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All Aboard the Cloud Computing Gravy Train

Somehow, amidst all the sturm und drang of the cloud cacophony, the impact of cloud on the IT job market has not been a notable topic of discussion, but according to hyperbolic claims made by a new SAP America-sponsored study, cloud is not only a powerful catalyst for job creation, but also has greater potential for employment growth than the Internet did back in its salad days.

The study, entitled "Job Growth in the Forecast: How Cloud Computing is generating New Business Opportunities and Fueling Job Growth in the United States," cites "numerous trends and indicators" (I counted 27 references to market research firms, trade publications and think tanks) to support its claims, noting, for instance, that 11 cloud computing companies added some 80,000 jobs in the U.S. during 2010, and the employment growth rates at these organizations was nearly five times higher than that of the over-all high-tech sector.

The study, which was conducted by the Sand Hill Group, goes on to say that companies selling cloud services "are projected to grow revenues by an average of $20 billion per year for the next five years, which has the potential to generate as many as 472,000 jobs in the U.S. and abroad. Venture capital investments in cloud opportunities are projected to be $30 billion in the next five years, which could add another 213,000 jobs in the U.S."

Even happier -- if highly debateable -- news: The economic impact for companies buying cloud services can be even more significant, as cloud computing could save U.S. businesses as much as $626 billion over five years, much of which could be reinvested to create new business opportunities and additional jobs. Ah yes, the vaunted trickled-down school of economics.

Not surprisingly, the study cites three familiar "megatrends" behind the growth of cloud services and employment: the explosion of mobile devices and communications, the trend toward social networking, and the growth of "Big Data."

It all sounds good -- and highly subjective. I’d sure like to be running one of those cloud services companies that will be growing revenues by $20 billion per year for the next five years.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 03/21/2012 at 12:48 PM


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