In 2018, companies are projected to invest over $45B in public cloud platforms worldwide (Source: Gartner).

This includes the names you are familiar with — Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform — as well as up-and-comers you may not have come across yet, such as Alibaba Cloud, Joyent, and Fujitsu.

This $45B investment in public cloud is a 32% increase over 2017’s spending, with the total dollars invested eclipsing $72B in 2020. (You can read the whole Gartner report here.)

Now that software is getting full, it’s the cloud’s turn to eat some of the world, too.

Let’s slow this roll for a minute and add additional context as there are very real risks in play here.

Did you know that roughly 15% of IT projects fail?

This isn’t a throwaway number. This figure comes from Project Management Institute research — probably the most complete study of IT projects on the planet.

This means that 2018 will see $6.75B in public cloud investment at serious risk of failing. From a global perspective, just under $7B doesn’t sound like a lot of money. It really isn’t. However, this is just the cloud invoice investment risk. It does not factor in any internal risk or costs associated with a cloud project.

The total dollars at risk is far higher, as any cloud project is often a significant, strategic bet for an organization.

The #1 risk factor for IT projects? Executive engagement:

Actively engaged executive sponsors continue to be the top driver of whether projects meet their original goals and business intent (Source: PMI).

So ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. How well does your organization understand your cloud initiatives?
  2. How aligned is your organization with your cloud initiatives?
  3. How engaged is your executive management with your cloud initiatives?

In order for your cloud projects to be successful and not put your organization at risk, your ducks must be in a row. Your risk is directly associated with your organization’s understanding of, alignment with, and support for the project — at all levels.