Parallels Summit 2012: SMBs remain hungry for cloud computing

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Smaller businesses are leading the charge when it comes to embracing cloud computing, with the market expected to top $68 billion worldwide over the next two years.

So claims research conducted by Parallels and unveiled this week at the company's partner summit in Orlando.

Between now and 2014, small businesses are set to double the number of paid cloud applications they use.

The good news? There's a trillion dollars waiting for us if we can solve this problem of serving these very diverse needs.

"There are 148 million small businesses out there waiting to be served. The challenge we all have is that it's such a diverse market," said Parallel's CEO Birger Steen during his keynote speech at the event.

"The IT industry at large, in particular the cloud industry, has for quite some time been focused on serving to other businesses. Chasing enterprises is a tempting target because you get that press release, that trophy that says 'I sold something to a Fortune 500.' Conversely there's a lot of effort that's gone into selling to consumers.

"Those two businesses are growing and getting a lot of attention. They're simple compared to what we're trying to do. This is a challenge. How do we collectively serve 148 million customers with such diverse needs? That's the bad news. The good news? There's a trillion dollars waiting for us if we can solve this problem of serving these very diverse needs."

Steen moved on to discuss that the mid range of the SMB demographic have the biggest appetite for cloud computing.

"SMBs with less than 20 employees are three times more likely to use a cloud than on-premise server. In fact, traditional systems administrators working for a small business are no longer going to be people who hug servers in back rooms," he said.

"In Q4 last year, we had, for the first time, more instances of servers out of the SMB server room than in the SMB server room in the US. The change is happening already. The server has effectively been moved out of the server room."

Steen also used his keynote to talk about the shape the company is in.

"It's been a fantastic year for our company. We have half of the top 30 operators in the world as our customers It says that our industry, that you and we have built together these last 12 years since the company was founded, is now moving into the mainstream, into the big time. And all the biggest IT and telecom players in the world want to get in and get a piece of it," he said.

"We added more than a million new SMB customers to the Parallels ecosystem. These are businesses being served by you on our technology platform. Actually, make that one million one hundred and 68 and one because we're adding a lot more every three seconds. A truly a remarkable year."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.