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The diffusion of internet-based cloud computing among private companies has picked up over recent years, with higher uptake within large firms compared to small businesses. 

In 2014 22% of companies in OECD European countries relied on cloud computing services, with shares ranging from 50% in Finland down to 6% in Poland. In most countries, uptake is higher among large businesses–close to 40%–compared to small or medium-sized enterprises–around 21% and 27%, respectively. Only in Switzerland and the Slovak Republic are adoption rates higher for smaller companies than large ones.

Businesses more frequently invest in cloud computing services with a high level of sophistication, such as finance and accounting software, customer relationship management software and computing power, than less sophisticated services such as emails, office software or file storage.

Cloud computing brings many benefits: quick and easy access and deployment, higher flexibility and potential savings in information and communication technology costs. The cloud also fosters increased collaboration between teams when working on shared documents and enables teleworking. Yet, questions remain over potential environmental downside impact–cloud computing uses energy to remain “always on”–and digital security breaches.

Visit www.oecd.org/internet/ieconomy/

©OECD Observer No 307 Q3 2016