IBM who are behind the IBM SmartCloud have recently released their findings from a survey they have run. The survey into Cloud deployment found that only 13% of businesses have substantially implemented any cloud based services.
This seems low given the furore around Cloud based computing which is a tool that is meant to be useful for both small and large businesses. The barriers though may in fact be higher for those in larger businesses though they exist in small businesses as well.
The wording of the survey is interesting to start with as substantially suggests that many businesses are likely to have made half-hearted attempts to implement cloud computing with services such as IBM SmartCloud.
In large businesses there may well be training provided to employees to help with the move from traditional desktop PC based applications to collaborative cloud based services. This doesn’t always tackle resistance though from employees that can prevent use becoming widespread when an old system is still available. One solution is rather than running two systems side by side set a deadline for the old one to be physically taken away: the disruption this could cause though could be damaging to a business; instead what is important is to try to make the advantages of a clouds system clear to users.
The main advantages of a cloud system come when everyone uses it and uses all of its features, if a person tries to use a cloud solution such as IBM SmartCloud to collaborate but finds that everyone else is still relying on paper documents and e-mail then Cloud computing in an organization may never get to an all important tipping point where the advantages become obvious.
With simple Cloud options such as Google Apps the advantages are limited to collaboration through the document itself but with a product such as IBM SmartCloud advantages of using the system include social tools and other tools giving a clear advantage instantly that is easy to explain to employees. With IBM’s SmartCloud being based on Lotus products as well those who are used to using Lotus can pick up the system almost instantly and it is intuitive for those new to Lotus office applications and tools.
In small businesses the barriers to using cloud computing are a little different. In highly technical companies with staff proficient in IT or an IT director or executive Cloud computing is likely to get a much higher priority. IBM found in fact that 62% of IT executives compared to only 38% of business executives saw cloud based computing as a high priority for their businesses.
In small businesses with few IT skills then cloud computing is often not understood well enough to comprehend the potential advantages and learning to use a new system will be a steep learning curve with extra training often needed. With a product like IBM’s SmartCloud though as mentioned already it is designed to be intuitive and easy to use for anyone who has used an office suite of products before and the social tools that are included are designed to make collaboration easy to use with similarities to social networking tools online.
Perhaps then it is IBM’s confidence in its own IBM SmartCloud product that leads them to predict that 41% of businesses will have substantial cloud based offering implementation within three years.