No way back
Over the years, the IT industry has displayed a tendency to get carried away by its own hype. Perhaps that shouldn’t be so surprising given just how good the IT industry has become at generating hype around a chosen technology. Practice makes perfect. The problem comes when customers prove more resistant to the charms and lures of the latest and greatest technological trend.
With cloud computing, for instance, much of the discussion has moved from if to when for many but, despite the hype, smaller Irish business, particularly those outside of the capital, appear to be indifferent to the lure of the cloud and technologies such voice over IP. According to a survey conducted for cloud telecoms provider Magnet by Amarach Research, less than a fifth of SMEs have implemented a cloud solution, although the figure for Dublin was a reasonably healthy 45%.
The reasons many small firms outside Dublin gave for not moving to the cloud were not quite as obvious as people might expect. For example, concerns about the quality of broadband available in certain regions not being up to the task were very low, ranging from 2% in the mid-East to 12% in the mid-West. Security concerns were also well down the list, as was the issue of cost.
The biggest reason why so many small firms in the regions had declined to move to the cloud was that they just didn’t think it was for them. In all the regions, apart from the southwest (53%) and Dublin (32%), more than 60% said moving to the cloud “doesn’t suit our company”. That could be interpreted as a damning verdict on the job cloud providers have done to date in marketing their solutions to small firms in Ireland. Or it could suggest their solutions really aren’t that suitable for small firms outside Dublin.
Michael Conway, director at Renaissance, thinks the issue is really about confusion over the cloud. He describes cloud as “such a horrible word that’s been abused, misused and misunderstood” and believes many companies are probably unaware that they are already using it.
“I think people are using cloud more than they think but it’s by stealth.” he argues. “There cannot be many businesses in Ireland that don’t transact or communicate electronically. Is that cloud or not? I think cloud is a misnomer. If you ask people what they think cloud is, you’ll get a whole set of different answers.”
He believes the fault for this confusion lies with the IT industry for deciding to “confuse people by calling it something that it isn’t. Maybe we should just stop calling it the cloud. Who named it the cloud? Where did it come from?”