Survey questions the uptake of cloud in New Zealand
A semi-annual report for MYOB yields a surprising resultBy Simon Eskow, Auckland | Monday, 08 October 2012
A recent regular survey of more than 1000 companies in New Zealand suggests that only 14 percent of organisations are using “the cloud” to conduct business.
More than three-quarters of those surveyed said they did not use the cloud, and eight percent said they did not know, according to a statement released by accounting software solutions provider, MYOB, which sponsored the research.
“You can’t go anywhere in the business-to-business world and not see it mentioned,” says MYOB director Julian Smith. “But business owners don’t know what the cloud is, they don’t read the content, and even when it is described to them, it’s not at the top of the mind. What this tells me is that business owners don’t care about the technology, they just want the benefit.”
The research sampled 1005 businesses weighted to reflect the size distribution of businesses in New Zealand. Sixty percent of the respondents, for example, were sole propietors, Smith says.
The question put to respondents was “Do you use cloud computing for busines software, and IT infrastructure, and data storage services provided via the internet where you don’t run your own server?”
The larger the company, the more likely it was to respond affirmatively to the question. Twenty-one percent of businesses with 21 to 199 employees said their organisations were in the cloud.
From Smith’s perspective, while resellers are familiar with the terminology and the concepts behind the notion of cloud computing, in its various forms, it’s the smaller organisations that want to know only what a technology will benefit their companies.
“The classic model for traditional technology providers is they create the technology, get the public relations team out there to do the marketing, and then ship it around the channel and talk about it as part of a particular category,” Smith says. “It’s possilbe that people that sell cloud services are talking about the fact that something is in the cloud, but not focusing on the benefits that s supposed to deliver to the end client.”
This is especially true, Smith says, for the least cloud-enabled category of all, the sole proprietorships.
“If you want to get mom and pop business owners to take up the benefits of the cloud, we need to communicate in a way that resonates with them,” Smith says.
Smith says that a large preponderance of small businesses were found to not even have a website, which led to MYOB teaming up with Westpac bank offering business owners a free web space as part of a promotion to be seen by potential customers.
According to the survey, even businesses with websites were more than likely not to consider themselves cloud enabled. Fewer than one-quarter of businesses with websites reported using cloud services.
“We tech companies have a challenge for the smallest companies,” Smith says. “We’re passionate about the benefits, but if all the content is about the nuts and bolts and not the benefit, that doesn’t resonate with mom and dad biz owners. They just want to know how their lives are easier in a paricular way.”
The survey queried business owners that were not MYOB customers. The sample was drawn from the Fly Buys Household Panel.
Recently I checked the routing of a well known local cloud provider that claims to host their software & data in NZ, guess what, the routing showed the traffic was all to USA servers.
The Christchurch earthquake showed advantages & disadvantages of cloud computing, with flaky or non-existent internet for many local companies, they had no access to their data, while others who had traditional onsite data storage had no access to their offices/data. In my view the lesson was that we need a combination of both to properly manage "disaster recovery".
Posted by Robert Martin at 12:11 on October 13, 2012
Interesting survey - and typically we find ourselves responding to a question which is vague, perhaps irrelevant# a comment posted which asks 'is it more of a reality that some of the 86% don't realise they are using the "cloud" is perhaps looking at the question from a more accurate perspective.
Julian Smith is correct in stating that business owners do not know what cloud is#
So what is Cloud? Today Cloud can be anything you want it to be - private or public, using your resources or subscribing to hosted services on a pay-per-use (on a time frame or per user log-on licensing basis).
Perhaps the modern Enterprise will blend the two - and no two enterprises will ultimately be identical to any other as a consequence?
Let us re-dress or perhaps re-phrase the question - to be what percentage of employees choose to collaborate or mobilise to operate in their daily work habits? Then perhaps we might come a little closer to unearthing the more accurate and relevant statistical quantifying measure.
