SMBs are embracing cloud-based services

Cloud-based applications are forcing SMBs to balance IT requirements with employees’ needs for anytime, anywhere access to information, according to Spiceworks.

“The survey results shows that cloud-based services continue to be an integral way employees access information, communicate, and collaborate during their work day,” said Kathryn Pribish, Voice of IT program manager at Spiceworks. “Over the last year, we’ve seen that more companies are taking notice and formally adopting solutions that meet the ease of use and accessibility demands of their employees while maintaining corporate security, cost and compliance requirements.”

Hosted email poised to surpass on-premise deployments; Microsoft Office 365 surging

  • Hosted email deployments showed growth of four percent over the last year, from 42 to 46 percent, with another five percent planning to migrate to a hosted offering in the next six months. This growth comes at the expense of on-premise deployments, which fell three percent over the same period, from 52 percent to 49 percent.
  • While Google still leads in hosted email deployments, Microsoft Office 365 is surging among SMBs. Office 365 usage has nearly doubled over the last year from 16 to 30 percent. During the same period, Google usage fell two points to 32 percent.

Dropbox shows wide lead among vendors as file sharing usage continues to grow

  • Of the technologies evaluated in the survey, cloud-based file sharing services remained the clearest example of how employees are using services on their own. However, IT departments are moving to approve file-sharing services within their organizations.
  • Fifty percent of the IT professionals surveyed state that employees are using file-sharing services on their own, an increase of 17 percent over last year. Of those, 93 percent state their employees are using Dropbox. Vendor preference is more balanced for the 24 percent of respondents with a company-approved file sharing service. Dropbox leads with 40 percent, up from 28 percent last year, followed by Google Apps at 24 percent and Box at 10 percent. Companies with approved solutions have risen five percent in the last year.
  • As expected, security/compliance, accessibility and cost top the list of considerations SMBs take into account when selecting file sharing services.

SMB IT departments moving quickly to approve web conferencing, collaboration applications and productivity suites

  • Widespread availability of affordable, high-speed Internet access has driven the use of web conferencing to connect remote teams. In fact, 51 percent of IT respondents say they have an approved web conferencing vendor or are planning to approve one in the next six months, with 49 percent of these respondents using Cisco WebEx. Of those respondents who state that employees are using web conferencing technologies on their own, vendor preference is evenly divided between Cisco WebEx and Citrix GoToMeeting.
  • A similar dynamic is taking shape among the 30 percent of companies who have an approved collaboration tool or are planning to deploy one in the next six months. Of these companies, Evernote is used by 41 percent while Basecamp is used by 19 percent. Evernote also leads among respondents who state that employees are using collaboration tools on their own. Of these, 76 percent say their employees are using Evernote, 15 percent are using Basecamp and five percent are using Zoho Projects.
  • Finally, 48 percent of SMBs are currently using or plan to use cloud-based productivity applications such as Office 365, Google Apps, or Zoho in the next six months. Among those companies, preference is evenly divided between Microsoft Office 365 (60 percent) and Google Apps (59 percent). However, Google Apps holds a significant lead among those respondents who state their employees are using a cloud-based productivity suite on their own. Of these, 78 percent say their employees are using Google Apps while 41 percent say Office 365 is preferred.

The survey included more than 500 global respondents from a variety of industries including manufacturing, education, IT service providers, healthcare, retail and government. Forty-three percent of respondents were from North America and 57 percent from EMEA.

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