Europe might have dragged its heels in Cloud adoption when it’s compared to the US but that’s all about to change. And with the take-up comes real opportunity.
Around a quarter of companies in Europe are expected to be using the Cloud by 2014.
Why, you might ask. Well, it’s a good question. The easy answer is because it’s cheaper. Of course with the economy being the way it is companies are looking for any avenue they can to save some cash. But that’s only part of the story. One of the most attractive features is the fact that firms can roll out new business processes cheaply, easily and swiftly. It means businesses are able to grow and it doesn’t cost a lot of money to take a risk and try something new.
Many believe the Cloud is evening out the playing field. There are big companies, like Amazon, in the US that have been dominating the market. What the expansion in Europe represents is the opportunity for other firm’s to grow into the gap. Contenders like Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and the like can use the new geographical area as a new market place.
The opportunity, though, isn’t just for big companies and brands; the opportunity is there for small firms as well. The basic principles of the Cloud allow for scalabity. It’s one of the fundamental offers from Cloud providers, whether a business is a one man band, an SME or a multi-national they offer a bespoke solution. Whether looking for a starter kit or to streamline their communications with something like Hosted Exchange or Sharepoint or looking for a wholesale restructuring of their business then that’s what can be offered. Equally that flexibility can be applied to the Cloud itself. It is a levellator, allowing businesses to play on the same field as big companies, big multi-nationals and captains of industry.
That’s all well and good but what does that mean for European expansion. The economic crisis and the Euro have garnered a lot of press coverage and probably hours and hours of discussion and debate. At the heart of it is the principle of partnership. Whether in the single currency or not there’s a collaboration at the heart of Europe and the growth of the Cloud will only encourage that. It allows firm’s to work regardless of geographical boundaries, allowing them to trade not only in products but ideas working in different time zones but together, creating virtual offices. What that means for even independents as well as SMEs is that they can take their offer abroad, grow and expand allowing them to export and become a player in new territories.
It can be easy for small firms to look at the idea of European expansion as a pipe dream, something they would never be able to achieve. But the Cloud is making it not just an idea but a reality, something tangible that can help them drive the economy forward and make their businesses a big success.