A recently released study from Microsoft indicates cloud computing is high on your list and your adoption rates are soaring. Microsoft’s “SMB Cloud Adoption Study of 2011″ found that over the next three years, 39 percent of the 3200 SMBs surveyed in 16 countries expect to be paying for one or more cloud services. That figure represents an increase of 34 percent over the 29 percent currently paying for them. The survey also found that the number of cloud services SMBs plan to pay for will nearly double in most countries over the next three years.

Microsoft’s survey indicates that SMB cloud adoption will be gradual, and you will continue to operate in a hybrid model with an increasing blend between off-premises and traditional on-premises infrastructure. Specifically, within three years, 43 percent of workloads will become paid cloud services, 28 percent will remain on-premises, and 29 percent will be free or bundled with other services.

Regarding service providers, past experience with a service provider is important to you. Eighty-two percent of SMBs say buying cloud services from a provider with local presence is critical or important.  (A good example of the return to a small town sense of community.)

How cloud computing benefits you?

In “Cloudy days are ahead,” I mentioned several benefits of cloud computing. For starters the cost benefits can be significant because you only pay for usage of the applications and services and you don’t have to worry about maintenance or upgrades. In addition, everyone in your organization can have access to important company resources anywhere, which boosts productivity and facilitates collaboration. (See: Big Trends for Small Business). Cloud computing also enhances your competitive standing, since you have access to the same applications and services that larger enterprises do.

Here are a few other advantage

  • Scalability – You can scale services to match your evolving needs.
  •  Faster deployment: You often can start using services within hours – not weeks or months – after you sign up.
  • Device independent – You have more choice. Most web-based software and cloud services can be accessed via PCs, on tablets and over smartphones.

Cloud computing enables you to focus more on your products and services, and in turn customers, and less on maintaining company infrastructure. Given that, the promise of cloud computing is hardly ‘pie in the sky.’