UK firms wary of the cloud as US forges ahead

New research highlights the contrasting attitudes towards using the cloud in the US and the UK.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Businesses in the UK are less keen on the cloud than their US counterparts, according to a survey.

The study found that 58 percent of US businesses were already using the cloud for private data storage, compared to just 35 percent in the UK.

Nearly half of US businesses are using the cloud for capacity management, compared to just a quarter in the UK. And almost twice as many organisations in the US have considered a more integrated supply chain using the cloud (81 percent versus 41 percent), according to the study.

The research, revealed by Redwood Software on Friday, also found that twice as many US organisations are using cloud to automate business processes than in the UK. The study surveyed 100 UK and 200 US IT decision makers.

"When you look at technology adoption generally, US organisations are more amenable to trying things whereas UK organisations adopt more of a wait-and-see policy," Redwood Software's global marketing VP, Simon Shah, told ZDNet.

Using automation software to schedule repeatable and menial tasks — such as delivering operational reports or ordering new parts or stock — can free up staff to do other jobs. But Shah claimed that businesses who run the automation processes in the cloud stand to gain even more.

Businesses using a hybrid cloud model whereby they store data on their own on-premise servers but use the cloud to run software that automates processes stand to save time and money, while reducing their commitment to on-premises software, he said.

"US organisations are more amenable to trying things whereas UK organisations adopt more of a wait-and-see policy" — Simon Shah

Of the US businesses using the cloud to automate processes, 71 percent said they gained improved agility in supporting business needs, 57 percent said they saw a faster return on investment, and 45 percent said they had reduced labour costs.

In contrast, UK businesses responded with 47 percent, 36 percent and 29 percent, respectively. UK businesses not using the cloud to automate processes are reluctant to do so because they fear they would not have enough control, with 27 percent citing this as their main reason. In the US, by contrast, 17 percent cited this as a factor.

A further 17 percent of UK businesses said they considered using the cloud to automate processes too risky, while 16 percent said they didn't have the resources.

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