Is Cloud Collaboration a Good Idea that's Growing Slowly?

Are cloud office applications talked about more than they are used? That seems to be the conclusion of a recent Gartner report that estimates that only 8 percent of enterprise office workers are using productivity apps in the cloud. As InfoWorld columnist David Linthicum writes, that might mean you shouldn't hold your breath waiting for more office apps to appear in the cloud.

But I think cloud office apps might pick up more quickly than Gartner and others may think. Gartner's report predicts the office apps in the cloud usage will rise to 33 percent by 2017. But I doubt that figure takes into account the inevitable improvements that will happen over the next 3-4 years in areas like mobile devices and cloud/web apps. I bet there is some new app yet to be invented that will make cloud collaboration work a lot better than it does now; you can bet the existing players are already moving in that direction. Security and synchronization, which are still barriers to cloud use, are also getting better, faster. So I expect cloud use to accelerate faster, not slower.

There is always danger of overhyping trends, especially in an area as potentially disruptive as cloud computing. But I don't think of "cloud" as some kind of special way of computing or collaborating. I think it is much more fundamental than that, it is simply the way things will be done in a more-mobile working world because it just makes so much sense. Are you part of the 8 percent now? Are you going to be soon? Let me know if I'm right or if my head is in the clouds.

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