However, the report also showed that as a consequence of adopting Cloud Computing, 80% of organisations reduce costs by 10-20%, with other benefits including enhanced mobile working (46%), productivity (41%), standardisation (35%), as well as new business opportunities (33%) and markets (32%).

Despite the proven benefits, business Cloud adoption in Europe is still lagging behind the US by around two years. The key thing to getting greater ROI from Cloud-based services is to check whether they are performing better or worse since migration.

To help in the process I have outlined 7 steps that I believe are crucial to tracking and improving Cloud performance.

  1.  Good analytics

Understand how your applications are performing and what the end user experience is. Ensure you can rapidly identify any sources of impairment to user experience.

  1.  Process

Do not implement additional services without first understanding the impact they may have on the existing ones.

  1.  Innovation

Don’t be afraid to experiment with technologies such as WAN Optimisation to improve performance from the cloud to the user.

  1.  Partner SLAs

Ensure your applications perform as expected by requiring your provider to guarantee minimum levels of service.

  1.  Continuous improvement

Always look for ways in which to improve the existing service by identification of impairments and new technologies.

  1.  Scaling ability of your management tools

Plan for growth, can your existing management tools support the networks of the future?

  1.  To provide a plumbing service not a spanner!

Cloud Computing is going to play a major role in reviving the European economy over the next few years by creating growth and new jobs. After several years of “hype”, Cloud Computing has now become mainstream, with factors such as new applications, user demand, virtualisation and data silos – that is, different management teams working separately – pushing demand.

A recent survey by Tata Consultancy Services shows that Latin American companies are the most aggressive adopters of cloud computing, with the average large company in Latin America putting almost two fifths (39%) of its total applications in the Cloud, followed by Asia Pacific with over a quarter (28%) and less than one fifth (19%) in the USA. In Europe, the figure is closer to one tenth (12%).

However, you need to have good processes and methodology to get it right. My advice is to engage with partners who have the experience, and don’t be afraid to innovate. And remember, the end user will be the final judge of the service! Poor user experience leads to poor take up which means that fewer businesses enjoy the productivity and cost reduction benefits that cloud computing can bring.