If there was any lingering doubt, it appears the cloud is truly here. Many organizations around the world have adopted or are taking steps to adopt cloud computing, with Gartner predicting that nearly half of all large companies will be using hybrid cloud within the next three years.
With benefits such as efficiency, cost-effectiveness and scalability well advertised, this rise in uptake is hardly surprising. As with any other major organization-wide implementation projects, however, adopting the cloud is no walk in the park - and enterprises need to take steps to enjoy a smooth and seamless migration.
According to the 2013 TheInfoPro Cloud Computing Study from 451 Research, 83 percent of organizations in North America and Europe said they faced"significant roadblocks to deploying their cloud computing initiatives" - a nine percent increase from the previous year's survey. It is interesting to note from the findings that while IT roadblocks have actually decreased, non-IT challenges, such as "people, processes, politics and other organizational issues", are on the rise - indicating that collaboration across the entire enterprise is required.
While the path to cloud adoption can be challenging for some, there are a few guidelines the CIO can keep in mind to ensure as smooth a process as possible.
Know what you want from the cloud
It would certainly not be logical for enterprises to move to the cloud simply because everyone else is doing it.
Every organization is different and while the cloud can certainly provide significant benefits, it's important to know what your organization's key business needs are and where the cloud fits into the picture. Have a clear idea of in which areas the cloud can help your business, and where its limitations are. Involve all key stakeholders in the decision making process to manage expectations and keep everyone on the same page.
Choose the right cloud platform
Hybrid, public or private cloud - with so many options, just how do you know which cloud model to choose?
This should be one of the questions you answer in the initial stages as you finalize your cloud strategy. Each type offers its own unique advantages and depending on your organization, its size and the nature of its operations, there may be a particular model that best suits.
For example, is your company experiencing rapid growth and scalability is thus an issue? Are you looking for convenience and ease of use or are you more concerned about having control and governance? Be sure to know what you're looking for before moving to the cloud.
The four things you can do to ensure a smooth transition: Know what you want from the cloud, choose the right cloud platform, give security serious consideration and finally, have the right people on board.
Give security serious consideration
The rising digitization of businesses is making security an increasingly high priority, and this is therefore a factor to take into account when adopting the cloud. The reality is that while the cloud is becoming more robust, data breaches can occur. However, having the right measures in place can reduce the risks.
Cloud providers recognize this and are beefing up their offerings to lower the likelihood of customers being affected, but there does need to be some effort on the part of your organization as well. Your overarching IT security policy should take the cloud into account, and get the IT team on board to weigh in and rectify the likely risks your enterprise may face when moving to the cloud.
Have the right people on board
It can be tempting to believe that your organization has the necessary in-house talent to facilitate cloud adoption. However, it is a complex undertaking in which you simply can't rely on generalist IT staff to navigate the procedure. The rise of cloud computing means there are now people who are formally certified and qualified to tackle the technology, so make sure you have access to these professionals - whether in your staff or external specialists.
According to the 2014/2015 Market Insights & Salary Guide from IT recruitment firm Greythorn in Australia, both IT job seekers and hiring managers rank cloud computing as the number one skill needed in the sector today. This perception has not changed from the previous year's survey.
With the right people on your team, you can plan a move to the cloud is as stress-free as possible.