Telford called attention to two areas of particular interest to him and to IBM going forward: Cloud computing and business analytics. 70% of midsize firms have started a business analytics / intelligence implementation or will soon. Two out of three companies have kicked off a cloud project or are on the road to one.
With definitions of the cloud still hazy to some, it merits mention that cloud computing, software as a service, and virtualization were listed as separate project types in the survey. The response rates of ongoing or imminent IT plans for the three categories were notably similar: 66%, 65%, and 67%, respectively.
Whether its infrastructure or applications, Telford said that the decision to move certain technology needs off-site can be a function of the number of people required to manage it internally relative to company size.
"One of the things we do is we look at cloud adoption by workload, because we believe different workloads are perfect for cloud, others it may be a while," Telford said, pointing to collaboration and data backup as two areas where midsize businesses tend to drive cloud adoption. "Midmarket companies, the more people they hire for IT, the fewer people they can hire to do whatever their business is, whatever their industry is."