Study finds more than 52 percent of organizations turning to the cloud for business growth

REDMOND, Wash. May 29, 201 Companies and organizations are increasingly turning to the cloud as a strategy for business growth, according to The New Era of Hosted Services, a Microsoft-commissioned study conducted by 451 Research LLC. As they look ahead to the next two years, more than 52 percent of organizations identify the cloud as beneficial for either growing their business or realigning their organization to a new company strategy. Along with this drive for growth comes significant opportunity for Microsoft hosting partners as customers look to grow their business with a hybrid cloud consumption model.

Study: The new era of hosted services
Customers are increasingly turning to the cloud for business growth, representing a major opportunity for hosting service providers.

“The next two years will be the era of hybrid cloud, with 68 percent of customers planning to adopt hybrid cloud models — up from 49 percent today,” said Marco Limena, vice president, Hosting Service Providers Business, Microsoft. “In addition, the survey found that as customers begin to move their IT environments into the cloud, software is sticky and brand is even more important.”

In fact, the survey revealed that two-thirds of software-as-a-service customers use software online that they had previously installed on-premises. This highlights a significant opportunity for hosting service provider partners to offer customers Microsoft software they trust in a cloud environment. Currently, 30 million x86 servers are operating worldwide, and approximately 22 million servers are running on the Windows platform and Windows-based applications. In addition, Microsoft Exchange has more than 78 percent share of insourced email in businesses larger than 25 seats across the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K.

“IT professionals were very clear in their response to this survey — cloud-based computing will play an important and growing role as part of their IT portfolios moving forward,” said Michelle Bailey, vice president, Datacenter Initiatives and Digital Infrastructure, 451 Research. “The study clearly shows a strong customer preference for full-service hosting solutions over the next two years, with substantial investment increases in security services, database, shared servers, backup and recovery, and managed hosted desktop. As this market matures, customers are selecting hosting providers based on trust and their ability to grow with customers’ future businesses.”

Microsoft is committed to helping customers with this transition to the cloud and has built a large portfolio of products to support this effort, including infrastructure solutions such as Windows Server, Microsoft System Center, Microsoft SQL Server and Windows Azure, as well as applications such as Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Office and Office 365. Microsoft also believes in giving full flexibility to customers when it comes to where to deploy these technologies, and its strong alliance with its community of hosting service providers around the world ensures a seamless experience for customers. Microsoft has added 4,500 new hosting partners in the past 12 months, making its hosting community one of the largest of any vendor.

The New Era of Hosted Services study was designed and conducted in conjunction with 451 Research ( in spring 2013. The research includes responses from more than 1,500 customers across small, midsize and large organizations in 10 countries across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Japan, China, India, Australia and Brazil.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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