Cloud computing is finally going mainstream, with 80 per cent of EMEA organisations planning to migrate mission critical applications to the cloud within the next two to five years. Despite this growing confidence in cloud-based services, organisations still have a maze of platforms, providers, policies and pricing structures to navigate as part of the migration process.

The cloud market is constantly evolving, which adds both cost and complexity to the decision-making process. As adoption gains momentum, organisations need to be able to navigate the different providers, propositions and pricing structures to find the solution that best meets their current and future needs.

Beware the cloud mavericks

With the cloud noise getting louder by the day, due diligence can become mired in acronyms, analyst predictions and advertising hype. As a result, decisions get delayed; as does the realisation of associated business benefits. Although IT departments need to be thorough when assessing cloud adoption, they also need to ensure they don’t hinder growth, competitive advantage or profitability by taking too long to develop and execute their strategy.

A delay in sanctioned cloud adoption could spur impatient users to take matters into their own hands. According to a survey by Virgin Media, nearly two-thirds of British workers want to see their day-to-day software transferred to the cloud.

The self-service nature of cloud computing means business departments or individual stakeholders could sign up with a public service without involving the IT department. A decentralised and ungoverned approach to cloud adoption will not only increase business risk but also prevent an organisation from taking advantage of different models, such as hybrid and private implementations, resulting in a diluted outcome in terms of cost-savings, efficiency and agility.

Are you ready to take the leap?

As well as understanding current and emerging market offerings, IT departments also need to evaluate their organisation’s cloud readiness. Cloud computing can have a significant operational and cultural impact on a business and its infrastructure. With the Cisco Cloud Index predicting that over half of computing workloads in datacenters will be cloud-based by 2014, IT departments need to ensure they have the right infrastructure foundations in place to cope with this new delivery model.