Cloud adoption among small- and medium-sized businesses is expected to increase over the next three years, as SMBs turn to the technology to leverage potential cost savings and other benefits, according to a recent Microsoft study.
The study found 39 percent of SMBs plan to adopt one or more cloud service by 2014. Added to the 29 percent of SMBs already using cloud services, this represents a sizable increase of businesses planning to utilize the cloud to access on-demand software, storage and other cloud-based services.
The study found larger companies are more inclined to deploy cloud computing solutions than smaller businesses. According to the report, more than half of surveyed businesses with 50 employees or more plan to use at least three cloud computing applications in the next three years.
Many businesses already on the cloud plan to increase the number of services they use – some more than doubling the number of services, the study found. This enthusiasm for the technology is reflected by an earlier study by Osterman Research, which found cloud spending is expected to increase 14.2 percent this year, expanding from $23.31 per employee in 2010 to $26.63 in 2011.
Marco Limena, vice president of business channels at Microsoft, said SMB cloud adoption is being spurred by a need to replace existing and outdated IT solutions. As this trend continues, service providers will likely begin altering their sales and support models to cater to SMBs, Limena stated.
Microsoft’s findings appear to be in line with an earlier study conducted by Austin, Texas-based Spiceworks. According to that study, 14 percent of SMBs were using cloud services during the first half of 2010, with an additional 10 percent expecting to adopt the technology by year’s end.