BSA Study finds general lack of awareness about cloud computing in Europe

Business Software Alliance (BSA), released yesterday a global study on the adoption of cloud computing  [FR] amongst PC users globally.  While their results showed that cloud computing is generally taking hold amongst PC users in most regions, at first glance, Europe looks to be lagging a bit behind.  More specifically, only 1 PC user in 4 states that they use cloud-based services and applications, which lags the global average of 34%.  In addition, when asked about their familiarity with cloud computing, 43% of European PC users had “never heard of it”!  In France these trends were even more stark as they found that only 19% of French PC users state that they use cloud-based applications and services and only 10% state they have a high familiarity with cloud computing.

Although these types of figures might seem alarming, it seems the bigger challenge here is general lack of awareness amongst Europeans about cloud computing rather than reluctance on their part to use cloud applications and services.  Apparently, many European PC users are using cloud applications/services, but don’t appear to know that they are.  For example, 36% use online word processing, 29% use online file storage, and 79% use email services such as gmail, yahoo and hotmail.  These figures are pretty consistent with the levels of usage globally.  So, it seems like the takeaway from these results is that consumers in Europe aren’t particularly apprehensive about using cloud-based apps/services, they are simply unclear as to what a cloud-based app/service actually is (which is understandable).   I suppose the question is does consumers’ lack of awareness really matter as long as they’re starting to use these services?  Sure there’s plenty of room for improvement on increasing usage of many of these services (particularly services such as online/cloud-based storage), but this seems like an opportunity rather than cause for concern.
In presenting their conclusions from the study, BSA also mentioned that the European Commission will be releasing their strategy this fall around the promotion of cloud computing in Europe (we’ve also discussed this here).  One of the things that the Commission will be touching on is how to stimulate the adoption of cloud-based services across Europe.  Perhaps the European Commission’s work will help on the awareness point which, hopefully, will drive faster uptake of cloud-based apps and services.