The last twelve months haven’t seen a rush to the cloud but they have seen a dash to hype this latest and greatest trend in global technology. The cloud, which allows businesses to purchase IT ‘on demand’, has become almost ubiquitous, with journalists, analysts and business leaders keen to talk about the likely affect of this new approach on technology procurement.

The noise surrounding the cloud is now pretty impressive with Gartner predicting that cloud computing is one of the top ten technologies of 2011. Although most commentators recognise that cloud will transform how IT is used and purchased, they also recognise that this change could take as long as a decade, maybe more. But be assured that change is coming.

So, why should an IT professional consider moving to the cloud? The answer is simple: competitive advantage. If you’re not ready for the cloud, your rival firms will be and will be exploring ways to use the cloud to drive down costs, reduce risk and improve IT delivery.

It you fail to consider the cloud early on, you could find that your management team tries to push you towards the cloud sooner or later in an effort to cut costs and improve efficiencies. Knowing early on whether the cloud is an effective delivery method for your organisation is therefore key.

With the cloud being so fast-evolving, twice as many cloud/SaaS/’on demand’ providers could soon be joining the marketplace. More and more organisations will also be choosing to move towards this platform, tempted by the promise of cost savings. As such, the question senior executives could well be asking in just a few years’ time is why are we not using cloud computing? Let’s hope the CIO has a decent response at the ready!