There has been a noticeable increase in the number of companies turning to cloud computing to increase the cost-effectiveness of their business. It’s hardly surprising when you consider the type of benefits that the technology brings: the cloud facilitates collaboration, increases flexibility and productivity, cuts IT costs and is easy to scale for improved operational processes. What is surprising is that the most notable rates of increase in cloud computing technology haven’t been in the areas where you would expect interest to be greatest like the South East or in large conurbations like Greater London, Manchester and Birmingham. It’s the South West of England that seems to be leading the way. Business adoption of cloud computing has increased at a much greater rate here according to figures supplied by Google.
According to the report from the search giant, the number of businesses in the South West of England taking advantage of the benefits offered by cloud computing has rapidly increased in the last year. In 2011, the South West as a whole saw a 130 percent year-on-year rise in companies adopting the Google Apps suite of web-based communication and collaboration tools. Although the headline figure is slightly below the UK overall average of 135 percent year-on-year growth, many parts of the South West have seen substantial rises in cloud computing adoption over the last year that are significantly above the national average uptake.
Torquay leads the field with an increase of 212 percent, followed by Swindon with 158 percent and Salisbury with 154 per cent. While Bournemouth and Bristol are slightly lagging behind largely due to external financial considerations, they still saw a rise of 126 per cent and 107 per cent respectively, clearly demonstrating that cloud computing has reached mainstream adoption and is here to stay.
Phil Smith, MD at Business West, which provides support and leadership via the Chambers of Commerce in the South West, explained why the region is performing above many people’s expectations, stating:.
“Many small businesses in our region are benefiting from cloud computing, mainly because it drastically cuts costs by removing the need to constantly upgrade hardware, servers and software. Easier collaboration with colleagues in different locations is another benefit for many, as well as larger storage capabilities. Easy access to sophisticated online software and applications which they may not have been able to afford in the past is also one of key benefits of moving to the cloud.”
Thomas Davies, a spokesman for Google commented:
“With the maturing of cloud computing the playing field has been well and truly levelled, giving even small businesses easy and affordable access to the latest technology that allows them to compete with large and established organisations with much greater IT budgets. It also allows them to scale their businesses as they grow, and remain innovative, agile and flexible. The surge in the popularity of cloud computing among businesses in the South West is evidence of its potential to meet the demands of organisations of all shapes and sizes.”