2012 is rumored as the tipping point for cloud. For the last four to five years, we have heard that cloud (Internet-delivered solutions) is about to go mainstream, however, this year it is not the hype, but real user benefits that are driving adoption.
What do I mean by this. Well people are not going out looking for cloud-based solutions (“I want some cloud”), instead they are looking for a solution to a real problem. Some users are unknowingly using a cloud-based solution (either in their business or personal lives) and are quickly seeing the benefits.
Take for example Dropbox, a free tool for sharing (large) files across devices seamlessly, easily and from anywhere, where users adopt it from a need that it solves and not because of the technology factor behind it or because of any cloud hype.
Cloud computing is expected to enjoy an adoption rate and growth of between 30 to 40 percent per year, every year for the next five years and its promise of substantial benefits will drive this adoption. A 2012 customer study from Rise indicating that 94% of IT departments expect to expand their use of cloud in the next 12 months.
“Enterprises that embrace cloud computing reduce the amount of IT time and budget devoted to legacy systems and routine upgrades, which then increases the time and budget they have for more innovative projects. When IT innovation happens, business innovation is reached, which then supports job creation”, said IDC Chief Research Officer John F. Gantz.
The key benefits of cloud include:
- Easier more flexible access in a world of consumerisation and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
- Increased resilience
- Easier migration/implementation
- Simplicity of use
- Consistency across platforms
- Reduced cost of both implementation and on-going usage, and
- Innovation acceleration.
We still hear the downers on cloud – the news stories of gloom, fear and disdain. It was not so long ago that Internet shopping was placed in the same bucket, and yet this has become the norm and is continuing to enjoy compound growth and affect the traditional bricks-and-mortar retail arena.
There is plenty of hype on the ‘cloud’ and certainly plenty of discussion and content, and yet reports and audiences still show a need for education on the terms, benefits and realities of this growing form factor. Top concerns of businesses in survey after survey on the cloud, continue to be security, data sovereignty and reliability.
In a recent end user study from the Cloud Industry Forum 62% of companies using or planning to use cloud indicated Data Security was their prime concern. When it comes to individuals the top concern in the IT arena is job loss and reduction of individual value.
There is no doubt cloud is bringing change. With the Internet and technology, we have a generation of users demanding access to their applications from their iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry or Android devices. We have entered an era where infinite IT power and information is available to a user on the smallest of devices, on the move and at an affordable price.
As devices get more powerful, the Internet faster, the demand and supply of cloud applications will skyrocket and the power in the hands of the user will be greater than we have ever delivered before. Expect the marriage between mobility and the cloud to continue to grow.
So with this growth of cloud comes a change in skill requirements and job opportunities. One of CRN’s top 10 cloud predictions for 2012 is a growth in demand for cloud jobs as validated by an article in CIO magazine in early 2012. Cloud computing is and will have a major impact on skills across business, with IT being the most logically effected it will also impose itself onto roles in marketing, support and business roles in general.
The demand for cloud-based skills already is showing signs of exploding. A recent report from Wanted Analytics, reported that hiring for cloud computing expertise showed a growth of 61 percent year over year. The cloud market is growing at such a pace that the number of job postings is accelerating and yet the talent qualifying for these roles is marginal.
Cloud isn’t all overcast and according to IDC ‘Spending on public and private cloud services is predicted to generate almost 14 million jobs worldwide between 2011 and 2015. More than one-third of cloud-enabled jobs will occur in the communications and media, banking, and discrete manufacturing industries.’
“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 F. Gantz, chief research officer and senior vice president at IDC. The top three industries expected to generate the most jobs from cloud computing are communications and media (2.4 million), banking (1.4 million) and discrete manufacturing (1.3million).
Cloud offers opportunities for those that embrace the new form factor and self-educate and certify themselves for the needs of employers today and tomorrow. CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials certification is an example option that enables employees of varying roles to validate their cloud knowledge, take online training and exam condition testing, and differentiate themselves in the competitive job market.
John McGlinchey,Vice President, Europe & Middle East, CompTIA commented “We have had a demand from the user market for a training curriculum with testing to support this rapidly growing new form factor. The demand and adoption is outstripping the skill base and it is key that individuals and businesses recognise and address this shortfall, before it becomes a serious issue for all concerned.”
More education is needed in cloud across all sectors to enable businesses to understand and utilize this important new technology option to its advantage and this need for understanding stretches past simply the border of the IT department. Expect to see more cloud courses and exams providing the market with the required validations in this new cloudy world. Ignoring cloud is no longer an option, utilizing it to your advantage is!