UK lags behind US in cloud adoption

Research from Vanson Bourne highlights the differences in attitude towards cloud computing between enterprises in the UK and the US

UK enterprises are more cautious about adopting cloud computing services than their US counterparts, a survey has revealed.

Just 35% of UK businesses are using cloud services to store private data, compared with 58% of US businesses, according to a study carried out by Vanson Bourne.

Highlighting the cloud chasm developing between the US and the UK, the study found most US businesses (81%) had considered a more integrated supply chain using cloud platforms, as against just 41% in the UK.

Furthermore, only 24% of UK respondents said they were using cloud for capacity planning and management compared with 47% of US respondents.

Twice as many US organisations are using the cloud to automate their business processes (30% compared to 14% in the UK).

“American organisations seem to be worlds ahead in their knowledge, usage and confidence in the cloud,” said Tijl Vuyk, chief executive at Redwood Software, the company that commissioned the survey.

US businesses were more positive about the benefits of cloud than their UK counterparts.

For instance, 71% of US businesses cited improved agility in supporting business needs as cloud computing’s biggest benefit. Faster return on investment (ROI) (57%) and reduced labour costs (45%) were other benefits cited by US respondents.

In the UK, the number of respondents citing cloud benefits was more restrained with: 47% citing improved agility; 36% citing better ROI; and 29% citing reduced labour costs.

The study also highlighted the difference in confidence levels among UK and US respondents. Among those who were not using cloud to manage business process automation, 27% of UK businesses said it would not give them enough control compared with just 14% of US businesses. For the US respondents, the top reason for not using cloud services was the lack of resources.

“What will be interesting to see is whether this is a sign of things to come for UK businesses and whether the perceived barriers to cloud adoption can be overcome,” Vuyk said.

“It will also be fascinating to monitor the timelines involved with this change in mindset and whether the UK will ever catch up to the US or whether the US will continue to lead.”

In May 2012, a Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) study revealed that current cloud adoption in the UK was at around 53% of organisations, compared with 76% in the US. But CIF added that cloud adoption in the UK is “growing rapidly”.

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