BSA: EU cloud uptake lower than global average

Highest number of cloud users in Romania and Greece, according to research

Research from software advocates Business Software Alliance (BSA) has inferred a surprising lack of cloud usage among European Union computer users.

The figures, surveying 4000 people, showed that across the EU, whilst 86% of respondents used cloud services for personal use, less than a third (29%) used it for business purposes.

Greece and Romania had the most cloud users with 39%, higher than the global average of 24%, with Poland (25%), the UK (21%) and Austria (20%) making up the top five.

The most popular responses to the question “What type of online cloud computing services have you used?” were:

  • Email service (79%), compared to a global figure of 78%
  • Online word processing aligned with 36% of EU consumers (45% global numbers)
  • Photo storage and online games came joint third (35%) with European computer users

The global figures derive from research earlier this year by Ipsos Mori covering nearly 15000 PC users in 33 countries, about whom the BSA set out their research template.

The research also revealed a wide discrepancy between countries on how familiar they were with the technology.

Where in countries such as Greece and Romania, 24% and 20% of respondents claimed a ‘high familiarity’ with the cloud – compared to the 39% who use it in both countries – countries such as the UK and Austria had more people familiar with the cloud than actually used it.

According to Robert Holleyman, BSA president: “Unfortunately, most computer users in the EU have little understanding of cloud computing and have not yet moved to capitalise on the opportunities cloud computing offers”.

Analysis: Familiarity breeds contempt...but what about unfamiliarity?

Analysis of the survey’s methodology shows potential discussion points.

Even though the research surveyed 4000 regular PC users, it only covered nine countries – Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the UK.

It’s fair to say some big EU countries weren’t involved in this survey – however, the questions asked did correlate with the Ipsos Mori global market research to avail better results.

But could a further argument be made to infer that the figures could be higher with better understanding?

The survey mentioned various responses from participants, including answers to the question “How familiar are you with cloud computing?”

From the responses, 43% had “never heard of it”; 22% had “only heard the name”; whereas subsequently dwindling numbers knew “a little” (18%); or were “somewhat” (11%) and “very familiar” (6%) with it.

While this reveals that 35% – or approximately 1400 respondents – did have knowledge of cloud computing, it’s a fair assertion that most European computer users are still unfamiliar with the concept.

This is a prevalent trend, especially when the American-centric research from Wakefield Research for Citrix published last week is considered.

According to their study of more than 1000 American adults, responses to a slightly vaguer question – “what’s the first word of phrase that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘the cloud’?” – had very creative results.

These included such insights as “toilet paper”, “drugs” and “aeroplanes”.

While this methodology could also be brought to account, it’s surely a question of semantics – the differentiation between ‘a cloud’ and ‘the cloud’ is a significant one, after all.

Perhaps more importantly, the report found that 32% of respondents saw the cloud as “a thing of the future”. Kim DeCarlis of Citrix spoke at the time of a “wide gap between the perceptions and realities of cloud computing”.

Do these two pieces of research indicate a need for greater transparency with the definition of the cloud? Let us know in the comments...

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