Dropbox the winner as consumer cloud products thwart CIOs

Dropbox homepage

Employees are increasingly turning to consumer cloud services despite the best efforts of IT managers, with European workers particularly keen to distance themselves from their tech departments.

Previously, all adoption cycles were led by IT. But they wouldn't have rolled out something as quickly as Dropbox.

So claims Spiceworks, which has published researching showing 33 per cent of companies believe staff are using personal storage products, with Dropbox being the overwhelming choice.

The Spiceworks Cloud Barometer poll also found that 28 per cent of respondents were looking to move to a consumer cloud service, with 37 per cent keen to find a non-Dropbox alternative.

According to Adam Weinroth, Spiceworks executive director of vendor marketing, the increased acceptance of consumer products has changed the game for IT departments. "Previously, all adoption cycles were led by IT. But they wouldn't have rolled out something as quickly as Dropbox," he explained.

Weinroth said the take-up of consumer products by end users is something that should be taken seriously by IT managers and CIOs. "Some are starting to look at what employees are using and using that a starting point for what products they should be using," he added.

The survey also found that hosted email was fast catching up on on-premise servers. Just over half of respondents used on-premise, but six per cent said they plan to migrate to a hosted system within six months.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft dominates the on-premise email space but it's not so clear-cut when it comes to hosted mail: Google has 34 per cent of the market here but Microsoft still wins out with the remainder opting for Office 365 or hosted Exchange.

Weinroth said the trend was definitely for hosted email and a move towards Google. Spiceworks didn't survey the reasons for the choice, but Weinroth was happy to speculate on the reason for the move.

"It's the nature of consumerisation which means that employees have more of a voice. It used to be that you used what you got, that's no longer the case," he said. "I think Google wins out here because they're natively internet products."

Despite the apparent clash between IT departments and users, Weinroth said savvy CIOs could learn from the experience. "If you see that some significant part of your employees are adopting software, that gives you more information as to what software you should be using," he said.

"We can look at some of these employee-chosen software almost as unsanctioned pilots."

Max Cooter

Max Cooter is a freelance journalist who has been writing about the tech sector for almost forty years.

At ITPro, Max’s work has primarily focused on cloud computing, storage, and migration. He has also contributed software reviews and interviews with CIOs from a range of companies.

He edited IDG’s Techworld for several years and was the founder-editor of CloudPro, which launched in 2011 to become the UK’s leading publication focused entirely on cloud computing news.

Max attained a BA in philosophy and mathematics at the University of Bradford, combining humanities with a firm understanding of the STEM world in a manner that has served him well throughout his career.