Microsoft Study Says 40% of SMBs to Go On Cloud within 3 Years

Microsoft Study Says 40% of SMBs to Go On Cloud within 3 Years

Microsoft, a major player in cloud computing with its Azure platform, released its global “SMB Cloud Adoption Study 2011” last week. The study was conducted to investigate the impact of cloud computing on small and medium businesses (SMBs), and the results are quite encouraging.

The study, conducted in conjunction with market research firm Edge Strategies, polled 3,258 SMBs with 250 or fewer employees in 16 countries – Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.

The results said that 39% of SMBs expect to be paying for one or more cloud services within three years, an increase of 34% from the current figure of 29%. Additionally, these firms will be using 3.3 services on the average, up from fewer than two services today. Larger firms showed a marked preference for cloud computing than their smaller counterparts, with 56 percent of companies with 51 to 250 employees expecting to pay for an average of 3.7 services within three years.

The study revealed that expectations of firm growth had little impact on the decision to go on the cloud. There was little difference in adoption rates between SMBs that expect to grow in the next three years (42%) and those solely focused on profitability (40%). This shows that both efficiency and scalability of cloud services were accorded equal importance in decision-making.

Also, local presence of cloud computing service providers was found to be an important factor in client firms’ choices (82%). The study estimates that 43% of workloads will become paid cloud services, while 28%  will remain on-premise while 29% will be free or bundled with other services.

I had earlier written on the benefits for small firms going on to the cloud from traditional IT setups. (See: How Small Firms Can Benefit Big From Cloud Computing (And Why They Are Not))

Cloud adoption will be gradual, and SMBs will continue to operate in a hybrid model with an increasing blend between off-premises and traditional on-premises infrastructure, for the foreseeable future,” said Marco Limena, vice president, Business Channels, Worldwide Communications Sector at Microsoft.

As cloud computing becomes more ubiquitous and SMBs’ existing IT becomes outdated, adoption will grow rapidly. Hosting service providers should consider the appropriate sales, delivery and support models to target larger SMB customers that are more likely to pay for cloud services,” he added.

By Sourya Biswas

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