Mid-sized companies call cloud overrated; more than half have no cloud plans at all

Focused on a specific company profile, survey highlights surprising variance in cloud micro-markets

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Mid-sized companies in the Midwest that are heavy users of Microsoft enterprise business products are also far less likely to use cloud computing for anything more than to outsource management of troublesome Microsoft business apps, more likely to have no cloud projects underway at all, but just as likely to put both virtualization and cloud computing at the top of their priority list for the next 12 months.

The survey from SWC Technology Partners in Chicago, surveyed 210 IT and business managers at companies among the base of its customers or prospects – that is, companies in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, half of which have between 100 and 2000 employees.

The value of a survey like this is its specificity; it doesn't reflect the perceptions or intentions of companies in companies all over the world whose political and economic situations are so different from one another it's surprising if they have anything in common at all.

It also doesn't focus on U.S.-based multinationals, or the largest U.S.-domestic corporations, or geographic regions dominated by industries such as medicine or finance, in which the minimum level of IT automation required by federal regulation is higher than companies in manufacturing, transportation or other verticals.

Chicagoland is hardly the bucolic small-town America idealized by people who have never lived there. It's busy, industrial and as globally connected as companies based on the coasts.

Companies based there tend not to be the kind that have giant networks of self-owned datacenters and IT development operations crewed by graduates of nearby computer-engineer manufactories like MIT or Stanford.

They do have a lot of the giant data centers that house many of the outsourced, co-located and cloud-based data-center services used by those data-center-centric companies on the coasts, however, which makes it that much more interesting that they don't really use the cloud for much of anything important.

Only 3.7 percent of respondents to the SWC survey said they'd adopted a cloud-computing strategy for the whole company.

That's lower than most other surveys, which estimate rates of cloud services adoption between 37 percent and 50 percent, consistently find half or more of mid-sized and large companies surveyed consider cloud a strategic technology option, and estimate the percentage of companies intending to adopt cloud services within the next 12 months as high as 75 percent.

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