Andy McLoughlin manages the growing U.S. presence for UK-headquartered cloud collaboration service Huddle and is responsible for corporate development and product strategy. 

Cloud computing has been one of the most talked about technologies for the last few years, and its impact on enterprise IT looks set to grow. Analyst firm Gartner has identified cloud computing as one of its top 10 strategic technology trends for 2012 and predicts that by 2015 the public cloud services market will be worth $176.8 billion.

However, more than half (52 percent) of CIOs at large enterprises across America questioned for a study by TheInfoPro revealed that internal change and learning were major barriers to cloud project success. Well, hope is often found in the most unlikely of places — enterprises need only look at how government organizations in the U.S., U.K and across Europe are successfully adopting the cloud for inspiration.

Governments worldwide are continually under pressure to do more with less. When it comes to maintaining the highest levels of public service, while reducing costs, technology has a vital part to play, and working towards ambitious spending cuts can nurture both creativity and innovation. Cloud computing is just one technology that has been embraced by government to help it achieve its efficiency goals.

With benefits such as flexibility, scalability, no upfront costs, lower total cost of ownership than legacy ICT systems and secure anywhere, anytime access, it’s not hard to see why the cloud has proved so attractive for government. In the U.S., a cloud-first policy has been adopted, which Obama’s administration hopes will reduce the government’s 2,100 data centers to 800 by 2015. In the U.K., the Cabinet Office’s latest strategy states that cloud computing should account for half of central government’s new ICT spending by the end of 2015.

However, the benefits of cloud computing for government go beyond simply driving cost savings. In many cases, the cloud is transforming the way people work together across organizations, geographical boundaries and political territories. Currently, Huddle is being used by more than 70 percent of U.K. central government departments, numerous regional governments and many healthcare organizations, enabling people to get their jobs done and improving how they work with colleagues.

At VentureBeat’s upcoming CloudBeat event (November 30-December 1), you’ll have the opportunity to hear from Michaela Drummond, Information Management and Technology Practitioner of the UK Meteorological Office. The Met Office is the UK’s National Weather Service. It has a long history of weather forecasting and has been working in the area of climate change for the more than two decades. Employing more than 1,700 people at more than 60 sites around the world, the organization was faced with the issue of enabling its workforce to collaborate on scientific documents across the firewall. On a daily basis, people needed to work with other UK government departments, partners and stakeholders. Already used by other government departments, the Met Office deployed Huddle, and it wasn’t long before it had replaced SharePoint for project management, task management and file sharing.

The fact that Huddle can be set up in hours and used immediately meant it was ideal for supporting teams working with the Rwandan Meteorological Service, providing training to meteorologists and sharing their forecasting expertise with Rwandan weather experts. In less than a few hours workspaces had been created for staff, and Huddle has now been used to facilitate collaboration by Met Office staff in Rwanda for more than a year.

This is a great example of how the cloud can revolutionize the way people work. To hear more of Michaela’s experience first-hand, come along to her session.

CloudBeat 2011 takes place Nov 30 – Dec 1 at the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City, CA. Unlike any other cloud events, we’ll be focusing on 12 case studies where we’ll dissect the most disruptive instances of enterprise adoption of the cloud. Speakers include: Aaron Levie, Co-Founder & CEO of; Amit Singh VP of Enterprise at Google; Adrian Cockcroft, Director of Cloud Architecture at Netflix; Byron Sebastian, Senior VP of Platforms at Salesforce; Lew Tucker, VP & CTO of Cloud Computing at Cisco, and many more. Join 500 executives for two days packed with actionable lessons and networking opportunities as we define the key processes and architectures that companies must put in place in order to survive and prosper. Register here. Spaces are limited!