Irish firms adopting cloud computing without realising

Irish businesses are confused about cloud computing to the extent that many are using the technology without realising it, according to a new report by O2. The survey of 350 Irish business owners and managers was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes to mark the first anniversary of O2’s partnership with Microsoft on its cloud application Office 365 and its suite of enterprise mobility services.

The O2 survey found that almost half (45%) of firms surveyed are confused or very confused by the term cloud computing. While just one in five say they are currently using cloud computing, the study finds that in fact 48% are using one or more cloud apps: 29% of firms say they use Google Docs; 20% are using Dropbox and 17% are using Microsoft’s Office 365.

Alan Brown, Business Director at Telefónica Ireland, which operates the O2 brand, said the survey results were not surprising. “Business owners remain generally confused about cloud computing, yet they are adopting cloud services because of the clear benefits they offer.

“Especially in the current economic environment there is an onus on providers to work with their customers to explain clearly the benefits of various cloud services. For example, easily being able to expand storage and users and the ability to operate without major expenditure on servers, on-premise software upgrades or monthly IT maintenance contracts.”

The lack of awareness is most prevalent amongst smaller companies and the retail/wholesale and hotel/leisure sectors. 48% of firms employing 1-3 people are confused about cloud computing. This falls to 40% for those employing over 10 people.

The O2 study finds that of those who say they don’t currently use cloud computing, one in five is considering it. Perceived benefits are widely spread across accessibility, ease of use, reduced cost, security and business continuity.

In terms of barriers to implementation of the cloud, a large majority (67%) cite lack of awareness as their main or secondary reason.

Cloud computing allows software and services to be delivered over the Internet to any location that has a web enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. In its “Action Plan for Jobs 2012” the Irish Government identified the technology as part of its overall programme to create 100,000 net new jobs in the Irish economy by 2016.

Posted in Cloud Computing