Spiceworks Study Shows Slow Rise in Cloud Adoption Among SMBs

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IT business social network Spiceworks announced on Tuesday it has released the results of its bi-annual State of SMB IT survey of technology purchasing and adoption trends among small and mid-sized businesses.

The research makes a solid argument for hosting companies to take advantage of a golden opportunity in marketing and selling cloud computing services to the lucrative SMB market.

According to the survey results, SMBs are continuing to expand IT budgets, which now average $152,000 per year, as well as are increasingly adopting tablets, cloud services and virtualization.

Twice a year, the Spiceworks State of SMB IT survey investigates the latest technology purchasing, usage and staffing trends among companies with less than 1,000 employees.

This survey of 1,498 IT professionals in 100 countries was conducted during the first quarter of 2012 via the Spiceworks Voice of IT market insights program, with 62 percent of the respondents being from companies with 20 to 249 employees.

Survey highlights include IT budgets continue to increase, while new hiring holds steady. Overall IT budgets at SMBs continue to increase, growing six percent in the first half of 2012 from the second half of 2011, and 15 percent year-over-year.

The average annual IT budget for SMBs is now at $152,000, up from the $143,000 previously reported for the second half of 2011 and the $132,000 reported for the first half of 2011.

Fifty-six percent of SMBs are retaining their IT headcount and 30 percent intend to hire additional staff over the next six months.

And while cloud services and virtualization adoption continues to increase, it appears to be at a slower rate.

Cloud services are now used by 48 percent of SMBs, up from 46 percent in the second half of 2011 and 28 percent for the first half of 2011.

The top five cloud services by usage are web hosting (49 percent), email hosting (32 percent), data backup (25 percent) content filtering (24 percent) and application hosting (23 percent).

The top cloud services respondents plan to purchase in the next six months are data backup (17 percent), application hosting (12 percent), data storage (12 percent), and email hosting (11 percent).

While virtualization adoption showed signs of slowing, SMBs are
virtualizing more applications than before. Currently, 64 percent use virtualization, up from 61 percent during the second half of 2011 and the 54 percent reported for the first half of 2011.

In addition, SMBs using virtualization are now virtualizing an average of 3.1 applications compared with an average of 2.1 applications a year ago.

“Data from this recent survey confirms that the consumerization of IT is flourishing among SMBs, although opinions vary on how to manage its impact on organizations,” said Jay Hallberg, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Spiceworks. “The results also show that SMBs are spending more on technology across the board, from hardware and devices, to cloud services and virtualization. This bodes well for technology vendors serving the SMB market in 2012.”

The State of SMB IT survey included 1,498 respondents from around the world, with 47 percent of respondents being from North America, 33 percent from EMEA, 15 percent from Asia-Pacific, and 4 percent from Latin America.

Those surveyed work in organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees and are among the more than 1.9 million SMB IT professionals who use Spiceworks to manage their computer networks.

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