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Less than 50% of European businesses are cloud ready - are you?

Given the hype surrounding it, it’s easy to believe that the cloud is increasingly the first choice when it comes to business systems.

Yet a new survey by IDC (opens in new tab) reveals that a majority of European IT departments have yet to fully embrace its benefits. When asked about their readiness to move to a cloud-based strategy levels of confidence were low.

Lack of staff is a major problem with 56 per cent of European IT departments saying they can't find qualified personnel to effectively support cloud projects. Also 61 per cent say that their staff are struggling with the skills needed to evaluate and negotiate contracts with cloud service providers. 70 per cent say they still need to learn to make effective use of automation and self-service tools.

Read more: The 5 biggest cloud security concerns explained (opens in new tab)

"The use of cloud computing as an increasingly business-critical technology is quickly changing how companies and institutions evaluate, procure, and deploy IT assets," says Carla Arend, program director of IDC's Cloud Practice.

"However, the effective use of automation, self-service, and orchestration tools remains the biggest challenge for IT organizations, while accurately defining costs and implementing chargeback models is a struggle in the business and IT relationship. The transition to cloud computing requires change throughout the organization - in people, process, and technology".

IDC's CloudTrack Survey interviewed IT and non-IT staff at director level or above in 304 European organisations. Further findings include that return on investment remains elusive with only around a third of organisations able to build a solid business case for cloud investments.

Although 41 per cent say they use the cloud to gain competitive advantage, that leaves a large majority that still regard the cloud as a purely IT infrastructure issue. On a positive note though 95 per cent of respondents say that their IT departments are now seen as service providers focused on business priorities.

More details of the study can be found on the IDC website (opens in new tab).

Ian Barker worked in information technology before discovering that writing about computers was easier than fixing them. He has worked for a staff writer on a range of computer magazines including PC Extreme, was editor of PC Utilities, and has written for TechRadar, BetaNews, IT Pro Portal, and LatestGadgets.