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Cloud will create 145k SA jobs

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Cloud computing will create nearly 14-million jobs globally by 2015 – and of those, almost 145 000 will be in South Africa, according to a new research study released by Microsoft and conducted by analyst firm IDC.

The study examined current economic data across the global landscape and, applying an economic impact model, found that a little money spent up front to reach for the cloud leads to impressive returns down the line. IDC’s research predicts revenues from cloud innovation could reach $1.1 trillion per year by 2015, which, combined with cloud efficiencies, will drive significant organisational reinvestment and job growth.

The study suggests the main sectors where these jobs will be created are within financial services, communications and media, and discrete manufacturing. In South Africa, government and the retail sector are also expected to contribute strongly to new job creation through their growing interest in cloud computing initiatives, says Microsoft South Africa MD Mteto Nyati.

“The cloud is making a real difference for businesses today: powering productivity, cutting costs and freeing up IT staff to focus on more mission-critical work. But this study suggests it’s also got the potential to help restore economic health,” says Nyati.

The study forecasts that just over 62 000 jobs will be created in South Africa this year alone through cloud computing initiatives, rising to 82 000 in 2013.

The report says these cloud-enabled jobs will fall into two main areas:
* Jobs created when savings from the cloud are applied toward the business more broadly in critical areas to help the business grow and compete (such as sales, marketing, operating or engineers);

* Jobs created when savings from the cloud are applied toward new technology projects that create new services or businesses for the organisation itself, which then necessitates new employees/hiring.

“For most organisations, cloud computing is a no-brainer when considering it enables massive return on investment and flexibility,” says John Gantz, chief research officer and senior vice president at IDC. “A common misperception is cloud computing is a job eliminator, but in truth it will be a job creator — a major one. And job growth will occur across continents and throughout organisations of all sizes because emerging markets, small cities and small businesses have the same access to cloud benefits as large enterprises or developed nations.”

Other findings of the study include:
* Public cloud investments will drive greater job growth than private cloud investments.

* Jobs will be split down the middle between companies with 500 or fewer employees and companies with 500+ employees.

* Industries will generate job growth at different rates. Adoption of public IT cloud services varies and reasons are complex. As one example, securities and investment services will lead cloud adoption, while banking will trend at the average. This is due to industry regulation, greater concerns over privacy and security. Banking, like other, more conservative industries, will balance investments in private cloud solutions.

* Healthcare is expected to be a little slow in adoption of public IT cloud services as a result of regulation, security issues, and legacy systems, but education, a smaller vertical but with better-than-average cloud-related job growth, will see IT cloud services as an attractive way to deal with budget constraints.

* The data indicate geographical disparities as well. Governments that invest in key cloud infrastructure will experience greater job growth. The factors determining the number of jobs that might be created in a particular country include projected level of spending on IT, degree of automation, workforce size and more. Between emerging and developed countries the numbers are driven by the degree of IT spending and adoption levels of cloud vs. industry make-up.

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