Not in the Cloud Yet? Join the Crowd
On September 16th of 2011, the Wall Street Journal published an article written by John Bussey entitled “Seeking Safety in Clouds”. The focus of the article was the accelerated adoption of Cloud technology by small and medium sized businesses (SMB). Mr. Bussey cites Ray Boggs, of the tech-research group IDC, indicating Cloud adoption for small businesses had increased from roughly 7% in early 2010 to 13% by September 2011. And, medium sized businesses had moved from 17% to 36% over the same period. That means small businesses are already well within the “early adopter” phase of the traditional marketing adoption curve, and medium businesses are deep within the “early majority” phase. If true, this is extraordinary and means that those not adopting the Cloud better get moving.
But, before you get freaked out, it’s important to point out that Mr. Bussey used the phrase “some Cloud activity” to characterize the level of Cloud involvement of those businesses surveyed by IDC. Mr. Boggs indicated in an interview with Cloud Magazine on December 8, 2011 that “some Cloud activity” describes four key application areas, stating “they’re very obvious and natural”. Mr. Boggs went on to say “if you’re already using Web hosting, then your online presence is handled remotely. And, that’s actually a Cloud application. If you’re using hosted email - there’s another Cloud application. If you use Mozy or somebody else for online backup and storage, that’s a Cloud application. And, the fourth one is sales force automation or CRM [customer relationship management] solutions.” According to Mr. Boggs, if the survey respondents were engaged in any one of those four Cloud applications, they were qualified as having “some Cloud activity”.
To be clear, if you host your website and/or your email some place like Brinkster or Rackspace - then you’re in the Cloud. If you backup your computers with a service like Carbonite or Mozy, you’re in the Cloud. Or, if you use something like Salesforce.com or BatchBook for CRM, you’re in the Cloud. When looked at that way, the numbers referenced above aren’t that surprising.
What would be surprising is having large numbers of SMB migrating their on-premise servers to the Cloud (Infrastructure as a service or IaaS) or engaging in High Performance Cloud Computing (HPC2). This movement would be more indicative of a deep commitment to the Cloud. And, according to Mr. Boggs, “that’s still a little further down the road”. Mr. Boggs indicated “at this point, it’s still an on-premise and hosted combination - a hybrid. So, it’s become a more of an incremental, practical transitioning, something that supplements your existing resources in a very efficient way.” While IDC does not have any numbers on the adoption of the hybrid approach, the fact is we’re still at the very early “innovators” stage of true Cloud adoption. This is in line with the observation of Cameron Sturdevant, who said “...if your company has considered IaaS but has not taken the plunge, you’re in a pretty big crowd.” in his article IaaS Enters Adolescence, eWeek, November 21, 2011. The term IaaS refers to Infrastructure as a Service.
Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine
You wake up and check your email on your bedside iPad — that’s one app. During breakfast you browse Facebook, Twitter, and The New York Times — three more apps. On the way to the office, you listen to a podcast on your smartphone. Another app. At work, you scroll through RSS feeds in a reader and have Skype and IM conversations. More apps. At the end of the day, you come home, make dinner while listening to Pandora, play some Xbox Live, and watch a movie on Netflix...
From 'The Web is Dead, Long Live the Internet' August 2010
All of the apps referenced by Mr. Anderson are actually in the Cloud. But, this was before the Cloud buzz had hit! In fact, the article only mentioned the word “Cloud” once out of its 4,945 words. The point is, many of us have been in the cloud for a number of years - we just didn’t know what to call it. And, that’s why the Wall Street Journal published surprising statistics that indicated significant adoption of Cloud technology.
So, you can relax! You’ve got time to research the impact of the Cloud on your business, and put a transition plan in place. Cloud Magazine will act as your guide, keeping you up-to-date on the latest trends and issues regarding the Cloud, and its impact on SMB.
Written by John-Scott Dixon