The issue of Cloud uptake is NOT driven by those who believe they drive Enterprise systems / services etc#
It may come as a surprise to many IT Managers, CTO's etc - but the uptake of Cloud - whether as a Public cloud service or Enterprise is not driven from the Top Down#but rather from the bottom up.
What determines cloud uptake today are the users - through wanting to function more efficiently / effectively for the sake of their role. Take for example the developer who wants access to some resources to install test and prove an application under development. He/she may well purchase a cloud hosted resource which can be spun-up in a matter of minutes and which is sufficient to prove functionality of the new application at a cost of perhaps a couple pf hundred dollars - or will he/she go through the time / effort to ask IT for provisioning and be left to wait months for it to happen - IF it ever does?
Take for example the Sales Manager who because of heat from the business owners, MUST ramp up Sales and get the Sales team to be making twice as many prospecting calls. So the Sales Department mobilises using (say) Salesforce.com to be more flexible, more collaborative while still being productive from a caf# hotspot or a 3G laptop dongle - even using their own (preferred) devices. Collaboration between Sales and support personnel can be rolled out within a day using a hosted CRM to access calendar, scheduling, planning and sharing ideas etc while accessing enterprise email for the wider business needs - all while on the move via their smartphone etc.
Finding budgets from Enterprise to provision and permit these capabilities is difficult and time wasting - and I choose my words carefully.
It managers and CTO's drop the ball when it comes to streamlining work-flows and reducing the costs of delivery because they are precious about their power and control - all of which has a place but NOT to the detriment of the modern business needs of quickly adapting to meet the changing demands of its own people, and those of their customers at the same time. Conflict can arise from business owners and the managers of IT who are NOT adapting to the changing needs quickly enough. I do not know of many CTO's who want to make themselves redundant, so instead they function as gatekeepers in the name of protecting the interests of the business objectives (security) while also ensuring that their own careers are justified and assured.
The potential for cloud is threatening many aspects of the Enterprise IT department, primarily because today, we can provision up to many thousands of Servers, Virtualise operating environments, provide the resources for all the Enterprise Applications within a secure Network, while also permitting transports seamlessly to other Cloud Services for ease of use - accessing mobile applications from any device to collaborate with peers and associated business groups all at the same time. We can spin up a test environment within minutes, and charge for access on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis. We can transition those new applications into production with a simple posting of the relevant webpage. Security brokerage can be centrally managed and encryption can be bundled - access controls can be turned on or off at will, and even remote wiping of any / all Enterprise information residing on a personal laptop can be managed without too much difficulty.
Say nothing of Disaster Recovery for critical business data, Cloud now also offers a complete Business Continuity capability, and live transitioning of functioning O/S and applications from one data centre to another can be managed seamlessly, even between different countries IF necessary.
Part of our business model is to provision for hot-spare Operational Environments here in New Zealand in the event of a catastrophic Data Centre failure. An unlikely scenario in normal day-to-day operations, but nevertheless 'priceless' IF it ever becomes a sudden required - in which case they could be running a live fully useable and up-to-the-minute current operational environment within about 60 seconds.
Our target market is NOT New Zealand however - all because of what the local market lacks in their understanding of what Cloud actually is#
Dr David Carrera PhD
Cloud Pod Corporation
Posted by David Carrera at 01:02 on October 8, 2012
As the survey claims 86% of business "dont use the cloud" or is it more of a reality that some of the 86% dont realise they are using the "cloud".
Where is their email hosted? are they aware that their employees use dropbox, online photo sharing sites, or use other services that Mr Smith and his company seem to neglect.
Posted by Alan at 11:25 on October 8, 2012
I can not see why a company would put their entire business at risk when a server in say LA goes down because the Air Con unit failed. You should ask Continental Motors in Auckland what happened when their overseas cloud parts database went down for nine working days. I sold my Jeep 3 weeks later
I will not have a car I can not get parts for.
My question to you is how many businesses would suffer the same fate if the cloud went down or say some Govt or country pulled the plug.
I believe in the local cloud not the overseas storm clouds
Posted by George Marr at 11:12 on October 8, 2012
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