Several recent surveys highlight the accelerating race to the cloud\u2014and the challenges of maximizing your business benefits when you get there. The good news is there are tremendous benefits associated with optimizing your business for the cloud. The bad news is that only 3% of businesses using the cloud are achieving all of those benefits. The best news is that we have tremendous experience helping our clients optimize their cloud initiatives.\nIf it seems like most businesses are moving to the cloud\u2014public, private, or a combination (hybrid)\u2014then you\u2019re right. According to IDC worldwide spending on IT infrastructure products (server, enterprise storage, and Ethernet switches) for deployment in cloud environments will increase by 15.5% in 2016 to reach $37.1 billion, growing at a 13.1% compound annual growth rate to $59.5 billion in 2020.\nThat\u2019s pretty significant when you consider that the overall IT market is wheezing and gasping at an anemic 3.3% CAGR during the same period. During the next five years more than $1 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud.\nThe reasons for this growth are clear: the benefits of cloud are high, and the repercussions of not getting cloud right are even higher. A new IDC study reports that while the majority of the business world (68%, up 61% in 2015) is moving quickly to the cloud, only 3% are optimizing their cloud efforts, with compelling results, including:\n\n77% IT cost reduction\n11% revenue growth\n72% ability to meet SLAs\n87% time to provision IT services\n\nThat translates into an annual average benefit per cloud-based application of $3 million in additional revenues and $1 million in cost savings.\nThere are a number of reasons why cloud benefits are so difficult to achieve, including the misalignment of IT and the rest of the business (\u201cculture clash\u201d), cost and complexity, and the speed at which everything is moving. Another recent study found that 80% of IT decision makers believe leadership underestimated the time and cost of cloud services.\nAlmost half in the same study \u201443%\u2014believe their organization's IT workforce is not completely prepared to address the challenges of managing their cloud resources over the next five years. This problem is compounded by the high demand and relatively low supply for workers skilled in cloud, security, DevOps engineering, and other IT positions.\nThat\u2019s why a proven partner like Connection can play an essential role in ensuring that your cloud initiatives are successful. With the expertise to discern, design, and deliver a next-generation cloud strategy, our Cloud Practice has skilled staff with the expertise and experience to work with you to build the private, public, or hybrid cloud solution that addresses your particular needs and requirements while paying attention to your long-term plans and migration and maintenance concerns.\nEvery business is different, making a one-size-fits-all approach a guarantee that you will fail to optimize your cloud opportunities. We understand that cloud computing technologies are just the raw materials that can be combined in multiple ways to achieve your desired business outcome\u2014ways that are stable, secure, and industry relevant.