Many cost-conscious businesses lack only the education, not the expertise, to implement cloud computing technologies at their companies, an AMI-Partners report finds.
Worldwide small businesses (1-99 employees) represent a
"significant" opportunity for cloud services, particularly software as
a service, however, one in five small businesses currently not
using SAAS report their businesses are too small for such
applications, a study from midmarket IT research firm AMI-Partners
found. The report discovered significant subsets of these small
businesses believe that they do not have the appropriate expertise to
make the migration to hosted applications.
Although cloud computing has been available for years, it is only
recently that affordable solutions are being presented to small
businesses, and those midmarket companies are eager to employ
cloud-based solutions. According to AMI research, worldwide SBs have
allocated 18 percent of their total software spending for SAAS-related
software, a figure similar to that of MBs (medium businesses) with 100 to
999 employees. However, there are still hurdles for SMBs (small to
medium-size businesses) to overcome in order to reach this
critical market, the report found.
"Cloud-related information and communications technology spending
is projected to account for a sizeable portion of total worldwide SMB
ICT spending in 2010. Cloud providers are racing to deliver functional,
cost-effective solutions to small businesses worldwide," said AMI
senior associate Michael McDonald. "Small businesses have been laggards
in adopting new technologies that fall outside their comfort zone,
often looking to larger firms as test cases."
McDonald said cloud service providers targeting SBs should understand
that educating the decision-makers of these companies on the ease and
simplicity of migrating to SAAS applications is essential, and channel
partners should be armed with simple case studies demonstrating these
benefits. "The larger issue is the lack of knowledge regarding cloud,"
McDonald said. "Even though some budget has been allocated for SAAS
products, we see a gap between planned and actual spending. Small
businesses have the capital available to make significant advances in
the cloud; however, they are still uncertain as to how a cloud solution
will benefit firms of their size."
SMB preferences for cloud-based application bundles, their price
sensitivity and purchase channel preferences are further explored in
AMI's upcoming Worldwide SMB Cloud Services Study. The study provides
coverage of platforms and devices, IT infrastructure services, business
productivity applications, business management/line of business
applications and UC (unified communications). A company release said
the research would be available later in 2010.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.