Cloud computing has much to offer Irish SMEs

25 Mar 2010

The much-hyped concept of cloud computing is a compelling IT innovation for the Irish business community, although it lacks maturity in a number of areas, a new white paper on cloud computing has concluded.

Entitled ‘Cloud Business’, the white paper was produced by both cloud computing vendors such as Google, IBM, Salesforce and Microsoft and cloud computing customers such as McCormick MacNaughton, elan, Jones Engineering, Kepak, and is written specifically for Irish SMEs and enterprises.

The white paper was driven and shaped by market research commissioned by the Irish Internet Association (IIA) in August 2009, which discovered that 54pc of respondents did not have a clear understanding of cloud computing – how it works and the advantages, efficiencies and savings that it can bring to Irish businesses.

The white paper addresses three core issues:

– Cloud computing and its ‘fit’ for Irish SMEs

– Challenges to adoption, namely, security, broadband reliability, performance and general commercial concerns

– Interrogation of the benefits of the major selling points of cloud computing – cost efficiency, globalisation, environmental benefits.  

A greatly hyped innovation

“Cloud computing is a greatly hyped innovation,” explained Gerry Power of Sysco and chairperson of the working group. “This white paper has been prepared to go beyond this hype and assist businesses in the critical evaluation of cloud computing for their operations. We have taken a pragmatic approach to get beyond the hype – by questioning the perceived benefits in the context of Ireland and also addressing all the major obstacles.”

The working group said it is confident these issues will be resolved as more and more companies trial and execute cloud applications, and as new standards, particularly security standards, are introduced.

Communications Minister Eamon Ryan welcomed the publication of the white paper: “The Irish Government has identified cloud computing as a key driver of our economic renewal. Not only does this emerging technology afford our ICT sector huge opportunities, but it has the potential to transform the way we, in Government and in the wider economy, do business.”

‘Cloud Business’ is a free publication for IIA members or can be purchased online for €295 for non-members.

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