About half of all RIAs will move to their email, calendaring, document storage and productivity suite to the cloud this year, and about a quarter have already made that move, according to a poll by Advisors4Advisors.
Of the 26% of respondents who have already migrated their core IT stack to the cloud, 47% have moved to a Micosoft solution while just 11% have moved to Google Apps.
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Although four times as many RIAs reported choosing Microsoft over Google Apps, Microsoft’s lock on the business market been challenged as never before.
While most big corporations are sticking with Microsoft as a core IT stack, a few high-profile defections have been reported by Google, like the McClatchy
newspaper chain. It’s been difficult to say how the battle of these behemoths will play out among small businesses.
RIAs in particular would seem like good candidates for a switch to Google Apps because they are independent and Google is so inexpensive. However, RIAs are also very conservative and may not want to take a risk on Google before it becomes more established in the business arena.
Microsoft is about to launch a major marketing effort for Office365 and it recently reduced prices for the solution. Microsoft's current cloud solution for small businesses, Office Live Small Business (OLSB), is being phased out at the end of this month and replaced by Office365.
One aspect of the poll that needs to be followed up on is the 42% of advisors who say they moved to cloud and are using something other than Microsoft or Google. Chances are they are using a web-based CRM or portfolio management system, which is why they answered the question that way.
The data are based on a sampling of just 44 advisors but is nonetheless a valid proxy for the broad population of RIAs. The poll was taken last Friday at a webinar about cloud computing for RIAs
. With just 67 advisors advisors attending the session, attendance was very light. But the session was actually highly rated by those attending, receiving an average rating of 4.4 out of five stars.
While advisors are not clamoring for information on moving to the cloud — A4A usually gets 140 attendees at its weekly webinars — Microsoft's marketing campaign and the benefits of moving to the cloud make it likely that investment advisor interest in the cloud will grow.