Lorna Hardie, regional director sub-Saharan Africa at VMware says that in order to thrive in today’s market and economy it is time to recognise the imperative of cloud and the value of virtualisation.

Every business should be off the fence and in the cloud. It is the foundation for growth and innovation delivering cost efficiencies, improved capabilities, reduced risk factors and increased growth potential.

No longer a conversation reserved for the IT locker room, cloud offers strategic value that few organisations can afford to ignore. The challenge isn’t whether to include cloud and virtualisation as part of a long-term strategy but to ensure investment into the right solutions for seamless operation in the multi-cloud world.

Organisations want access to the best innovation for their business, regardless of its source. They want to match the needs of applications to the resources that are available. And they want all of this without having to compromise – it makes sense. In mercurial markets and complex global economic conditions, the need for the intelligent, multi-cloud world is growing exponentially.

This is being further driven by the much-hyped rise of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT). Each of these technologies pushing computing to the ‘edge’ as data becomes the liquid gold of growth and innovation.

Cloud offers access to this realm without giddy costs and heady infrastructure investment. It also unlocks the door to accessibility across any device, any application and any cloud, but only if implementation is strategic and smart. The smart cloud, the smart consolidation of virtualisation software, and smart application of intelligent technology solution. Tick these boxes. These are the ones that ensure cloud and virtualisation are not only on the menu but aligned with the business.

The reality is that every organisation is facing a unique journey. None can afford to be negatively impacted by poor technology decisions or applications that cannot support the pace of transformation. Equally, they can’t afford to be left behind in the wake of ongoing disruption as new technology and innovation cut out the slow and the reluctant.

Yet there remain plenty of slow and reluctant. Research undertaken by MIT SMR and Deloitte Digital revealed a remarkable gap between organisations that felt digital disruption would impact their industry (87%) and the meagre 44% who were adequately preparing for this disruption. That’s 43% of organisations that know disruption is coming for them, but aren’t doing anything about it. The MIT survey suggests that perhaps the reason why companies aren’t acting is because they don’t understand enough about the technology to make the right changes.

Perhaps few organisations truly understand the extent to which disruption will hit their bottom line or how effectively cloud and virtualisation can shift that dynamic. It is becoming more complex to manage and increasingly difficult to ensure that the organisation has a digital foundation that won’t limit its growth or its agility. Ultimately, agile and accessible should be the terms that define how the business approaches cloud and its use of virtualisation solutions to derive value from the cloud.

The business has to unlock value from all of the technology available today while supporting a growing landscape of public cloud services, data centre resources, mobile devices and smart devices. It also requires an infrastructure that allows for the seamless introduction, and use of, new technologies that haven’t been invented yet. Considering the rate of change, those technologies are likely to appear a lot faster than expected and will equally likely introduce efficiencies that the business will want.

The solution? To focus on investment that unlocks the value of cloud and virtualisation but does so within the constraints of the business. The smaller to medium enterprise doesn’t need to invest in costly virtualisation tools to access its potential, there are solutions that allow for them to run small pockets within their remote branches and that fit within their budgets.

Cloud is the great leveller, allowing for any organisation of any size to access technologies and tools that were previously only the remit of the large and the global. The question for the organisation shouldn’t be whether or not cloud and virtualisation are necessary, but which solutions can offer the best ability to thrive in the multi-cloud world. The answer is simple. The solutions that deliver access to innovation regardless of source and match the needs of applications to the resources available without compromise.