Brand awareness counts for only so much when it comes to cloud computing.
That was one of the conclusions of a new survey of enterprise IT buyers from Palmer Research and QuinStreet Enterprise.
The survey examined the purchases and planned purchases of 341 qualified IT buyers, and found that private cloud deployments in enterprises are growing twice as fast as public cloud deployments.
The survey uncovered a number of intriguing facts about the cloud computing buying process.
The most favorable brands are associated with public cloud and consumer brands – Microsoft, Amazon and Google – but that favorable opinion doesn’t necessarily translate into business at RFP time. Those three tech giants fared well in brand recognition and current cloud usage, but they may not fare as well in future deployments.
More than one-third of respondents (34 percent) said they are evaluating Microsoft for a cloud deployment, 32 percent said Google, 31 percent said Amazon, and 24 percent each cited IBM and VMware.
Moving beyond evaluation, the survey asked respondents which vendors they are selecting for RFPs, at which point the picture changes rather dramatically. Here Microsoft scored 6 percent, slightly behind the 9 percent each that were choosing Google, Amazon and Rackspace for RFPs (see below).
The survey concluded, “One takeaway from this data is that the brand ‘halo effect’ — whether or not a brand scores highly in unaided brand awareness or whether it’s being evaluated — doesn’t necessarily translate into inclusion in an RFP.”
It’s also worth noting that a number of vendors, including Google, VMware, Salesforce, Oracle, Cisco, Symantec and AT&T, had current usage rates among respondents that exceed their unaided cloud brand awareness (see below).
So if brand may not matter all that much to IT cloud computing buyers, what does? System reliability, technology expertise, pricing, maintenance and customer service, according to the survey.
Survey respondents also showed a desire to try out cloud computing solutions before they buy them. When asked about important information sources when making a decision, software trials were favored by 71 percent of respondents. At the RFP stage, trials again proved popular. When respondents who were selecting vendors for RFPs were asked which resource elements were most valuable in driving their decision, 78 percent said free vendor test drives.
The complete survey is available here: 2013 Cloud Computing Outlook: Private Cloud Expected to Grow at Twice the Rate of Public Cloud.
Paul Shread is editor in chief of the IT Business Edge Network, a QuinStreet Enterprise property.