It all started out innocently enough. Go online; type in your credit card number; spin up a server. That simple, elegant process quickly propelled the cloud from the fringe to the mainstream. But thanks to that very success, the days of innocence are over. Things have gotten way more serious \u2013 and complicated.\nHow serious are cloud decisions? In the City of Barcelona, officials hopped on a plane and flew to Microsoft\u2019s Cloud data center in Dublin, Ireland, to observe first hand how things are run \u2013 and thereby to gain an understanding and comfort level for using the Microsoft\u2019s public cloud . \u00a0That\u2019s serious.\nThe time has come when all stakeholders must be involved in cloud decisions. Consider these findings from the 2014 IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study: 23% say cloud spending takes place at their organizations outside of IT, a number that is expected to reach 28% within three years. The non-IT areas that are funding cloud initiatives are led by marketing (45%), sales (43%) and HR (40%).\nCIOs, take note. While it\u2019s important for an agile enterprise to allow business the freedom to initiate cloud services, a complete lack of IT involvement could lead to problems later on. Many of these non-IT cloud initiatives actually come back under control of IT later due to problems, according to the survey.\nWriting for the Wall Street Journal, Clint Boulton explains that when IT people show up after a cloud service has been deployed, it\u2019s a bit like the parents coming home to find a teenage party in progress. Boulton cites the case of Thermo Fisher, a Waltham, Mass., life sciences company, where engineers were using the cloud for minor tasks, but they would leave those tasks processing through the weekend. Such wasteful usage was wiping out the savings of the cloud. \u201cWould you like someone leaving the shower running in your house all weekend long?\u201d asked Mark Field, vice president of IT at Thermo Fisher.\nSo who should be involved in cloud decisions? It might be easier to tally who should not be involved. Clearly, the people who will be running the cloud-based applications should have a say. Finance, security and compliance officers should also have a seat at the table. But most important is IT.\nOnly IT has the skills needed to fully understand whether a given cloud service is a wise choice and whether it\u2019s the right one to use \u2013 and for which applications. Ideally, that platform should supply core infrastructure services, platform services to grow into and higher level services that add business value \u2013 just like the apps that run on servers today.\u00a0 And it should provide flexibility to move services, apps and computing needs from your private cloud to hosted clouds \u2013 and to public clouds \u2013 and back.\nSo if you\u2019re a CIO, be assertive and provide the adult supervision that\u2019s needed. Get the input of your technology experts, evaluate vendors and try out a few clouds \u2013 know the pros and the cons of each.\u00a0 Involve the stakeholders, but be proactive and present them with a menu of cloud services from your preferred provider. It\u2019s a much better strategy than trying to clean up a mess afterwards.