Consumerisation of IT drives adoption of cloud-based business applications

By Adam Weinroth

Spiceworks has announced recently a new study sponsored by EMC highlighting the use of cloud-based file-sharing, email and productivity applications by small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Responses underscore how the consumerisation of IT is manifesting itself in the daily lives of SMBs and the new challenges IT departments are forced to address as the line between personal and professional technologies blurs. The report, “The Spiceworks Cloud Barometer,” is available for download at http://www.spiceworks.com/cloudreport.

The results reveal the ongoing struggle between IT departments and the users they support. For example, cloud-based file sharing services, such as Dropbox, Box, and others, are easy to use and employee-friendly. However, IT departments remain concerned about the security, compliance and reliability challenges these services can present.

Survey highlights include:

Despite IT concerns, employee demands drive widespread cloud-based file sharing deployments within SMB environments.

    • Thirty-three percent of the IT professionals surveyed say employees are using file-sharing services at the office on their own with most selecting Dropbox (87 percent). However, vendor preference isn’t as clear for the 28 percent of respondents who have or plan to approve a file-sharing vendor in the next six months. While Dropbox still leads with 28 percent, 10 percent prefer Box and, due to the large number of cloud services available, the majority of respondents (37 percent) would select a different solution altogether.

    • North American SMBs are more likely to have an IT-approved vendor for file sharing than their peers in EMEA, 25 percent versus 12 percent respectively.

    • More than 75 percent of respondents highlighted data accessibility as the primary advantage of file-sharing services. However, 73 percent also cited a lack of control and security issues as their single biggest concern.

On-premise email solutions continue to be preferred by SMBs, but hosted email is gaining ground.

    • Fifty-two percent of those surveyed have deployed an on-premise email solution, while 42 percent have chosen a hosted environment. An additional six percent plan to migrate to hosted email within the next six months.

    • Microsoft dominates the on-premise email market, but Google holds a commanding lead among cloud-based providers. According to the survey, 34 percent of those with a hosted environment are using Google, while 16 percent have selected Microsoft Office 365. Fifty percent of respondents have selected another hosted option, which includes hosted instances of Microsoft Exchange.

Cloud-based productivity suites offer end-user and IT benefits but SMBs have been slow to adopt.

    • Thirty-five percent of survey participants are currently using or plan to use a cloud-based productivity suite for word processing, spreadsheets and other tasks. However, 64 percent are not currently using nor plan to use a cloud-based offering.

    • For those that have deployed or are planning to deploy a cloud-based productivity suite, Google Apps (48 percent) and Microsoft Office 365 (43 percent) are the clear favorites.

    • North American companies are more likely to adopt cloud-based productivity suites, with 38 percent currently using or planning to adopt in the future, versus 30 percent of respondents in EMEA.

“The two million IT professionals in Spiceworks are managing the transition to cloud computing each day,” said Adam Weinroth, executive director of Vendor Marketing at Spiceworks. “Many of the complex technologies once reserved for IT departments have been simplified, so today’s tech-savvy employee can install their own cloud-based applications in minutes. This wave of consumerisation is forcing IT departments and technology vendors to rethink the way they design, build and implement technology solutions.”

Methodology

Spiceworks surveyed 323 SMB IT professionals in North America and EMEA to better understand how cloud services are impacting three key business applications: file sharing/storage, email and productivity software. Fifty-two and 48 percent of respondents were from North America and EMEA respectively, and 93 percent of those surveyed work at companies with fewer than 250 employees. Respondents represent a cross-section of industries including education, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, finance, IT service providers and others.

About the author

Adam Weinroth is the Executive Director of Vendor Marketing for Spiceworks, which is transforming how $1 trillion worth of technology products and services is managed, marketed and sold each year in the small and mid-sized business (SMB) market. In his role, he’s helping hundreds of the world’s top technology brands capitalise on their social business strategies. Prior to joining Spiceworks, Adam served as vice president of Strategic Marketing at Demand Media (NYSE:DMD), a leading content and social media company that informs and entertains one of the Internet’s largest audiences. Previously, Adam served as vice president of marketing for Pluck, a leading social media platform for brands and publishers. Adam came to Pluck via the acquisition of Easyjournal, a successful community blog publishing platform created by Adam in 2001.

About Spiceworks

Spiceworks™, the world’s largest social network for IT, connects 2 million IT professionals with more than 1,000 technology brands. By combining a Facebook-like community with free IT management software, Spiceworks helps businesses to discover, buy and manage more than $350 billion worth of technology products and services each year. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Spiceworks is backed by Adams Street Partners, Tenaya Capital, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Austin Ventures and Shasta Ventures. For more information visit http://www.spiceworks.com.

Follow Spiceworks on Twitter: http://twitter.com/spiceworks. Connect with Spiceworks on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Spiceworks. Search for available career and networking opportunities on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/companies/spiceworks.

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