Tonight, Dell World will kick off at Austin City Limits and the Austin Convention Center, bringing together 5,000 CEOs, CIOs and IT professionals to discuss how to master the forces shaping today’s IT landscape. In advance of this week’s Dell World discussions and today’s news focused on Dell’s approach to serving midsized businesses, I wanted to give a quick preview of findings from a global study we recently commissioned.

According to Dell’s Midsized Company Research, the top priority for IT decision makers in midsize organizations is ‘adopting cloud computing.’  While these leaders are anxious to leverage cloud solutions, security is their primary concern with public cloud usage.  In fact, the issue of security ranked much higher than all other public cloud concerns, including ‘loss of control’ and ‘integration problems.’ We're combining the findings of this research with insights gained through conversations with midsized companies to develop a unique approach to meet the business needs of organizations of all sizes. 

Here's a visual of the research findings (click on it to see a larger version):

Midsize Business IT Priorities for 2013 - Dell World preview

Moving to the Cloud

The survey of more than 2,300 midsize company executives showed that cloud services are utilized differently by country.  Germany and China prefer hybrid usage.  India and Japan most often choose public cloud offerings, and U.S. leaders usually opt for private cloud solutions. India has the highest usage of all cloud services and Japan has the lowest level. 

Increase Virtualization

IT decision makers said their second highest priority is to increase use of virtualization.  Executives from both China and India indicated that at least 90% of their data center hardware would be virtualized within the next three years.   Respondents from Germany, India and the U.S. noted that over 50% of their servers are currently virtualized.    Leaders from China cited ‘increased space efficiency’ as their top benefit from virtualization, while their counterparts in Germany, Japan, India, and the U.S. indicated ‘faster deployment’ as the top virtualization benefit.

The survey also identified the top two global pain points as:  ‘Improving effectiveness’ (44%) and ‘Reducing risk securing information’ (31%).

Scale Up and Down

From the research and our own conversations with customers, it’s apparent that midsize businesses have the same IT needs as large corporations, but are often working on a much tighter budget. In order to address top business and IT priorities, organizations of all sizes need to be agile and have the flexibility to scale up or down depending on customer demand--solving short term needs while keeping an eye on meeting long term challenges. Scalability enables companies to not only expand resource capabilities but also cut back effectively while remaining flexible to adapt to future challenges - without paying for more than what is needed.

We’ve found it is much easier to scale up and down with a simple, flexible solution rather than pushing down and under-featuring a complex solution.

Stay tuned for more news on how Dell will work with customers to address their scalable technology needs. For a preview of the types of scalable solutions for midsized organizations we are incubating inside Dell, check out “Project Sputnik” and our new ‘Project RIPTide,’ a real-time analytics solution for midsize businesses.