Monday, November 8, 2010

Small Businesses Ride the Cloud

Cloud services are currently one of the hottest topics in the IT world, and it’s no wonder—Gartner projects this sector’s revenues will exceed $150 billion by 2013.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been the most aggressive segment to adopt cloud services. As they typically have less-complex IT needs, fewer legacy applications, and less IT support than larger enterprises, SMBs are often happy to hand over the delivery and operation of IT to third parties, freeing SMBs to focus on running their businesses. Research by McKinsey confirms this, finding that SMBs with fewer than 250 employees are more than twice as likely as larger companies to adopt subscription or on-demand technology services.

To date, much of the research and analysis on cloud services has focused on market sizing and the technology. Little emphasis has been placed on understanding customer needs and buying behavior. In particular, there is limited understanding of the needs and perspectives of SMBs, and how service providers (SPs) can be successful selling to this rapidly growing and attractive market.

Cisco IBSG undertook its SMB Cloud Watch survey to better understand customer needs and strategies for success in the U.S. and German SMB cloud services markets. SMB Cloud Watch was an online survey of 510 IT buyers in the United States and 502 IT buyers in Germany, representing SMB customers with 5 to 250 employees. The survey sought to understand which cloud services these customers use now, which ones they will employ in the future, and from whom they would buy these services. In addition, Cisco IBSG wanted to understand the specific role and opportunity for service providers, and how they might differentiate their cloud offers to SMBs.

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