At the Microsoft Hosting Summit in March, we announced the results of an annual study of small and midsize businesses (SMBs), looking at their attitudes toward and adoption of cloud services. The press release can be found here, but today we wanted to go a little deeper in to some of the results and their implications for our hosting partners.

Some of the interesting findings from the study revolved around the behaviors and attitudes of SMBs that currently pay for some cloud service beyond webmail, vs. “next wave” users – i.e. those who expect to in the next three years. As you might expect, current users place more of an emphasis on cloud services and believe the cloud will become more important for their business in the future. However, next wave users are just as likely to believe that cloud computing can save them money (58% believe this is so) and allow them to be more innovative (36%) and responsive (29%).

Given that 48% of SMBs surveyed were next wave users vs. only 30% current users, this represents an enormous opportunity for hosting providers to reach these SMBs and deliver on the benefits of cloud computing.

Below are a few more insights into the thoughts of next wave cloud adopters in the SMB market:

  • ·         Their top preference for a technology provider is their ISV, but 66% identify a service provider as their first or second choice
  • ·         They are less informed about technology in general, but half think it is critical to their success
  • ·         They need personalized support for setting up new services

All of these findings point back to hosters, who have the technical know-how to get enterprise-class services up and running for their customers, and the experience acting as a local, trusted provider. Microsoft is invested in serving the needs of SMBs through our partners and we invite hosters to visit Microsoft.com/hosting to learn more about the solutions, licensing and programs available to Microsoft partners.

For more information on the Drivers and Inhibitors to Cloud Adoption for SMB study, you can view research results here.