A new IDC study commissioned by Microsoft suggests that cloud computing services will help create millions of new jobs over the next few years.
IDC estimates that last year alone, IT cloud services helped organizations of all sizes and all vertical sectors around the world generate more than $400 billion in revenue and 1.5 million new jobs, John F. Gantz wrote in a co-authored IDC white paper. In the next four years, the number of new jobs will surpass 8.8 million. By 2015, the number will increase still further, to 13.8 million.
IDCs model incorporated a variety of elements, including IT spend by industry and company size, regulatory environment, and technology infrastructure by country and city. It assumed that IT innovation leads to a rise in business revenue, which in turn translates into new jobs.
Industries with the most spending in 2011 on public IT cloud services (as a percentage of overall IT spending) included professional services, insurance, and transportation. Utilities and government ranked the lowest. From 2012 through 2015, a wide variety of worldwide businesses will experience a growth in services, with resource industries and communications media enjoying the largest overall percentages.
Industries, such as banking and communications, while not necessarily early adopters of the cloud-computing model, will each have more than 1 million cloud-related jobs by 2015, thanks to their IT demands. Government will take longer to produce cloud-related jobs, thanks to the segments generally slower pace in embracing new IT paradigms.
The study concludes that cloud computing frees enterprises from the constraints of the client/server model, where up-front investments in infrastructure are required to pursue technological solutions to business problems. It adds that emerging markets, small cities and small businesses have as much access to the benefits of cloud computing as large enterprises or developed nations.
If IDCs prediction pans out, that would prove good news for Microsoft, which has been pushing an all-in cloud strategy for businesses. Products involved in that strategy include the Windows Azure development platform and Office 365, the latter of which delivers Office applications via a cloud-based framework. Despite Microsofts cloud push, however, the initiative has yet to generate revenues on the scale of software flagships such as Windows or the desktop-bound version of Office.
That lack of revenue drives Microsofts need for businesses of all sizesfrom the enterprise down to small and midsize firmsto embrace the cloud. In addition to those cloud services, the company has been deeply baking cloud functionality into products, such as the upcoming Windows 8. But the date still awaits when Microsofts cloudy dreams will begin to translate into big real-world numbers.