- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2012

The growing move to “cloud computing,” in which consumers and businesses store their data, applications and resources online instead of on their own systems, is expected to create more than a million American jobs by 2015, according to a new study from Microsoft.

Microsoft, a leading cloud provider, found that this new technology for data storage will save money, increase productivity, and spur innovation that will lead to job creation over the next three years. The study was commissioned by Microsoft, and conducted by analyst firm IDC.

“The cloud is going to have a huge impact on job creation,” said Susan Hauser, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group at Microsoft. “It’s a transformative technology that will drive down costs, spur innovation, and open up new jobs and skill sets across the globe.”

Cloud computing, which accounts for 6.7 million jobs worldwide, will more than double that number, according to the study, to 14 million - including 4.6 million new jobs in China, 2.1 million in India, 1.1 million in the U.S., 214,000 in Mexico, and 70,000 in Canada.

The cloud frees up information technology professionals to work on more mission-critical projects, according to the study.

“Whereas before, the IT director was chasing fires and tending to pretty basic plumbing, he now has the bandwidth to pursue truly strategic projects that move the business forward,” said Carol Reid, sales director at Agile IT in San Diego.

The cloud also makes it easier for companies to connect with their customers and partners.

“One of the trends we’re seeing is that companies are using cloud-based collaboration software not just for their internal employees, but to engage and share information with partners and vendors,” said Aaron Nettles, co-founder and CEO of Vorsite in Seattle, Wash.

The study predicts 20,000 new jobs for the District, seventh among U.S. cities. Philadelphia and Atlanta will see similar gains.

The three most popular cities for cloud-related jobs will see big gains: New York City will add 99,000, Los Angeles will add nearly 53,000, and Chicago, 38,000.

“Are there jobs there? Yes,” said Christian Anschuetz, chief information officer at Underwriters Laboratories. “We need more resources to get this technology into the hands of our customers, which is to their benefit and delight.”

Three industries will create the most cloud-related jobs. Communications will create 2.4 million jobs. Banking will create 1.4 million jobs. Manufacturing will create 1.3 million jobs.

Small businesses are more likely than large businesses to adopt cloud solutions, because they have fewer legacy investments in old technology that will prevent them from moving forward.

The same goes for emerging markets like China and India, which will create the most job growth around the world. Colombia (389 percent), Brazil (386 percent), Mexico (382 percent) and Chile (376 percent) will produce the highest cloud job growth, compared with what each of those countries has now.

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