In India, SMBs’ awareness of cloud computing trails only slightly behind mature markets. Predictably, awareness is significantly higher among mid-market businesses than small businesses. However, awareness of the term increases significantly among companies with 20 or more employees suggesting interest in cloud computing jumps once businesses grow beyond a certain size. In addition, mid-market businesses with 250-999 employees have the highest awareness about cloud computing as these firms have are still building their in-house IT infrastructure and are evaluating all options to meet their IT needs. SMBs also agree largely on what the term means – about half of all SMBs surveyed agreed that the term included all of the following aspects.
- Subscribe to IT services that are hosted by third-party
- Subscribe to Servers hosted by a third-party
- Subscribe to applications hosted by third-party
- Access applications using a web based interface
- Subscribe to storage and security hosted and provided by third parties
Over the last few years, as the market has evolved and more vendors have entered the fray, a number of new terms have become commonplace each meant to either truly represent a component of the market or a marketing gimmick by some vendors to try and create and legitimize a niche for themselves. The rising sophistication of SMBs is evident in that they are at least familiar with the various terms being bandied about. This is not to say that SMBs do not differ in their views of what each term actually means.
Familiarity with the term cloud computing is rising among SMBs suggesting vendors’ evangelism activities are having some effect in terms of recognition and awareness. However, a good understanding of the benefits of cloud computing varies significantly among the SMBs. More importantly, awareness among channels that serve the SMB segment is limited with pockets of misinformation. Even if the SMBs and channels know about the benefits of cloud computing they still worry about security and data privacy.
Cloud computing has been touted as the next big thing but as far as the Indian market is concerned while there is a lot of hype and interest generated around this technology the ground realities reflect a more sobering truth: that SMBs in India are still some way off from shifting to the cloud in a big way and that the initial vendor push is more oriented to the upper mid-market businesses and large enterprises.
In India, Infrastructure, also known as IaaS, has the potential to change the way IT hardware is purchased, designed and used. With its promise of infinite scalability and a pay-as-you-go pricing model, the primary benefit that cloud IaaS services extends to the SMBs is efficiency at lower IT costs. It lowers the barriers to market growth by lowering technology costs and upfront investments. This is true both for small and mid-market businesses for many applications. The picture is substantially different for mid-market businesses and small businesses taken separately. Mid-market businesses display a greater willingness to adopt hosted infrastructure and platform solutions than small businesses which is understandable. Small businesses prefer business appliacations and industry vertical solutions. Cloud platform vendors should therefore actively seek partnerships with such vertical ISVs in order to drive utilization of their own services and data center resources.