The Cloud: You're using it more than you think

The term ‘cloud’ isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2015, worldwide Software as a Service (SaaS) application revenue will reach $22.1 billion; and according to Forbes, 84% of all new software will be SaaS-based at the end of that same timeframe.2

With SaaS revenue in 2011 being reported at $12.3, these industry forecasts indicate a steep ramp in the number of future cloud computing and SaaS solutions. What is perhaps  more surprising is that this increase is taking place despite the fact that the concept of the cloud is still in its relative infancy.

You don’t have to understand the cloud to use the cloud

Here is an interesting thought: Despite these increases, despite the unprecedented rise in cloud solution adoption, and despite the sheer number of marketing campaigns all touting the advantages  – it appears that the wide majority of Americans are still confused as to what the term “cloud computing” actually means.

Just look at the results of some eye-opening surveys over the last 12 months:

  • 54% of online adults say they never use the cloud – when in fact 95% of those who think they’re not using the cloud actually are (Citrix Survey)
  • 29% of Americans think cloud computing involves an actual cloud. (Wakefield Research Survey)
  • Cloud computing ranks second on a list of the decade’s most confusing technical buzzwords that people use but don’t quite understand. (Global Language Monitor)

So why all the cloud confusion?

Perhaps the biggest reason this confusion exists is because there is not one definitive example of cloud computing. Instead from large private infrastructures to scalable publically accessible software, the cloud comes in all shapes and sizes.


Examples of the cloud are far ranging - including:

  • Web-based email
  • Shared document, spreadsheet and collaboration applications
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings
  • Social networking sites
  • Banking and financial services applications

In short, the cloud is out there – and it certainly is not going away any time soon. Instead, as the services, software and applications hosted in the cloud continue to become more diverse, what we may discover is that the cloud becomes harder to identify.