A Buyers Guide to Cloud Services


Cloud Computing is set to revolutionise the manner in which IT services are both delivered and consumed. Spurred on by the benefits of both operational flexibility and commercial efficiency, Cloud has become clearly established as a viable option for deploying IT services from organisations of all sizes and speciality.

In the UK today over 50 per cent of organisations have formally utilised at least one Cloud service and satisfaction levels relating to that experience grew to an astonishing 96 per cent by the end of 2011. Furthermore, 85 per cent of IT Executives stated that they now formally considered Cloud as a viable option for delivering new IT projects within their wider IT strategy, signaling that the technical model has established a mainstream status among the profession.

In terms of future adoption, three out of four of those who have already purchased a Cloud service believe they will purchase further services for their organisation within 2012. Of those that have yet to adopt their first Cloud service, 18 per cent expect to do so in 2012, and a further 17 per cent intend to within three years. In fact only 4 per cent of the research base had no intention to ever use a Cloud service. 

So the market for Cloud Services is set to grow more rapidly and this expectation is fuelling the growth in Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and in diversity of the supply chain. Trusted suppliers are often changing their business models to embrace Cloud Services within their portfolio; 66 per cent of end users have expressed an increasing expectation of self service in light of the new service models enabled by Cloud Computing; and, a new breed of Cloud brokerages and aggregators are forming to provide commercial guidance and a single point of contact to customers.

What is important against this backdrop in any sourcing decision is to determine how a specific Cloud purchase or project will fall within the wider IT strategy of that organisation. The market has some way to go in terms of technical inter-operability and as such user organisations need to be clear on their data models and requirements for integration in order to be able to select and sew Cloud Services seamlessly into their IT operations.

Understanding what is possible with Cloud solutions and which deployment and service models exist is the subject of White Paper 5 (WP5). This Paper assumes familiarity with WP5 and is intended to provide guidance on how to approach a ‘needs analysis’ and how to shortlist and sift prospective Cloud Service Providers in order to determine both a best fit and reduce risk in meeting an IT sourcing goal.

The Cloud Industry Forum has established a Certified Code of Practice for Cloud Service Providers that aims to enhance standards by enabling end users to make a rational and informed choice in selecting a service provider by requiring information to be made available on essential matters and in a standard format. Whilst the CSP’s certified against the CoP help end user confidence in selection, should you ever seek to assess a non CIF Certified company this White Paper will help to establish the key Information that you should request and review before making your selection. 

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