By Vicky Glynn, Product Manager, Brightsolid

It is an exciting time for cloud technology as it matures to become a driver of strategic business decisions. The IT industry is evolving rapidly, with cloud computing leading transformational change in organisations. IT executives no longer see cloud solutions as isolated IT projects but as part of holistic approach that must sit in line with the organisation’s strategy for the year ahead.

According to industry research, by 2019, around 80% of IT budgets will be dedicated to cloud technology. A lot of what will motivate that journey will be a strategic business decision or a significant event, such as office relocation, budget cuts, procurement decisions, the implementation of new applications built for cloud, or the demand to store ever increasing amounts of business data.

In the early days, fear of missing out and buzz words such as ‘cloud first’ and ‘cloud only’ were driving strategies for change without a firm underpinning of why and how the technology should be used, leading to buyers’ remorse and a quick exit from the technology. Establishing an enterprise cloud strategy can also be a challenge for many CIOs who are unsure how to begin the planning stage, what lines of business to include, how to produce a strategy document that details the initiative, and which partners to engage to help establish a cloud infrastructure.

But the fact that these practical concerns are now at the forefront of decision-making, shows a maturity in thinking about the cloud. Thus, entering the second wave of cloud adoption by the more conservative and regulated industries.

For the oil and gas market, there are a few environmental factors that indicate we are on the cusp of realising tangible benefits from the cloud, including revolutionary AI, mesh and digital technological trends made possible by the cloud, as well as the skill and experience set of the oil and gas sector, which enables change and resilience in the face of challenge.

What does hybrid cloud mean for the oil and gas sector?

Hybrid cloud is a mix of on-premise, specialised and public cloud services with a management or orchestration layer – a grown-up approach to cloud management.

Hybrid cloud can help second wave customers learn from the growing pains of others, by encompassing holistic thinking on how cloud fits into current IT infrastructure, including colocated environments and legacy kit, as well as licensing and support agreements. Ultimately, it involves examining how cloud fits into the existing network.

A hybrid cloud strategy highlights how cloud can enable your business, and that means it needs to be intrinsically linked with your business strategy. It should incorporate thoughts about interconnected-ness and not ignore challenges around organisational continuity, disaster recovery, and data growth and storage.

The oil and gas industry already has the skills, expertise and strategies to deal with the typical blockers of cloud, including regulation and security compliance, the ability to take a project/outcome approach to implementing hybrid, and its ability to work with multiple vendors on complex projects.

Ultimately, hybrid cloud marks a sea change in the industry because it allows revolutionary technology to be delivered in a pragmatic way, in an industry that already has the skills and experience to deliver it.