Cloud Technology Leaves Americans Fuzzy

A study by Gartner technology consultants found usage of cloud-based solutions within the supply chain management sector increased by 40 percent during 2012.   Further, the study projects cloud usage will increase by an additional 47 percent by 2016, during which an eye-popping $206.6 billion will be spent on cloud solutions.

The tremendous growth of “cloud computing” – defined by Logistics Management magazine as “the shared software and information that users access via the web” – is a solid indication that businesses are in need of options to help better manage their businesses.  Through the cloud, businesses can offer shared access to certain projects and processes.  Software systems used to be prohibitively expensive, are now viable options.  And the cloud’s web-based functionality means a business’ data can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection.

Despite the tremendous success and the aforementioned positives, there is one glaring hurdle yet to clear:  Most Americans have little understanding of the cloud concept – although an alarming number say they have “faked” their knowledge in order to get by.

An August 2012 study by Wakefield Research asked more than 1,000 American adults about their knowledge of cloud computing.  Among the key findings:

  • 51 percent believe stormy weather could interfere with cloud computing.
  • 22 percent of respondents have pretended to have knowledge about the cloud, either during office hours, on a job interview or, as 17 percent revealed – on a first date.
  • 54 percent claim to never use cloud computing.  But, the survey revealed that 95 percent actually do use the cloud:  65 percent bank online; 63 percent shop online; 58 percent use social networking; and 22 percent store music online.

But all is not doom and gloom.  They survey found that even though Americans admit to not fully understanding the cloud, 68 percent, after learning a bit more about the concept, said they saw important economic benefits, including lower consumer costs (35 percent), small business growth (32 percent) and greater customer engagement (35 percent).  And not to be overlooked, 40 percent cited being able to access work information from home, while in their “birthday suit,” as a worthy advantage.

Cloud technology, which has only existed for the past five years or so, has already revolutionized the way many businesses and industries function.  And clearly, the cloud is here to stay.  Which means that as consumers expand their understanding , we can expect to see even more innovative uses of cloud-based solutions, and greater integration of the cloud into everyday life. Do you currently use the cloud? How do you feel this improves your business’ efficiency?