While Cisco is trumpeting the growth of cloud computing, Microsoft is heralding the growth of cloud-computing jobs. In a report that counters conventional wisdom, Microsoft estimates the cloud will generate nearly 14 million new jobs globally by 2015.
Microsoft commissioned IDC to conduct the study. IDC research predicts revenues from cloud innovation could reach $1.1 trillion per year by 2015. When combined with cloud efficiencies, IDC said that innovation will drive significant organizational reinvestment and job growth.
"The cloud is going to have a huge impact on job creation," said Susan Hauser, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. "It's a transformative technology that will drive down costs, spur innovation, and open up new jobs and skill sets across the globe."
Is Cloud Computing a Job Eliminator?
Just who will be hiring? According to the study, large and small businesses will hire a roughly equal number of the 14 million new cloud-generated jobs from 2011 to 2015. Although small businesses make up the majority of employment in most parts of the world, they are generally less computerized. At the same time, IDC expects small- and medium-size businesses to adopt cloud services faster than large companies, many of which are constrained by existing legacy investments.
"For most organizations, cloud computing should be a no-brainer, given its ability to increase IT innovation and flexibility, lower capital costs, and help generate revenues that are multiples of spending," said 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 organizations of all sizes because emerging markets, small cities and small businesses have the same access to cloud benefits as large enterprises or developed nations."
Remembering the Outsourcing Wave
The report also indicates specific industries will generate job growth at different rates, and that public cloud investments will drive faster job growth than private cloud investments. The report notes that governments can influence the number of jobs created by cloud computing within individual countries.
"Like the outsourcing wave of the 90s, the idea of how translatable IT talents are within a company doesn't line up for me," said Brad Shimmin, an analyst at Current Analysis.
"If your IT staff is dedicated to managing physical servers and you no longer have to manage those physical servers but your opportunity shifts to create solutions that run on top of a cloud platform, it's not going to be the same people doing the work," Shimmin said.
"It's definitely been proven so far that the cloud platform makes companies more nimble and able to invest more readily in new opportunities. But at the same time, as companies move from highly centralized infrastructure to a cloud-based infrastructure, it's going to force those companies to change. Some of that change is going to be painful."