If executives in the cloud computing business drifted off to sleep on a plane or train and dreamed of survey results that would make them happy -- and managed to avoid Leonardo DiCaprio -- they probably would see results along the lines of those released in the real world by Microsoft and Edge Strategies.
The reason the executives' reveries would be made real is because the top three reasons SMBs use the cloud are each compelling enough to stand and drive the business on their own. The story on the results at Connected Planet focuses on the fact that cost-at 63 percent-was the third most common reason.
The other side of the coin-and in this case, both sides are good-is the two leading reasons both are compelling in their own right. The most cited reason, at 77 percent, was that software could be kept up-to-date. The second, at 71 percent, was that people can leverage the cloud to use applications from anywhere. (Though the story doesn't say so, the methodology almost certainly was to compute the percentage of respondents who list a particular reason in their top -- probably three -- responses.)
More on the survey-including the prediction that the percentage of SMBs using the cloud will grow from 29 percent to 39 percent during the next three years-is available at the Microsoft site. An earlier Microsoft survey, released in January, also lauded the cloud. In that case, it was for both large and small businesses.
The happy slumbers of cloud vendors for SMBs certainly would continue if they dreamed about the results of a survey run by Spiceworks, which InformationWeek describes as "an IT-oriented social network." The story offers a long list of numbers, all of which are positive, for the SMB sector in general. It isn't until the middle of the story that the cloud angle emerges from amidst the, well, clouds:
Around 28% of SMBs in the survey said they're using cloud services, double the rate reported in a similar survey Spiceworks conducted in mid-2010. The company projected cloud adoption to hit 42% by mid-2011. Web hosting topped the list of cloud services -- 39% of SMBs host their websites in the cloud, with another 14% planning to do so by midyear. Email (32%), backup and recovery (25%), and applications (29%) were also popular.
The numbers are very good for cloud computing and SMBs, a topic about which I wrote a feature in February. Numbers go up and down, however. The truly positive takeaway is that the reasons the numbers are up -- the ability to allow better, more flexible and less expensive performance -- are all compelling and likely to stay relevant once demand pent up during the recession is satisfied.