Cloud projects need governance, planning

The presence of cloud computing in enterprises has forever changed the IT service delivery process, as individuals are now able to receive and access resources from virtually anywhere at any time on any device. This freedom has inherently brought about new opportunities for the business world, providing companies with innovative ways to improve operations. At the same time, however, the unfamiliarity with the cloud has introduced challenges that must be addressed if the private sector is to evolve.

IT asset management is one of the biggest new complications decision-makers have with the cloud. For this reason, organizations need to plan ahead and develop robust policies to eliminate problems. This was highlighted in a recent report by ISACA, which said taking a strong cloud governance stance is the only way companies will be able to leverage the hosted services without too many obstacles.

"Board members need a clear understanding of cloud computing benefits and how to maximize them through effective governance practices," said Marc Vael, an ISACA board member. "This requires the board to see cloud computing not as an IT project, but rather as a business strategy."

As the cloud industry matures and becomes a critical component to carrying out mission-critical objectives, executives need to take the time to map out projects in advance to mitigate complications down the road.

Creating a cloud governance strategy
Regardless of whether a company opts for Software, Infrastructure or Platform as a Service offerings, decision-makers need to ensure they have a plan in place. ISACA stated that there needs to be IT asset management teams that understand the costs and potential benefits associated with using the cloud, as this will eliminate the possibility of unforeseen obstacles cropping up in the future.

Business executives also need to be sure their cloud governance policies align with short- and long-term corporate objectives, ISACA noted. If an enterprise jumps headfirst into the cloud landscape without double-checking that its use of the hosted services does not impair its ability to meet crucial goals, it will encounter problems when critical targets are not met.

A separate TechTarget report highlighted similar concerns, encouraging companies to take the time to understand the cloud and how their use of the technology will impact operations – for the better or worse.

"An enterprise seeking to leverage services from a cloud environment needs to understand, first, what qualities and characteristics and dependencies are associated with the service; and second, how that service can be best orchestrated into their existing environment," IT expert Joe McKendrick told TechTarget.

In the coming years, the cloud landscape is forecast to expand at a rapid rate, especially as companies pursue innovative IT service delivery processes and embrace mobile strategies. As the business world becomes increasingly competitive, a firm's ability to leverage the cloud effectively will become a major differentiator between organizations that will experience success and those that will suffer the consequences of unpreparedness.