More SMBs Will Pay for Cloud Services in the Next Three Years, Microsoft Study Shows

Nearly 40 percent will pay for at least one cloud service by 2014 and many will be using more than three services. Most SMBs will purchase cloud services from a local service provider.

Nearly 40 percent of small- to medium-sized businesses will pay for at least and as many as three cloud services in the next three years bought from a local service provider, according to a new Microsoft Corp. study.

The Microsoft study, entitled “SMB Cloud Adoption Study 2011, homes in on the impact of cloud computing on SMBs in the next three years. The findings reveal growing opportunities for hosting service providers to offer services such as collaboration, data storage, backup and business-class email to SMBs, the vendor said.

“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, Microsoft vice president, Business Channels, Worldwide Communications Sector.

The survey results indicate that SMBs will pay for about three cloud services, up from current levels of two services. SMBs that have been supported in the past by a local service provider will rely on that experience to determine their next trusted advisor, the research showed.

In addition, larger SMBs will be more likely to pay for cloud services, the data showed. Some 56 percent of companies with 51 – 250 employees will pay for an average of slightly less than four services within the next three years, according to the Microsoft data.

Microsoft said that within three years, 43 percent of workloads will become paid cloud services, 28 percent will remain on-premise and 29 percent will be free or bundled with other services.

“As cloud computing becomes more ubiquitous and SMBs’ existing IT becomes outdated, adoption will grow rapidly,” Limena said. “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.”

Microsoft said that the study also examined SMB adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service. Results indicated that SMBs using both services are larger, more growth oriented and interested in other services such as unified communications and remote desktop support.

The vendor pointed out that the study showed that hosting service providers have additional opportunities to offer SaaS and IaaS to SMBs.

“As SMBs continue to transition to cloud services, hosting service providers, VARs and SIs will have a major role to play as advisors and providers of IT services in hybrid environments,” said Andy Burton, Fasthosts Internet Ltd. chief executive.

“Hosting providers have expertise in selling cloud services while VARs and SIs have experience selling to SMBs,” he said.

Microsoft conducted the SMB cloud study with Edge Strategies Inc. in December, 2010. Responses were gleaned from some 3,258 SMBs that employ at least 250 employees in 16 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.

TAGS: cloud services,Microsoft,SMB,SaaS,service provider

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