Hype-busting study reveals the cloud does save businesses money

3 Oct 2012

Dr Kieran Conboy, senior lecturer, and Dr Lorraine Morgan, lecturer, National University of Ireland Galway

Despite the hype and claims by large software companies about the miracles of cloud computing, a combined study by Ireland’s National Software Engineering Research Centre (Lero) and NUI Galway has shown that cloud actually results in significant time savings for firms and drives down administrative costs.

The new report claims to offer the first empirical evidence globally of the benefits of cloud computing. Globally, the market for public cloud services is expected to increase by 19pc to US$109bn this year, according to Gartner.

Ed Anderson, Gartner’s cloud forecaster, predicts cloud computing is set to grow a further 100pc to be a US$207bn market by 2016.

“Despite the huge growth in cloud computing, research to date has largely been based on anecdotal evidence,” Dr Kieran Conboy at the Cairnes School of Business in NUI Galway, who is leading the SFI funded Lero research, explained.

“NUIG conducted an in-depth, evidence-based study across a number of Irish-based organisations to see if the perceived benefits stood up.”


As well as supporting previous industry claims of cost and time benefits, the Lero research also found that cloud introduces a positive shift in the way companies interact with external sources, such as customers, and in the way employees communicate with each other. “This has the potential to leverage more innovation and collaboration along a company’s supply chain,” states the report.

A critical finding of the research was that all too often, organisations view adoption in overly simple terms – either they should adopt the technology or not. Conboy commented, “We found too many organisations were making the decision based on an initial ‘go’ or ‘no go’ basis and were failing to realise that various people and parts of that organisation were making different decisions – often with very negative consequences.”

The research found different results between those “who only dip a toe in the water” compared to those who actively promote routine use of cloud and deep integration of the technology with existing organisation activities and systems.

Recognising the need to examine adoption of cloud technology at multiple levels, Dr Lorraine Morgan of NUIG said: “The tech sector has a history of hyping the next big thing. In the case of the cloud, our study suggests that many of the claims stand up.

“In view of this, it is important to explore the barriers to more widespread adoption amongst business and this will be the subject of our follow-up study,” Morgan said.

Ireland’s digital leaders will gather to discuss cloud computing and the big data revolution at the Cloud Capital Forum on Friday, 23 November, at the Convention Centre Dublin

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years