Consumer-facing industries like banking and retail would love to understand their customers better so they can predict buying patterns and deliver personalized product offerings. In infrastructure-based industries such as manufacturing or energy, companies crave intelligent systems that can anticipate outages or equipment failures so those occurrences can be prevented. And service industries such as healthcare and insurance want to use analytics to predict and reduce the length of hospital stays or identify which drivers are likely to get into an accident.

The data required to make all of this happen has already been collected. The machine-learning algorithms that can extract business insight from that data have already been written. So, what’s the holdup?

At many companies, data is locked away in silos. By some analyst estimates, we may be capturing only 20 percent to 30 percent of the value of our manufacturing data and only 10 percent to 20 percent of the value of our healthcare and public sector data.

And it’s not as if the rate of new data hitting those systems is slowing down. In fact, with the emergence of the internet of things (IoT), the amount of data coming from sensors and other smart devices is increasing rapidly.

The only way to capture the full value of this data is to take advantage of the scalability of the cloud. The cloud is the fastest and least expensive way to integrate data. It brings sophisticated algorithms, fast computing platforms and massive storage capacity within reach.

A hybrid cloud approach

But even if a company has a cloud-first strategy, specific workloads might not be appropriate for the public cloud due to regulatory restrictions, architecture constraints, or software licensing and data sovereignty requirements.

The answer is a hybrid cloud strategy that combines the public cloud, wherever possible, with the private cloud where necessary. In this best-of-both-worlds approach, a hybrid cloud automatically manages and monitors the execution of workloads across environments, according to the specific needs of the workload.

A critical component of hybrid cloud is moving from a traditional data center and IT delivery model to a private cloud. In the private cloud scenario, the on-premises infrastructure shifts to converged and hyperconverged platforms and software-defined infrastructure services; provisioning shifts from manual to automatic;  and workload management shifts from static to dynamic and elastic.

Adopting hybrid cloud is hard and requires investment, but companies must embrace a hybrid cloud strategy or be left behind. According to IDC FutureScape’s Worldwide Cloud 2017 Predictions, more than 85 percent of enterprise IT organizations will commit to multi-cloud architectures this year, so the time to start the transformation to hybrid cloud is now.

For more on how to create a business-relevant infrastructure that meets the demands of your stakeholders, users and developers, read DXC’s paper, “Enabling the Enterprise Through Hybrid Cloud.”