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Science & Environment
Mar 20 2012 2:21PM
 
No raining on our parade
About 145 000 new jobs coming to SA, courtesy of Cloud Computing. Photo: Getty Images
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Chris Tredger

Cloud computing will create nearly 14 million jobs globally by 2015 – and of those, nearly 145 000 will be in South Africa – according to a new research study released by Microsoft and conducted by the 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 upfront 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 (R8.3 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 SA, the government and the retail sectors are also expected to contribute strongly to new job creation through their growing interest in cloud computing initiatives, says Microsoft SA MD Mteto Nyati. “The cloud is making a real difference, 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,” said Nyati. The study forecasts that just more than 62000 jobs will be created in SA this year alone through cloud computing initiatives, rising to 82000 in 2013. These cloud-enabled jobs will fall into two main buckets:

• 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 and 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 hiring new employees.

“For most organisations, cloud computing is a no-brainer when considering it enables a massive return on investment and flexibility,” said John F Gantz, chief research officer and senior vice-president at IDC.

“A common misperception is that cloud computing is a job eliminator, but in truth it will be a job creator – a major one. Jobs 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.”

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