Two recent articles from the Harvard Business Review The IT Conversation We Should be Having and Huffington Post Tech Is Your Company Cloud Ready? 10 Factors for the CIOs to Consider centered around the changing role of the CIO or IT department in companies and the emergence of cloud computing as a critical feature in steering businesses to the future and creating efficiency in companies.

The HBR article stressed the importance of information technology and the role it must assume in every enterprise, whether a small business or large organization. HBR found that CEOs believe CIOs are not in sync with the new issues CEOs are facing and that CIOs do not have a strategy as far as opportunities that can support the business. The article stated that CIOs and IT “must be seen less as developing and deploying technology and more as a source of innovation and transformation that delivers business value, leveraging technology instead of directly delivering it.” The HuffPost continued in adding that cloud computing can be a positive aspect of the future of IT and that many companies can benefit from partnering and outsourcing aspects of their IT for better efficiency.

No matter the size of your company or organization, some version of cloud computing is in its future. From the most basic applicatoin, such as antivirus protection to more extensive cloud coverage. Most software manufacturers see the benefits of not having to deliver code with set schedules and as a result, IT departments are changing their approach. The most common fear of the cloud revolves around lost data, but the risk is really no different than challenges we face every day protecting internal networks. In fact, data centers that house virtual machines are probably the most secure.

As the HuffPost article stated, it is inevitable that some of your IT requirements will require the cloud in some form. The hybrid approach is a popular approach to the cloud today, the equivalent of standing in the shallow end of the pool before completely diving in. Businesses using this approach are accepting that some applications run better in the cloud, but they still want some of their services in house. If this approach works best for your company, having an experienced partner to walk you into the water is also the best solution. Managed Services providers are adept at and experienced in preparing, testing and combining in-house with hosted or SAAS applications. They provide technical requirements to transition smoothly and help users face the new challenge of bandwidth and remotely delivered applications.

Even with a hybrid approach to the cloud, there are significant cost savings. The expenses associated with buying, maintaining, servicing and licensing are reduced as are those of exchange servers for mail, etc., when it is replaced by hosted exchange.

The key is to start somewhere, even with a small measure, such as an antivirus in the cloud or hosted exchange for mail. Finding a partner to help coach, guide, counsel and be your Managed Service provider is beneficial to your organization’s smooth transtition to the cloud.

Contact us with further questions about moving to the cloud in any capacity and stay tuned for more articles on the cloud and your business.