The latest research from Canopy reports that 75% of CFOs believe their business is missing out on revenue opportunities by not having the right cloud applications to support digital transformation.

Cloud storage is no longer an “if” for many businesses, it is mandatory to stay competitive. However, the transition to cloud-based systems can be a struggle, especially in larger companies operating on legacy systems. Cloud agility is universally desired, yet many roadblocks such as financial considerations, data protection, and fears of vendor lock -in can hamper implementation.

Alternatively, many organizations have experienced cloud sprawl– the ungoverned adoption of cloud services, haphazard, disjointed and often duplicated across sectors of the enterprise, driven by business users in silo sectors. This decentralized investment taking place outside of IT has raised a red flag for CIOs and CFOs to circumvent cloud sprawl and establish governance or risk security breaches.

Digital business becomes a priority

As digital transformation becomes a priority at the C-level, businesses are striving to revamp their customer relationship performance with technology. CFOs have estimated that not having the proper cloud solutions in place has cost their companies on average €67m of revenue last year. Despite the opportunities lost, many organizations are still struggling to establish a clear strategy for consistent implementation. A new Forrester Report predicts that spending will grow faster than spending on traditional information technologies tied to telecommunications services and computer equipment. CIOs will need to pivot their IT investments and shift their focus to the technologies that can help them grow.

“While the overwhelming majority (90%) recognized the need to embrace cloud based applications and infrastructure to deliver digital transformation, almost two thirds (64%)  admitted that a lack of cloud investment was holding back vital digital initiatives.”- Nasdaq

Establishing a Digital Strategy

Design a digital strategy with an eye towards end-to-end solutions. As the cloud market matures, more CIOs will utilize cloud for heavyweight functionality, in addition to lighter applications (like email). To begin, evaluate which areas of the business are value drivers to justify the innovation . Operational costs, agility and compliance should cornerstone each element of the digital strategy. Tailor your contract to insure against a DDoS attack.

A new trend in 2014 is encrypting your own data before it hits the cloud. “Concerned about government access to data, companies increasingly believe the only way to truly control their data is by controlling the actual encryption keys,” said James Staten of Forrester Research.

All of the above should be factored in when determining the ROI of a cloud investment. It is also recommended to set up a cloud monitoring service after the cloud solution is integrated. Analyzing how the organization is using cloud will help detect anomalies and divulge cost savings.