deployments. For organizations not prepared for a complete cloud solution, they can combine legacy systems not yet ready for updating with cloud-based systems.