For much of 2012, Cloud Computing trends have been identified by looking at practice in one country or continent.
Yet analysing what is happening in Europe or America offers little insight or uniformity as to practice around the globe. It’s easy to assume everyone using the Cloud is doing it the same way. Yet every continent has a different economy, business practice and range of priorities for its businessmen.
Examining global trends in Cloud Computing, examining how its being adopted and used across the five continents can feed into the debate of the key trends for 2013.
In Europe the focus is on the potential changes from the Cloud. Technology hubs have been sprouting across the continent over the last decade, in London and Berlin for example. The expansion of the EU and the single currency have led to an inherent adoption of collaboration and shared working practice. It’s therefore not surprising that this would spill over into the Cloud. IT staff increasingly see Cloud Computing as an inevitable step in business. The independent cloud is the most popular model and much of what is used is web-based and hybrid. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a search happening for a more permanent solution but it does mean staff are more keen to embrace change and the opportunity offered by the Cloud.
In America, much of the interest has stemmed from the potential financial impact of the Cloud. Adoption has been driven by the hub, and that’s government. It’s very much a top-down approach with federal offices exploring new and different technologies to use, which gradually influences businesses lower down the chain. The risk of focusing on making things cheaper isn’t all positive though. There’s research ongoing into the Pay-As-You-Earn model and also a tendency to look on the Cloud as a free resource. Technological development and innovation is key to development in the US but this focus on reducing costs might have a detrimental impact in the long run, devaluing practice.
The growth of the Chinese and Indian economies over the past decade has been a dominant narrative on global business. So as this generation of hugely successful businessmen approach maturity, how are they using the Cloud? Ironically for what has often been viewed by the West as the capital of outsourcing, many businesses are looking to reduce infrastructure costs and the costs of IT departments. They want to enjoy the same technology as their competitors abroad but aren’t looking to increase costs. The western stereotype that Asia’s economic boom is driven by cheaper labour costs doesn’t look likely to change.
Africa has been earmarked as the continent with the greatest potential for economic expansion in the next generation. What it needs is not just a technological infrastructure but a man-made one. The focus for Cloud Computing here is from SMEs and start-ups. The Cloud offers a chance for entrepreneurs to grow and expand without having a huge investment.
Australasia is adopting the most interesting model for Cloud Computing; the private cloud represents 20% of adoption. And the practice doesn’t stop there. The drive here is for a supplier led infrastructure, with a growth in server farms and the like. It means developers are driving adoption and innovation, rather than businessmen. It’s an exciting trend which suggests many see the Cloud as having a real opportunity to re-model economic growth.
There are a lot of different trends being measured across the globe but if you’re sitting behind your desk researching an investment in Exchange hosting, what does it mean to you? Practice in Sydney or Washington might not affect you directly but it shows that the adoption of the Cloud has the potential to make the world even smaller. Embracing global trends and practice offers the opportunity to grow a client base outside of geographical constraints, to explore different research and ideas and to try different techniques to see what works for you and your company.