download (70)Cloud strategy remains a major challenge for many businesses. Despite cloud computing gaining widespread acceptance, with businesses adopting it for key applications, there is still an obvious lack of strategy around coherent implementation and long-term planning.

While a majority of businesses look at the cloud as a means to reduce their IT costs, a significant proportion could find it a challenge to meet that objective. By contrast, those who had taken a broader approach to cloud services, to improve business flexibility, for example, found it much less of a challenge.

One major reason for the lack of coherence around strategy for cloud computing could be down to businesses using multiple cloud providers for different purposes across a number of departments.

Functions such as marketing, business development and sales have taken matters into their own hands and bypassed the traditional processes and IT departments to procure cloud services specific to their needs. The broad availability of customised and niche cloud services has had a powerful effect on procurement behaviour.

So what can be done?

IT cannot afford to stand on the sidelines. For success in the cloud, businesses need to acknowledge the risks it poses and to impose a defined strategy around its deployment and adoption.

One way to bridge that divide is to develop (or source) greater expertise in defining and implementing a cloud strategy. Diligent selection of partners and service providers is an important component in ensuring the successful implementation of a cloud project or strategy. If businesses would rather outsource this expertise, managed service providers can help businesses to identify the right balance and blend of services that meet their objectives and pull them together into a custom strategy completely aligned with workload and application requirements from any department. They can also help to streamline business objectives and outcomes.

So what key areas should businesses focus on to implement a consistent and coherent cloud strategy?

Set expectations

To make the most of a cloud implementation it needs to be part of a strategy that fits in with and supports the overall business. IT decision makers need to work closely with their service provider to discuss the outcomes they want to achieve and work towards realising them.

It’s not an either/or calculation

Service providers need to think about how their cloud platforms can integrate with public, private and on-premise environments. The objective is to make the most of the strengths and merits of both to host different workloads most effectively.

Countering Shadow IT

Should IT lead or support digital business innovation? An appropriate departmental restructure and/or IT governance model needs to be implemented and enforced in an effort to eradicate shadow IT, or at least address those aspects that compromise security and the (cost) effectiveness of the hosting of workloads across the business.

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