British businesses outpace European rivals in race to embrace cloud

Cloud computing is increasingly being harnessed by firms in the UK to cut costs and optimise productivity, enabling the nation’s businesses to earn praise in a new European Commission report when compared with their continental contemporaries, according to the Inquirer.

Among organisations in other EU states the rate of cloud adoption currently sits at 13%, which is surprisingly low given the apparent maturity of this type of IT solution. Meanwhile, in the UK a significantly larger 22% slice of those operating in the commercial sector have decided to jump on this particular technological bandwagon.

The Digital Economy and Society Index, (DESI), in which these figures are presented, measured the current state of play in all EU nations across a range of crucial areas, including digital skills, business IT and the ways in which the internet is used by average people.

In terms of the cloud, analysts looked at the services that businesses are harnessing from a range of different parts of the marketplace. This includes public-based SaaS (software as a service) as well as hardware-centric private cloud setups.

Although businesses in the UK may be well above average in terms of cloud adoption, the country only managed to achieve sixth position overall when it came to how widely the cloud is used. When looking at all of the metrics considered as part of the DESI, Britain scrapes into the top 10 in seventh position.

Year on year, the UK has actually fallen down the digital league table suggesting that other countries are forging ahead with ambitious new plans that are leading to a reshuffle.

Scandinavia leads the pack once again, with Denmark heading up the current index rankings. Finland is in second place and Sweden in a close third. Thankfully, the report goes into the areas in which the UK is currently lacking in comparison with its highly positioned counterparts.

Interestingly, the price of broadband is not especially competitive in Britain, with 16 other EU nations managing to outdo the domestic marketplace in this respect. Furthermore, criticism was levelled against the UK as a result of the fact that Brits tend to consume far less news online than their neighbours in the rest of Europe.

The good news is that the UK’s lead in terms of e-commerce has not been diminished, as it ranked top in the study for this metric. It was also determined that there is now more social media use here than anywhere else, with this type of activity making rapid gains in the past 12 months alone.

British businesses were singled out for failing to make use of modern billing solutions and RFID services, ranking towards the bottom of the table in both instances. But this may be a reflection of the differing trends which are at play across the continent.

Report spokesperson, Andrus Ansip, said that the best way for countries to enhance their position in the DESI was to invest more money in developing connectivity, improving digital skills and making the telecoms market as competitive as possible.

He said that this not only meant that money needed to be spent in these areas, but that politicians also need to make repeated, regular commitments to raising awareness and pushing national cultures towards digital tech adoptions. Without this, it could be possible for the UK to fall further behind while other nations forge ahead.

Cloud computing has become increasingly important in recent years, but with the minority of British businesses using it effectively, more work is needed to change this state of affairs and encourage adoption.