It’s no secret enterprises are using both private and public cloud. In fact, if you’re not, it’s hurting your business and IT organization because your competition is. In Forrester’s 2011 ForrSights Hardware Survey, 12% of respondents indicated that they had fully deployed private clouds, and 24% indicated that their business is using public cloud services. The real question today is, how mature are you in your overall cloud computing strategy? And are you holding back your company’s use of public cloud to get them to use your private cloud?

This is a mistake you can’t afford to make because as we detail in our latest report, “Assess Your Cloud Maturity,” your private and public cloud efforts should be separate, parallel paths. The numbers above show that the public cloud adoption path is moving at a rate of speed much faster than most companies' private cloud efforts —so you need to harness this, not try to restrain it. Your business is using public cloud services, regardless of whether your organization approves it or not. At this point, it’s in your best interest to embrace it and empower your business users.

Don’t worry that expanded use of the public cloud will obviate the need for a private cloud. Their values do not overlap. There are strong reasons for large enterprises to pursue both strategies.

In this report, we go through four phases of maturity along each path, and in each phase, identify the pain points and catalysts that drive you to the next phase. The drivers in the private cloud differ from those in the public, and it’s important that your team is able to identify the significant differences in each of these and how it affects them and their business users.

Although the paths remain separate and parallel, ultimately, the two start to become interdependent as you move towards using both and start optimizing your application portfolio with both options. This is the path to a holistic cloud computing strategy. Your goal is to understand your business users’ requirements, identify that there is a need for both, determine for what each approach is best suited. Executing on the strategy becomes the responsibility of your team. Move beyond the notion of managing infrastructure, and think more about providing services to your business users in a much more automated manner. The impact of these two paths becomes more of an organizational and process change, and not technological. But this is perhaps, the hardest part. Realigning your team is a continuous effort throughout these paths.

Walk through the phases of each path outlined in this report, and determine where you stand in your overall cloud computing strategy. Are you mature in one path, but not in the other? Can you relate to the behavioral drivers in each of these phases? Once you’ve identified where you are, put the wheels in motion to achieve your goal.