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Note to CIOs: Get your head in the cloud

CIOs today are feeling the pressure to provide IT services that keep up with the business, and are looking at a mix of IT delivery methods to meet their users' demands. Cloud services have emerged as viable options, thanks to the cost savings, flexibility and speed to market they offer, and IT is feeling the pressure to take advantage of them.

Traditional IT services are still important, however, especially as security and availability concerns inhibit widespread cloud adoption. Creating a hybrid IT delivery environment requires a thorough analysis of each project, as well as tools that manage the different delivery options in a unified, simplified way. CIOs should also develop IT delivery road maps that anticipate users' demands going forward.

In the global marketplace, enterprises must move quickly to capitalise on the latest growth opportunities and stay one step ahead of the competition. IT services play an important role in fostering the innovation required to fuel new business ventures. Today, CIOs need to be in a constant state of readiness to provide their users with the technology services to enable innovative business opportunities and respond to customer demands.

Cloud computing, with its promises of fast delivery, flexibility and cost savings, has emerged as a viable option for providing agile IT services. By utilising cloud services, enterprises can look ahead to anticipate customer needs and predict business trends without having to worry about the IT infrastructure, platforms and applications that might be required to support them.

In this hybrid world of IT delivery choices, where public cloud and private cloud are becoming viable options along with traditional IT services, the onus is now on IT leaders to determine which of their current and future technology projects would benefit most from which model. They also must determine how to turn this mix of services into a blended environment where both the management and the end-user experience are seamless and simple.

"We see a world of hybrid computing, not a one-size-fits-all world," said Patrick Harr, vice president of cloud strategy and solutions with HP. "Public clouds are good for some things, while private clouds are good for others, as are traditional IT investments. What's important is to determine the best (or optimal) service method (or delivery model) for each IT or business need."