A recent infographic (below) by JESS3 in collaboration with Microsoft Office 365 states that cloud adoption is steadily increasing amongst SMBs from 14% of SMBs using cloud software in 2009 to a predicted 35% in 2012. By most accounts the hype surrounding the emergence of the cloud should come to fruition next year with many reports finding even higher figures for cloud adoption among SMBs (Spiceworks suggest the figure is already at 46%). SMBs have been a key part of the emergence of the cloud, contributing greatly to the success of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) companies such as Salesforce.com.
Why is the cloud so comfortable for SMBs?
SMBs have much smaller IT budgets than the larger companies and thus, in many cases, simply can't afford a large initial CapEx outlay. Cloud solutions do not require the IT personnel or infrastructure of traditional IT solutions and can often compliment any pre-existing IT, perfect for the 42% of SMBs which don't have an IT department and those with little IT infrastructure. SMBs often have less bureaucracy and more flexibility and requirements are likely to fluctuate. With true cloud based solutions (SaaS), the number of licenses can be adapted each month with no long term commitments. SMBs are more susceptible to cash flow problems but with SaaS they are able to pay-as-you-use. Similarly cloud solutions are highly scalable and licenses and users can easily be added as the company expands. Unlike many of the larger companies SMBs aren't burdened by pre-existing legacy infrastructure and thus migration to the cloud is usually much simpler.
Returning to the infogaphic 98% of those questioned said technology was key to success and this in part seems to explain the increase cloud adoption as companies leverage the benefits of cloud computing to try and gain a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the competition.
Within the BI sphere true cloud solutions have opened up the market to SMBs, making BI a viable economic option where they may have previously been priced out. With the ease-of-use and pricing, Bime is perfect for SMBs and allows them to get true value out of their data.
BONUS INFOGRAPHIC 1! On a similar theme Mashable recently published an infographic based on a survey commissioned by business technology company CSC to find out businesses' "motivations behind their move to cloud computing systems and its effects on their businesses". One of the most interesting statistics is that SMBs face less workforce resistance to cloud adoption (perhaps because as mentioned earlier, they are not burdened by legacy infrastructure and so are more open to new ways of doing things). Find the full infographic below.
BONUS INFOGRAPHIC 2! This final infographic, produced by NovelASPect, again illustrates some of the advantages for SMBs adopting cloud computing. They quote an interesting figure from CRN that SMB spending will reach $100b by 2014.