SINGAPORE--The need to reduce hardware costs drove most cloud initiatives in Asia-Pacific last year, but more companies are now looking to cloud computing to support unpredictable workloads as well as increase their business and IT flexibility, according to a new study Wednesday.
Conducted by Springboard Research and commissioned by Microsoft, the survey revealed that 16 percent of respondents in the region were considering cloud computing deployments to help support unpredictable workloads. Comparatively, this was followed by the need to reduce hardware infrastructure costs, at 13 percent, while 11 percent of respondents pointed to the need to reduce staffing or administration costs.
Michael Barnes, vice president of software and Asia-Pacific research at Springboard Research, said at a media briefing held here Wednesday that the result was consistent across large enterprises and small and midsize businesses (SMBs).
The survey, conducted between end-December 2010 and February 2011, polled 883 IT and business decision-makers in eight key regional markets including Australia, Singapore, South Korea and Indonesia. China, India and Japan were excluded from the survey according to Microsoft's instructions.
While the need to reduce IT hardware costs drove most of the cloud projects in 2010, Barnes noted that more companies are now veering toward business drivers.
For Singapore, in particular, supporting unpredictable workloads and increasing business and IT flexibility were the top two drivers of cloud projects, indicating that organizations in the country have confidence cloud computing will improve their business processes, he said.
SMBs still lagging
The Springboard analyst said SMBs were still lagging behind enterprises in terms of cloud implementations. Only 14 percent of companies with fewer than 50 PCs said they currently utilize cloud offerings, while 36 percent of enterprises with more than 500 PCs said likewise, the study revealed.
Additionally, 68 percent of companies with fewer than 50 PCs indicated they had no plans to adopt cloud computing while only 38 percent of enterprises shared similar sentiments.
Barnes questioned if the lack of cloud uptake signaled a "wasted opportunity" on the part of SMBs, as the cloud platform would allow them to leapfrog existing IT implementations that larger companies would have spent much money and time setting up.
"[The lack of interest] could boil down to the SMB's lack of confidence in their knowledge of the cloud. We find that the larger the organization is, the higher its confidence in cloud is," he explained. He attributed this difference to the fact that IT professionals among enterprises were more likely to be sent for training and education to equip them with cloud-related skills.
Industry watchers ZDNet Asia previously spoke to corroborated Springboard's survey results, especially the Singapore findings. They attributed the low uptake of cloud among SMBs here to a lack of internal expertise and the reluctance to embrace new IT offerings.
To boost cloud adoption, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner shared that the company is looking to offer more customized subscription plans and cloud services to attract SMBs into its fold.
Citing the example of Office 365, Turner told ZDNet Asia in an earlier interview that Microsoft volume licensing scheme, which allows users to pay per user instead of per desktop, was designed to help the software vendor reach the SMB customer base. This sector is "hugely important for Asia" because the SMB market is driving growth in the region, he noted.