By Luke Sossi, Mid-Atlantic Enterprise Sales Manager, Microsoft Corp.
The real cost savings and efficiencies that businesses are receiving from the cloud have become increasingly evident: increased productivity; reductions in expenditures for IT hardware, software and maintenance; and the ability to free up IT staff from time-consuming routine tasks to focus on more mission-critical work. While these benefits were largely anticipated, it may be a surprise to learn that the cloud also is helping to restore economic health in our state.
In fact, a new Microsoft study conducted by the IDC research firm shows that, by the end of 2015, the cloud will be responsible for creating more than 1.1 million new jobs in the U.S. It may seem puzzling that a technology solution that automates and relocates work traditionally carried out by people in the IT department would actually lead to a growth in jobs, but the fact is that dollar savings from cloud computing is making it possible for businesses to invest more in hiring people all across their organizations.
Here’s how it works, according to IDC: cloud computing frees up organizations from their legacy computing systems and allows companies to invest in broader innovation in other areas of the company’s operations. These innovations create more profit and revenue to devote to new jobs. Indeed, IDC reports, increased revenues from IT innovation (enabled by the cloud) could reach $1.1 trillion dollars a year by 2015 in the 28 countries studied by IDC. Thus, a little money spent up front to reach for the cloud leads to impressive returns down the line.
The results of efficiencies gained from cloud computing are being applied to hiring more people in sales, finance, production, marketing and other areas. In some companies, IT personnel now are creating their own cloud services for the company’s customers, generating even bigger payoffs and more potential hiring dollars.
At Microsoft, we’ve seen firsthand how cloud is facilitating business results and job growth for our Pittsburgh-area customers. For example, one of our manufacturing customers has benefitted greatly from cloud applications. This particular business uses cloud to not only scale its operations, but to create a highly intuitive and engaging application that assists customers with purchasing. Through cloud, the company was able to make purchasing decisions easier for customers, resulting in higher sales and more opportunities for developers to innovate and increase the rate at which new customer offerings are available.
Cloud-fueled job growth will vary by industry, and here in Pittsburgh, two key industries that stand to benefit most are retail and education. While the retail industry has traditionally been late to adopt new technologies, it has been a relatively early adopter of cloud computing. Additionally, the education sector has adopted the cloud at a faster rate than other industries, as it offers schools solutions to combat budget constraints. By 2015, worldwide job creation attributed to cloud in education is expected to reach more than 720,000 jobs, and nearly 640,000 new jobs are expected in the retail industry – giving us good reason to continue to expand upon cloud utilization in these key local industries.
When examining the number of jobs that might be created in a particular nation, the study factored such elements as projected level of spending on IT, degree of automation, workforce size and many others. Between emerging and developed countries, the numbers are driven more by the degree of IT spending and adoption levels of cloud, public and private, than by industry make-up.
Although many of the advancements in cloud computing have occurred in companies based in North America, the cloud-created jobs expected to benefit the U.S. are dwarfed by the number anticipated for other areas of the world, many of which have huge populations. The Microsoft study projects that North America will have 1.17 million jobs by the end of 2015, Europe-Middle East-Africa will have 2.07 million, Asia/Pacific (excluding China and India) will grow to 2.87 million, and China and India alone will have more cloud-created jobs than all the other regions combined, with a total of 6.75 million in those two nations.
The cloud keeps exposing sunny opportunities for businesses and consumers alike. Now, many of us can add an important new cloud benefit to the list: enhanced job growth.
About the author: Luke Sossi is Microsoft’s Enterprise Sales Manager for the Mid-Atlantic district, including Pittsburgh.