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And solution providers are seeing midsized companies run toward the cloud. Atlanta-based cloud solution provider Cloud Sherpas is seeing business boom in smaller companies, so much so that it launched a dedicated practice for SMBs. Currently, Cloud Sherpas has hundreds of clients it considers midmarket customers and many more that are SMBs.
"While our business has grown rapidly by focusing on mid-market and enterprise accounts for the last three years, we've seen adoption in the SMB sky-rocket," said David Politis, Cloud Sherpas' vice president of SMB solutions.
Politis said smaller companies had been lured to the cloud by cost-savings, but lately it appears they're not willing to sacrifice functionality for cost. Cloud Sherpas, for example, is seeing smaller companies signing on with Google Apps to boost productivity while no longer having to support on-premise e-mail, while also reducing costs.
And midmarket and smaller businesses are also wooed by speedy time to deployment and swift adoption, versus enterprise deployments that can be more complex and can take much longer. For example, Politis said Cloud Sherpas can move an SMB client to Google Apps in days, midmarket clients take weeks, and a large enterprise deployment could take months. Politis added that smaller companies are also able to adopt a larger number of cloud apps in a shorter period of time and are often more "experimental" with what cloud apps they'll try.
Cloud solution provider Model Metrics works frequently with SMBs and midmarket companies in addition to its typical Fortune 500 and Fortune 2,000 customers. The company says it has witnessed first-hand the big benefits smaller companies are getting from the cloud.
"I think the smaller companies have more to gain from the cloud since they don't have the IT depth or infrastructure of a large company," said John Barnes, CTO for Chicago-based Model Metrics. "I also agree that cloud security is better than the security that an SMB or midmarket company would have on its own. It makes a lot more sense to plug in something like a Salesforce.com to meet a sales or marketing need than build something from scratch or to try and host it themselves."
Barnes, however, said that smaller companies may not be ready for private clouds over public clouds, as private clouds require a massive expense around hardware, software and expertise.
"I would argue that they are much more likely to use a public cloud provider or SaaS company to fill a need," he said.