2013 Predictions: Cloud Impacts on Staffing

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Alan Priestley is a multi-year Intel veteran, and currently holds the role of Strategic Marketing Director within Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Alan-Priestley-IntelALAN PRIESTLEY
Intel

The debate over whether or not the rise of cloud computing will have a positive impact on employment has been going on for some time. A few recent developments have indicated that the cloud may indeed be living up to the hopes of those who expect it to generate a wave of new jobs.

Future Jobs Expected

Researchers and analysts from Gartner predicted cloud-related technology to generate 1.9 million IT jobs in the US by 2015. On the other side of the pond, in late September, the EU announced that it has launched a cloud computing strategy to boost European business, claiming that it will generate 2.5 million new jobs and increase the region’s total GDP by €160 billion by 2020. Alongside this optimism for the future, we’ve seen concrete steps being made already, with UK telecoms giant BT announcing this week that it is running a recruitment drive for cloud experts to work in its new Converged Infrastructure Practice.

Of course, there are still many in the IT industry that remain cautious. Recent research from SAP found that as many as 46 percent of those conversing online about the cloud believe that it destroys jobs.

The Upside

I fall into the optimists’ camp, and believe, along with Gartner, that we need to step back and take a wider view. Speaking of cloud computing itself is just the beginning, but when you consider all the other innovations that it underpins – mobile, social computing and big data services, for example – then the horizons expand massively.

These new technologies, which would not exist without the cloud to support them, have enabled us to create entire business models and industries that in many cases weren’t viable a few years ago. They also mean that whereas cloud computing has traditionally been viewed as a preserve of the IT department, it now has relevance for other parts of the business. Marketing teams for example, now need social media experts to engage with online audiences and people trained in leveraging big data to analyze customers’ behavioral trends. These are specialized skills, underpinning full-time roles, and so creating cloud-related jobs across the business.

Continued Innovation Leads to New Roles

There’s no reason why the development of new cloud-enabled platforms should cease, and for each of these new platforms, there are hundreds of new business –- and new job –- opportunities. By this time next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a variety of new roles emerging that we haven’t even thought of yet.

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