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Grow Your Business Technology

Right Vendor Helps Cloud-Bound SMBs Skirt Stormy Weather

Storm clouds

Small and medium businesses (SMB) are increasingly turning to cloud-based business applications to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce costs and complexity, a new survey shows. The critical factor in making sure that a move to the cloud doesn't wind up raining on a company's parade, the survey also found, is partnering with the right IT vendor.

Dell Cloud Business Applications teamed with market research company Techaisle to survey trends in small-business cloud application. The survey of more than 450 U.S.-based companies with between 50 and 999 employees found that 69 percent prefer to purchase cloud applications from a single trusted vendor because deployment services and application integration are critical for success.

Selecting a single IT vendor to guide migration of applications to the cloud eliminates a major pain point for SMBs: managing multiple vendors. Up to 50 percent of survey respondents noted significant challenges in keeping track of different service-level agreements, while up to 48 percent of companies said that explaining their business to each vendor was tedious and time-consuming.

[5 Best Cloud-Based Apps for Business]

The benefits of using cloud adoption closely match the reasons why SMBs chose the cloud in the first place, the study found. Nearly 9 out of 10 (87 percent) of the adopters said that cloud business applications provided a competitive advantage and 85 percent felt they could now compete with larger enterprises on an equal footing.

Cloud application adoption will continue to rise this year, the survey found, with SMBs that currently use cloud applications saying they plan to add an average of three new cloud business applications. Customer relationship management (CRM) has the highest penetration of any application at 55 percent, an increase of 34 percent from 2010.

While SMBs have historically not been able to take advantage of CRM systems because of the high cost and complexity of on-site installations, the cloud has put CRM within the reach and budget of SMBs.

SMBs told the surveyors that the benefits of migrating business applications to the cloud include low total cost of ownership, fast deployment time, simplified access from a browser, single sign-on and automated feature and functionality upgrades.

"Cloud adoption does not end with signing up for an application," said Anurag Agrawal, Techaisle CEO. "As SMBs dive deeper into their options for utilizing multiple cloud business applications, they are quickly realizing the need to partner with a trusted cloud solutions vendor and develop a comprehensive, scalable plan for implementation. The results of our latest cloud-related survey show that research, deployment and integration are key factors for success when making the migration to the cloud, and working with one trusted IT vendor who will lead a company through their entire migration is proving to be a powerful option for small and medium businesses."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.

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