Competition in the 21st Century economy is fierce. Consumers are more tech-savvy than ever, as we all carry around more computing power in our pockets than Neil Armstrong took to the moon\u2014and potential customers pay attention to differentiated experiences. Increasingly for all businesses, investing in agile software development is a way to achieve that differentiation.\nIn other words, in the 21st Century, every business is a software business.\nAll that software that\u2019s enabling this transformation toward digital experiences has to run somewhere, and it turns out a hybrid cloud strategy gives businesses maximum choice when it comes to what runs where.\nAgile software development: Getting more at-bats\nWhy are businesses turning to agile software development to get the attention of potential customers? Fundamentally, because it\u2019s soft. Meaning, it can be changed quickly and inexpensively compared to the lead time necessary for some physical devices.\nA big reason behind how Netflix disrupted the cable TV industry, for example, is that they do multiple software releases a day, and each one is a potential innovation that can positively influence the number of subscribers their service has. Older, traditional IT approaches of performing quarterly releases cannot offer that, and the idea that software should fail quickly so lessons can be learned has won out.\nSoftware that\u2019s deployed at that speed, however, requires flexible infrastructure that can change as the code evolves. This is what has led the march to cloud computing both on the public and private side. In the early 1990s, it would take months to get a new physical machine to host a deployment, but today it takes minutes to get a new virtual machine (VM) or seconds to get a new container. Faster access to computing power like this spirals with the speed that new software is created, giving a business more chances\u2014more at-bats\u2014at finding the next innovation.\nSome public, some private\nWhen you look closer at where exactly you might place an individual application, there\u2019s more nuance involved. Some applications are obvious choices for hosting on public clouds, like those that already have publicly viewable data on them (think public-facing marketing websites) or those that will have wide swings in demand that can take advantage of the public cloud pay-as-you-go model.\nOther applications, though, are going to be better fits for a private cloud, including those that have sensitive data that requires physical firewall protection or that have steady demand. Private cloud platforms can spin up VMs or containers just as quickly as their public counterparts, supporting agile software development teams and their continuous integration\/continuous delivery needs, just with a fixed underlying capital hardware cost attached.\nFor any company of substantial size, the application portfolio will be diverse enough that some applications will run best on a public cloud while others are better suited for a private cloud. By taking a hybrid cloud approach\u2014more than likely utilizing a Cloud Management Platform that makes it easy to manage applications in multiple locations from a single management plane\u2014companies can maximize their deployment flexibility for individual applications within the portfolio.\nEven the public workloads change over time\nSome applications will be best targeted to one type of cloud early in its development life cycle, only to have that shift to another host later. It\u2019s not unusual for a new consumer application to have wildly varying demand when it\u2019s first released, but over time to have its usage settle. Early in its life, applications such as this are great fits for public cloud so that its elasticity can meet demand. But later in its life once, the demand has settled, it can be better from a cost perspective to have the same application on a public cloud.\nAside from the ability of some central governing authority to be able to manage a portfolio of applications with different needs and therefore different public or private cloud targeting, some applications will have those targets change over time. This portability of workloads makes a digital strategy more cost-effective over time and yet another reason why hybrid cloud is so important as this revolution continues.\nIn order to survive, businesses in all verticals are going through a digital transformation so they can create innovative solutions that grab and keep the attention of their customers. A hybrid cloud strategy makes that all possible so that software developers can iterate as quickly as possible in search of the next big idea, but operations can control costs and data flexibly. Application portability as it proceeds in its natural life cycle is important as well in this new economy that rewards those who can move quickly.