Everyone seems to be talking about cloud computing and its myriad benefits to small businesses, large enterprises and even individuals, but not everyone is deploying it. Change takes time. And the cloud is something that many still don’t fully understand.

A survey of 572 business and IT executives, conducted by IBM, revealed that only 13% of businesses have “significantly implemented cloud-based offerings” in their organisations. IBM expects that number to increase to 41% over the next three years.

What makes people reluctant to adopt cloud solutions for their businesses? Could it be a lack of understanding of the cloud and how it operates? Could it be cost? Could it be that the change would be time consuming, and they’re just procrastinating? Any one of those questions could be answered with a yes by any business leader who hasn’t yet deployed the cloud in his organisation.

Lack of experience with the cloud wasn’t a factor among the business and IT executives surveyed by IBM. Nearly three-quarters of them said that they had used cloud technology in some way. Most people have used the cloud in some way, probably without even knowing it. Downloading e-books from Amazon is using the cloud. As anyone who has the Kindle for PC app can attest, in order to read an e-book, the person must be logged in to his Amazon account, otherwise the book is unavailable. It’s stored away and password protected in the cloud.

Although only 13% of respondents said they had already implemented cloud deployments in their companies, 90% said they “plan to be involved in cloud activities.” Those who have implemented the cloud in their organisations cite “increased collaboration with external partners” as their primary reason for doing so. Other factors included new and enhanced revenue streams and the pay-as-you-go model.

When it came to the importance of the cloud, business and IT executives differed greatly. A mere 38% of business executives listed cloud as a “leading priority” for their organisations, whereas 62% of IT executives said that cloud is a “leading priority for their IT strategies going forward.”

Undaunted by the low percentage of business and IT executives who have fully adopted the cloud into their organisations, IBM has high hopes for the future of cloud computing, predicting that the cloud industry will grow 22% annually to become a $241 billion market by 2020.