More Brits than Yanks understand cloud concepts, but more cloud projects are getting done in the U.S.

Gary Flood, Contributor

February 5, 2013

3 Min Read

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8 Cloud Tools For Road Warriors

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When it comes to Joe Q. Public, it seems Main Street U.S.A. is a lot weaker on its cloud understanding than its British High Street peers.

The issue that's embarrassing many U.K. cloud mavens is that despite that disparity, it's in the Land of the Free, not Her Majesty's domain, that actual cloud projects seem to be getting done.

A new poll from European cloud supplier Webfusion of 1,000 U.S. citizens found 31.8% claimed to have no understanding of the term "cloud" at all, and only 25% said they had a clear grasp of the topic. In terms of age groups, 25 to 34-year-old people performed best on this question, with 33.8% claiming to know what cloud computing is.

The same exercise found 63% of these U.S. respondents weren't able to recognize Dropbox, iTunes, Gmail or Microsoft's Hotmail as cloud services, and 91% did not see the term "scalable hosting" as equivalent to cloud.

[ Even cloud-savvy companies have knowledge gaps. See Hard Truths About Cloud Differences. ]

The company compared the U.S. findings with what it says are equivalent sample results from the U.K. that shows 34% of British respondents have a good understanding of the term "cloud," and 84% of the same group, compared to 91% in the U.S. sample, failed the "scalable hosting" definition test.

"It turns out we are much more cloud savvy than our American counterparts, despite the U.S. often being considered as technological innovators," said Thomas Vollrath, CEO of Webfusion's parent company, Host Europe Group. In a statement, Vollrath cited another firm's research that suggests 75% of U.S. businesses are now using some sort of cloud service, compared to 61% of U.K. businesses.

That discrepancy may in part be explained by another study published last week, by Redwood Software, that found only 35% of U.K. businesses are using the cloud for private data storage, compared to 58% of American companies. Meanwhile, only 41% of U.K. organizations, but 81% of their U.S. competitors, have considered a more integrated supply chain using the cloud.

Overall, U.S. IT professionals contacted are far more positive about using the cloud, citing its main benefits as: improved agility in supporting business needs (cited by 71%), faster ROI (57%) and reduced labor (45%). The equivalent rankings for British companies were markedly lower: 47%, 36% and 29% respectively.

Redwood Software said, "American organizations seem to be streets ahead in their knowledge, usage and confidence in the cloud ... What will be interesting to see is whether this is a sign of things to come for U.K. businesses and whether the perceived barriers to cloud adoption can be overcome."


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