The greatest issue that stops businesses from adopting cloud services is inertia, according to Google.
A belief that upgrading to the cloud entails new management headaches, coupled with a decision not to experiment or test cloud productivity tools, prevents businesses from going to the cloud, Jonathan Rochelle, product manager for Google Apps, told ZDNet UK on Tuesday at Interop Las Vegas.
"It feels to them additive," he said. "They hesitate because it doesn't feel like it can replace anything, until they discover that it can."
What triggers enterprise adoption is employees using a cloud service, like Google Docs or Dropbox, themselves, and this spreading organically throughout the organisation, he said.
Adoption happens "when the groundswell hits the corporate office — [when] the C-Level execs are using it and realise, 'wow, we are not doing anything to protect this information'," he said.
At this point, many companies are moved to upgrade to an enterprise-grade cloud service, backed by SLAs, he said.
One of the main benefits of moving to the cloud from a business perspective is the shift from lots of capital expenditures — servers and associated IT infrastructure — to an operational expenditure model, he said.
By adopting the cloud, businesses can be more efficient, he said. As an example, he pointed to the cavernous halls of the Mandalay Bay hotel in which the conference was held.
"It took me a half hour to get to my room, they had to build this because it's hardware, they had to build it with a peak throughput, imagine if they didn't have to," he said. "[Cloud] allows you to scale."
"It feels like such an obvious benefit, especially in technology where things change so fast."
The majority of Google's revenues — 97 percent in its 2011 financial year — come from money made from ads, but over the past few years the company has ploughed resources into beefing up its Google Apps products with new features and technologies, like Google Drive.
Its main competitor in the cloud in this area is Microsoft, via its Office 365 products.
Rochelle said that pre-existing licensing agreements with Microsoft Office could also stop an organisation adopting Google's services.