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The cloud is where it’s at—or so suggested a Sand Hill Group survey
set to be released later this week. The report shows that the majority
of the more than 100 software company CEOs and CFOs interviewed believe
cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) will drive the largest
amount of spending in the software industry over the next 12 months.
The report also found that the majority of respondents expect their
company’s business will grow by at least 20 percent in 2011 and that
hiring will increase significantly.

The survey revealed that the resounding majority of respondents feel
cloud computing and SaaS/on-demand will be the two most frequent types
of software projects driving business spending over the next 12 months.
More than 50 percent of the respondents stated the biggest influence
driving software spending would be the need to increase efficiencies
and reduce costs. Approximately 90 percent of the companies surveyed
expect their headcount to increase in 2011, with more than half of
those companies expecting their headcount to increase "significantly"
this year.

The report also found that more than 90 percent of the software
executives responding have a positive opinion regarding the industry
outlook. In addition, nearly three-quarters of the executives expect
the software industry will perform better than in 2010. In addition,
the survey indicated software vendors have increased their use of cloud
deployment options over the past year and decreased their use of
on-premises options. In addition, a clear majority (72 percent) of the
surveyed executives stated that multi-tenant SaaS solutions via a
subscription license is the type of offering that will be most
desirable for new customers during the next 12 months.

While many industries continue to struggle, the CEOs and CFOs
participating in Software Outlook 2011 are optimistic about the
industry as a whole and extremely bullish on the outlook for their own
companies. Well over three-quarters of the respondents noted that their
company had already returned to pre-recession growth levels or would
reach those levels in 2011. In addition, nearly two-thirds of the
respondents expect their company to grow by at least 20 percent,
including more than one quarter of the respondents who expect their
growth rate to top 50 percent this year.