Hybrid IT: Barriers and Challenges

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by William Dupley 

Last month I talked about what I wished I asked my Cloud Provider before I bought them. This month I will continue to discuss the barriers and challenges to implementing a Hybrid IT Operating Model.

A good military planner spends a great deal of time understanding the obstacles or barriers to achieving a battle’s objectives. The Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War is a great example of brilliant military planning. Five months was spent understanding the obstacles of the battlefield and the development of specific tactics to overcome each barrier. For example, a special weapon was developed to enable the destruction of barbed wire. A special offensive technique called creeping barrage was developed to coordinate artillery and infantry into one integrated task force. Extensive training and practice was also exercised by troops in a full simulation of the battle before it was actually undertaken.

Implementing a hybrid IT operating model requires the same level of commitment to uncovering obstacles and barriers and developing new strategies to overcome them, or it will not be successful. The Open Data Center Alliance has recently completed a new document called “Barriers and Challenges to implementing Hybrid IT.” In this document, we have described many categories of barriers that have proven to become substantial obstacles to companies implementing a hybrid IT model. Below is a summary of the barriers that we discussed in this new whitepaper.



Barrier Examples

Here are a few examples of common barriers that companies have experienced when implementing a hybrid IT operating model.


Traditional IT control of IT services

The IT department feels they should remain in control of all IT and partnerships, and they are not willing to share that responsibility with the business.

Resistance to Change

Teams are not keen to change what they know works, and what they are comfortable with.


Loyalty to old partnerships

Current partners may have previously added value, but may not have capability in the cloud space, and are holding the organization back.


It’s an IT Problem

Executives see cloud as purely in the domain of IT, and want to leave responsibility all centralized to IT. An ancillary challenge is that the business may see IT as getting in the way and would prefer to go ahead without IT’s involvement, getting into engagements which are difficult to integrate, support or exit.


Business wants control but not responsibility

Business units want to be able to order and configure services themselves, but not to take accountability for their effectiveness, efficiency, compliance and other aspects (functional & non-functional requirements).

Each of these barriers requires strategic work to overcome. An effective IT transformational plan must include barrier transformation initiative projects as part of IT strategic planning activities. Let’s look at an example of how to overcome just one of the barriers I’ve mentioned above.


Problem: Business wants control but not responsibility


  • Pre-define (prior to solution research) and communicate rules, expectations and associated accountability. Communicate business application classifications and associated rules.
  • Create pre-defined Hybrid IT compliant services for business to use, with pre-defined partners.
  • Define cloud standards/blueprints/blueprints for business up front.
  • Develop an Enterprise internal Catalogue of services for business to use of externally provided services.
  • Develop an API Catalog of common IT services and data sets that will support citizen integration.
  • IT & business proactively partner in determining functional & non-functional needs, and compliance requirements.


The Hybrid IT model must support the “democratization of IT.” A democratized IT model means that anybody can create IT solutions, not just IT. To accomplish this, IT must redesign the current IT operating model to support a democratized IT operating model



Hybrid IT can deliver many advantages to an enterprise.  However, to be successful there are a number of changes that the enterprise needs to implement to fully exploit the benefits.  These changes will help to reduce barriers to Hybrid IT adoption. These changes often have to be addressed through a formal Hybrid IT Roadmap that has the Business and IT Executive’s support.

For more information on this topic, I encourage you download and read The Open Data Center Alliance’s Hybrid IT: Barriers & Challenges.

About the Author

Bill Dupley is a Digital Strategist at FoxNet. He has led IT transformation and strategic planning teams for over 50 companies and governments worldwide and bring extensive experience in IT & Business Strategic Planning, IT process design, and enterprise architecture. Bill has held several positions over his career including the Cloud Chief Technologist for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Canada and Director of Strategy and Business Development for HPE Canada Consulting.

He is a graduate of Ryerson University, a former member of the HPE IT Global SWAT Team, and a member of the Open Data Center Alliance Cloud Maturity Model authorship team. He is dedicated to helping customers equip themselves rapidly for our ever-changing technological world.