The storm clouds that are gathering on the business horizon are the first gusts of a cloud computing front that may rewrite the rules of corporate computing. But small businesses remain unconvinced that they will find a silver lining in those clouds, a new survey says.
Nearly half of small business owners said they do not believe that cloud computing will help reduce their information technology costs , according to a survey of more than 1,000 independent business owners conducted by The Small Business Authority, a distributor of business services and financial products.
Only 20 percent of respondents thought they would see any savings at all, while nearly a third thought the jury was still out on savings.
Email is the most important software application for small businesses, the survey showed, followed by Web applications/ecommerce, sales generation software, customer relationship management, database management and storage and backup .
When it comes to Apple's new iCloud services, Steve Jobs' magic touch didn't carry over for small businesses. Only 15 percent of survey respondents said that would be the cloud computing system they would be likely to use.
Microsoft, which just launched its Office 365 cloud-based productivity service, got the nod from 42 percent of the respondents, followed by VMWare and Amazon. Twenty-nine percent of business owners chose "none of the above" options for cloud computing, a choice that came in second.
"It appears that despite the popularity and 'rockstar' appeal of Apple's products, most businesses still rely on Microsoft's products and software to operate on," said Barry Sloane, president and CEO of The Small Business Authority. "Email and ecommerce are the business applications of importance to most small businesses and it is evident that business owners are starting to learn more about the benefits of cloud computing as well as utilizing this new technology."