The public cloud is fast becoming the platform of choice for IT leaders and their line-of-business counterparts. Worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure is forecast to hit $160 billion in 2018, according to researcher IDC, which represents a 23 percent increase on 2017 investment levels.

Yet while the pace of the move to on-demand IT continues to quicken, CIOs are faced with a bewildering option of providers and services. How should organisations manage this selection process? Five IT leaders share their experiences of finding the right balance for their business.

1. Make the most of the range of options

Aaron Powell, chief digital officer at NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), says he didn’t set out to have a single-provider cloud approach. In fact, he embraces choice. “I have an instinctive preference for having more than one cloud provider,” says Powell.

SEE: What is cloud computing? Everything you need to know about the cloud, explained

The organisation uses Azure for some services, such as a portal for blood donors, and Microsoft applications run natively on the provider’s cloud platform. NHSBT also uses the IBM cloud to take advantage of analytical technologies.

Powell’s approach differs from the stance of some experts. He recalls how he sat in a room with an executive from a big-name consultancy firm 18 months ago. The consultant told Powell no other CIOs were relying on a multi-cloud strategy. In fact, he was told by the executive that having more than one provider was a daft idea.