The Cloud Crowd: Are You In?

Karl McDermott
On: 3 Dec 2015
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Karl McDermott, Head of ICT at Three Ireland, looks at how Ireland’s businesses are shaping up to cloud adoption and what they should expect to achieve.

There’s simply no denying that cloud use in business is on the up. So concurred 84% of business people in a global Harvard Business Review survey this year. And it’s no longer just about saving costs. 40% say cloud services help them increase top line revenue growth and 36% say it has helped them boost their bottom line. It’s even reducing risk – with 39% saying cloud has improved security of their data.

That’s the global picture, but how are Irish businesses shaping up with the cloud? It’s already common knowledge that Ireland is something of a cloud hotspot in Europe, with one company after another choosing to base key operations here. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple to name just a few – the country plays host to a veritable technology hall of fame. There are many more niche cloud providers landing here too. Whether it’s this presence that creates a perfect storm or something else, the Irish business community is clearly one of Europe’s cloud adoption leaders. Data from Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics body, showed that we are currently 6th out of 28 member states, in terms of the percentage of businesses using cloud. Proportionately speaking, Ireland has more cloud enabled businesses than the UK, Belgium, Spain, France and Germany. It also leads Europe in the use of cloud storage.

Recent CIO research by Version 1 shows just how intrinsic cloud now is to Irish organisations; 4 out 5 of them are using cloud services, and more than 60% say they will be choosing cloud for a competitive or critical business application in the next year.

Of course this is all great news, but IT managers and business owners who think that they should be utilising cloud more need to know what it can do for them on a daily basis. What are the building blocks to achieving bigger corporate cloud adoption goals? Well, back to HBR’s research and we see three big and positive changes in the way businesses operate resulting from cloud applications.

The first is Agility. 71% say that use of cloud has increased business agility in several ways. Decreasing time to market, improved exchange of data, faster decisions and fewer project delays, for example. It seems that cloud businesses are able to react more quickly and appropriately to both good and bad situations and adapt in whatever way necessary.

The second is Collaboration. 72% say cloud has made it much easier to collaborate with colleagues, by making information sharing easy and integrating departments that may have previously operated as silos. It goes without saying that any business has to be stronger and better performing when operating collaboratively, rather than as a number of unconnected parts. So collaboration via the cloud can only be a good thing and a win-win for all.

And finally, Acceleration. While the early benefits of cloud may have centred on cost savings, HBR’s report gives us reason to believe that its ultimate value lies in speed – or the ability to increase `organisational velocity’. This includes more fluid working relationships across both internal and external teams and generally, faster business progression. It can only mean positive things for competitive advantage, in any sector.

Mapping these cloud goals back to Ireland and we see a positive picture. Again, Version 1’s data shows that over 90% of CIOs believe cloud improves innovation and agility. There are also many factors beyond cost savings driving cloud adoption, with customer demands, scalability and speed to value all in the top five.

Cloud is rapidly becoming a way of life for businesses globally, and it’s great to see so many in Ireland leading the way too. Clearly there’s little to stop them making the most of it, with one of the world’s best domestic technology infrastructures in place, plus the simple cost benefits and the undoubted impact of cloud industry leaders residing on our very own shores.

If you’re not already realising its agility, collaboration and acceleration benefits, maybe it’s time you joined the cloud-crowd too?