(Confusing messages. Image by Wikimedia Commons user 'Melburnian')

Again and again, we hear examples of companies struggling as they try to realise the benefits of moving to cloud. They know what they want to achieve as a business, they know that cloud can help, but they cannot translate that understanding into the way they specify, procure, and run the technology.

There are plenty of organisations willing to help, offering everything from design and migration services through to management of infrastructure and applications on an ongoing basis. Even in the public cloud world, it's easy to find companies eager to take your money, and then start and stop workloads on your behalf.

But, as the blurb for my latest report states,

"Cloud computing changes the way that applications are designed, built, and run. It is often part of a broader organizational change, as enterprises move to embrace digital opportunities. Providers of managed cloud solutions need to recognize this shift: They must do more than simply run a customer’s computers. But CIOs seeking a trusted partner to assume this broader role find that too many managed cloud offerings fail to rise above basic management of infrastructure."

This report explores some of the issues CIOs should consider when seeking prospective partners, discusses the value of letting a partner do the heavy lifting, and details some of the most useful ways in which those partners can be put to work. In a market filled with players, very few have the experience or capability to really manage a modern cloud and its critical workloads. But, sometimes, just paying someone else to reboot your virtual machines may be enough.

Do you use a managed cloud provider? What do they do for you, and how does that add value to your business? If you don't use one today, would you like to? Or is the combination of a public cloud provider's existing infrastructure management and your own infrastructure and operations team sufficient to get the job done?