May 01, 2012, 7:26 AM — While Google is pitching Google Apps as an ideal productivity solution for enterprises, a large majority of its early adopters are small businesses.
A survey of more than 50,000 Google Apps administrators conducted by the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps finds that 69% of early adopters are businesses with between one and 10 employees and another 21% have between 11 and 50 employees.
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Only 3% of Google Apps early adopters have more than 500 employees.
Cloud Alliance says it shouldn't be too surprising that small businesses comprise the vast majority of early adopters since "smaller companies have less red tape, allowing them to test and adopt new technology more easily." The survey found that large enterprises were much more likely to be concerned about security and privacy before adopting Google Apps, as more than one-quarter of businesses with 200 or more employees said that security and privacy were their biggest concerns, while around 17% of businesses with fewer than 200 employees said the same.
Cloud Alliance also found that tech companies represented a plurality of early adopters, accounting for 31% of all Google Apps administrators. Cloud Alliance chalked this up to the fact that "tech users are more likely to trust new technology and be early adopters" than other companies that are more averse to risk. Other industries represented among Google Apps early adopters including advertising and marketing (11%), construction and architecture (6%), and education, nonprofits and retail, each of which accounted for a 5% slice of Google Apps early adopters.
When it comes to the reasons for adoption, 30% cited enhanced collaboration and productivity capabilities while 19% cited cost savings over more traditional on-premises enterprise apps. Other popular reasons for adoption included having cloud-based storage, backup and recovery options (12%); the need to more mobile access to enterprise apps (11%); and increased flexibility in IT infrastructure (11%).
And finally, the survey found that small and midsize businesses tend to stick with Google Apps once they adopt it, as 54% of SMB respondents said that they've been using the software for at least a year and 33% say they've been using it for more than two years.