It’s been a long time in the making, but 2016 appears to be the year companies will truly embrace the cloud. Investments in cloud computing will leap 21 percent next year, according to Goldman Sachs, and growth will average 30 percent a year through 2018, six times the pace of overall IT spending. Whether you’re ready to embrace the trend or not, that’s the reality.
But some CIOs are still hesitant about the adopting the cloud. You may have concerns about security or about conceding control, or you may be skeptical about the tangible benefits, such as reduced IT costs, lower capital investments and the ability to adapt rapidly to end-user demands driven by the pace of business developments.
So you’re maintaining your wait-and-see approach. That may be a huge mistake. Because the fact is, your enterprise is probably already using the cloud, without your knowledge. And that can lead to all sorts of problems.
Doing Cloud on a Whim
Across industries, across functions, business depends on technology. And no matter how much technology business consumes, it always wants more. So when your IT department doesn’t keep pace with end-user demands, end users start looking to other sources for the functionality they need.
As a result, your lines of business are turning to the cloud. All they need, really, is an Internet connection and a credit card. Trouble is, they’re taking this step without your involvement.
How does this happen? Let’s say a line of business is developing an application and wants to spin up some disk to test it. But they’ve already maxed out their available virtual storage, and you can’t respond quickly enough to meet their needs. Well, a cloud provider can get them the capacity they need overnight.
So the line of business gets the service it needs in the short term. But your organization faces negative outcomes in the long term: the risk of data exposure or regulatory non-compliance. A disjointed infrastructure without oversight by the people most qualified to manage it. A higher total cost of ownership. And an IT environment that doesn’t optimally support business goals.
On Course to the Cloud
What’s the solution? Increase relevance of IT to your business users by embracing the cloud in your organization where it makes sense, and begin to realize the cloud’s true advantages. Consider taking these steps now:
- Ask questions. Find out where cloud services are already being used across your enterprise. You may be surprised by what you discover. You can’t start optimizing consumption of the cloud if you don’t know where it’s taking place. There are tools available to do this.
- Engage the business. Communicate with your lines of business on an ongoing basis to understand the IT services they need today and the business needs they’ll have tomorrow. Your IT department can become a factor in business decisions only if you know the technology end users need to consume. And you can help your lines of business consume technology more effectively if you only if understand their business needs and outcomes desired by helping them translate those needs into the most appropriate IT solutions.
- Consult a trusted advisor. The cloud is intended to help you respond quickly to business needs. But the process of identifying the right combination of cloud solutions to meet those needs should be managed thoughtfully. So you need a trusted advisor that can guide you with best practices and broad experience. And it should be a technology-neutral advisor that isn’t trying to sell you a particular hardware, software or cloud product, but that can point you to whatever solution is right for your situation.
Your lines of business may have pushed your organization into the cloud before you were even aware of it. Now you have the opportunity to optimize your cloud consumption so your business can truly benefit.
How is your business harnessing the power of cloud computing? Has the dive into the cloud been a smooth one? Please share your experiences here.