Microsoft global "SMB Cloud Adoption Study 2011" research revealed that 39% of SMBs expect to be paying for one or more cloud services within three years, an increase of 34% from the current 29%. It also finds that the number of cloud services SMBs pay for will nearly double in most countries over the next 3 years.
The findings show an increasing opportunity for hosting service providers to profit in the cloud from offering services such as collaboration, data storage and backup, or business-class email. Some key findings include following:
- SMBs paying for cloud services will be using 3.3 services, up from fewer than two services today.
- Past experience with support from a service provider is a key driver of service provider selection among SMBs. 82% of SMBs say buying cloud services from a provider with local presence is critical or important.
- Larger the business, the more likely it's to pay for cloud services. For e.g., 56% of companies with 51-250 employees will pay for an average of 3.7 services within 3 years.
- Within 3 years, 43% of workloads will become paid cloud services, but 28% will remain on-premises, and 29% will be free or bundled with other services.
It also indicates that in most countries, cloud service adoption isn't limited to SMBs that see themselves as fast growers. The study showed little difference in adoption rates between SMBs that expect to grow in the next 3 years (42%) and those solely focused on profitability (40%).
Growth companies want a scalable environment that can meet their expanding needs, with an affordable, pay-as-you-go pricing model that eliminates the need for over-investment in IT. SMBs that want to maintain their size, but want to become more profitable, seek cost-effective, efficient solutions that match their needs for predictability and low overhead cost. Cloud services can serve both sets of criteria.
The study also looked at adoption of software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and found that SMBs adopting both SaaS and IaaS services are larger, more growth-oriented and more interested in additional services, such as unified communications and remote desktop support. This provides an opportunity for hosting service providers to offer both SaaS and IaaS in order to acquire and retain high-value customers and maximize revenue per customer.