Despite some evidence to the contrary, smaller businesses are leading cloud computing adoption, some would argue. That is not so surprising. Smaller businesses were faster to adopt hosted PBX (News - Alert) services, compared to larger enterprises, as well.
The reasons are probably quite practical. Enterprises have a more-complicated adoption environment, and are less likely to embrace new services that might not have the stability or reliability enterprises often require.
Smaller businesses have a simple adoption process. If it provides the same features as the current solution, at less cost, it wins. If the new solution offers much-higher utility, for slightly-higher prices, it still wins. And adoption can occur quite rapidly.
Enterprises arguably have a harder time computing the return on investment. "The big problem with calculating the ROI of cloud projects is that IT departments aren't even able to do cost-based accounting for the services we already offer on premises," according to Gary Audin (News - Alert), Delphi principal. "So how can we compare a new way of doing business?"
That is less an issue for small businesses that might be able to compare current costs for a single app in both current and cloud-based modes.
On the other hand, from a communications service provider perspective, the revenue upside from cloud computing might largely come from access services, despite the opportunity to participate in the hosting and data center portions of the business, plus retail operations selling platform, infrastructure or application portions of the business.
Not to be overlooked, though, is the impact on consumer broadband markets, since consumers routinely use cloud services, even if they do not "directly pay" for use of such services. Nevertheless, those apps drive purchases of broadband, and better broadband, across mobile and fixed network domains.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi