Over half the Australian small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) operating online have claimed not to understand what 'cloud computing' means.
Some 3,404 SMBs were surveyed between May and June 2010 in the inaugural Melbourne IT eBiz Review (pdf).
Seventy-four percent of respondents said their businesses did not use cloud-based services, while 11 percent didn't know if they did. Only 46 percent said they understood what 'cloud computing' meant.
Melbourne IT's review comes as the domain name registrar prepares to introduce a vCloud Express cloud computing service based on VMware and EMC systems.
But according to the eBiz Review, only 15 percent of SMBs planned to invest in cloud technology this financial year. This dropped to six percent for SMBs not already using cloud services.
Most businesses arguing against cloud adoption said they did not see the business need or benefit. Others were unclear about the concept, felt that cloud computing still needed to "prove itself", or were concerned about security and reliability.
"It's clear that many small businesses are not blinded by the hype around cloud and want to see clear proof of benefits before they decide to change the way they run their IT to a cloud model," said Damon Fieldgate, Melbourne IT's SMB eBusiness Solutions executive general manager.
Among existing cloud users, however, 65 percent said that they would pay for cloud technology again this financial year.
Fieldgate said the tendency for reinvestment should prompt SMBs to "take another look at cloud computing to see if it could enhance their operations."
Cloud computing was most commonly used for e-mail (63 percent), storage (55 percent), CRM (34 percent) and desktop office applications (22 percent).
The same applications topped the list of cloud technology that respondents expected to purchase in the coming year.