Report: SMB Rush To Cloud Adoption Creates Service Provider Opportunities

Small and medium-sized businesses are adopting cloud services as a business model at a rapid pace, fueling a U.S. market expected to reach $15.1 billion this year, according to a report released Wednesday.

The study, performed by hosting and cloud service enablement firm Parallels, found that as SMBs expand their use of cloud services, service providers will have significant opportunities to meet their needs.

SMBs will have differing needs for cloud services, creating opportunities for service providers to recognize and address those needs, the study found. “By becoming familiar with each of these SMB audiences and targeting them with the services they need, service providers will be able to profit from this impressive ongoing growth in the U.S. cloud services market,” the report, titled Parallels SMB Cloud Insights, stated.

SMB spending in the cloud market in 2012 will be divided into hosted infrastructure, at $5.9 billion; Web presence services, with $2.7 billion; hosted communication and collaboration, including business e-mail and hosted PBX, at $2.2 billion; and business, or SaaS applications, at $4.3 billion, the report said. Small businesses without employees will spend another $1.6 billion.

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The research, released at the Parallels Summit 2012 in Orlando, Fla., said most SMBs plan to double their purchase of cloud applications over the next three years, with the size of the companies determining which applications are most important to them. Micro and small SMBs are interested in applications such as backup, file sharing and accounting and e-mail achieving, while medium businesses seek hosted PBX and phone conferencing services, according to the study.

SMBs increasingly want to move away from traditional IT buying practices of owning hardware and software on-premise, said John Zanni, vice president of service provider alliances and marketing at Parallels, in an interview with CRN. “The SMBs look to service providers to provide the cloud service because they don’t have the breadth to do it,” Zanni said.

“Instead of having a reseller install a CRM system and having to manage it themselves, it’s easier for a small business to say, ‘I’ll pay a small fee and you give me a login and you can worry about management, IT infrastructure and hosted infrastructure,’” Zanni said.

Parallels also announced Wednesday a set of products and services for service providers in the SMB market. They include:

* Parallels Automation for Hosted PBX – a phone service for SMBs with a full-featured virtual PBX enablement solution for hosting groups to launch PBX services;

* Parallels Plesk 11 Preview – a panel solution for Web Hosting, designed for next-generation hosting and cloud environments; and

* Parallels Plesk Automation (PPA) Preview – a multi-server automation solution for hosting companies using Parallels Plesk Panel.