Which U.S. cities are the most cloud-friendly?

Boston comes out on top in Microsoft-funded research into business attitudes toward cloud computing in the U.S.

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Beantown is the cloud-friendliest city for large organizations, ranked at No. 1; it also holds the No. 5 spot among small businesses, A high percentage of companies in Boston view cloud services as an opportunity to be more innovative and strategic, and 46 percent of large businesses there have one or more cloud projects planned and under way. Further, more than half are already using the cloud for email, communication, and collaboration.

The Windy City holds the No. 9 spot for cloud friendliness, both for enterprises and small businesses. The winds of change are in the air, though: Half of IT decision makers at large companies in Chicago said they viewed cloud computing as an opportunity to be more strategic. Meanwhile, 39 percent of the small businesses in Chicago said they find the potential cost effectiveness of cloud services encouraging.

Cloud services are mighty appealing to large companies situated deep in the heart of Texas: Dallas ranks number No. 3 among the cloud-friendliest cities for enterprise organizations. Among small businesses, it holds the respectable No. 6 slot. According to the survey, 46 percent of IT decision makers at large companies in Dallas view the cloud an engine for innovation, 9 percent higher than the national perception. Security was a big selling point for smaller businesses: 46 percent said they were encouraged to embrace cloud services for reliable security, nearly twice the response of enterprise companies.

Detroit's standing among cloud-friendly cities isn't stellar: It landed in last place among large companies in the 10 surveyed regions and at No. 8 among small and midsize companies. Still, nearly half of the decision makers in the Motor City said that the cloud is an engine for innovation, and just over 50 percent of respondents foresee investing in the cloud over the next five years to boost profitability.

Los Angeles/Orange County
The cloud is finding a home amid the smog of Southern California, according to the survey, particularly along smaller organizations: Los Angeles and the OC rank fourth for cloud friendliness for small businesses and eighth for large organizations. Overall, 46 percent of respondents said they are investing in cloud services; small businesses cited the benefit of having the latest upgrades always available to them as a draw. Further, they said that focusing on strategic initiatives would reduce IT workloads.

New York
Whereas enterprise companies in the Big Apple are embracing cloud services, the small businesses there are thus far about as warm toward them as New Yorkers are to visiting yokels who block the subway turnstiles: New York is ranked No. 2 as the cloud-friendliest city among large organizations and at the bottom of the heap in the 10th spot among small businesses. For some perspective, 46 percent of large companies said they had cloud projects actively under way, whereas only 14 percent of small businesses said the same.

Philly's small-business community is more keen on the cloud than its large businesses. The city ranks No. 3 for cloud friendliness among small businesses and comes in at No. 7 among large organizations. Interestingly, IT decisions makers at the large companies are more knowledgeable about the cloud: 87 percent of them said they had at least some knowledge about it, compared to 50 percent at small businesses.

San Francisco
The City by the Bay is arguably the overall most cloud friendly among the 10 cities covered in the survey: It holds the No. 4 spot for cloud friendliness for enterprises and the No. 2 spot among small and midsize organizations. Additionally, 49 percent of the respondents at large companies in San Francisco said they have at least one cloud project planned or under way, and 40 percent of IT decision makers at local small companies deemed cloud computing an engine of innovation.

Washington, D.C.
The nation's capitol is also the capitol of cloud friendliness for small businesses, according to the survey, holding the No. 1 slot in that category. For enterprise organizations, however, it's down at No. 6. Businesses that have adopted cloud services in D.C. cite enabling a remote workforce and lowering total cost of ownership as the top reasons for the move. Almost half of IT decision makers at local businesses (46 percent) said they saved at least $1,000 through their use of cloud services.

This story, "Which U.S. cities are the most cloud-friendly?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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