Large companies and small ones are using cloud technologies in very different ways, but the end result is that many IT jobs are being outsourced to specialists – large data centers that support many companies with the same size staff as they once would have for just a few clients – increasing the overall efficiency and making fewer IT jobs necessary, according to Bernard Golden, CEO of cloud and virtualization consultancy HyperStratus and a columnist for CIO.
"If you're an I&O operations person, cloud computing is a threat to your job, whether it's public or private," Golden wrote in June, 2011. "Cloud computing represents virtualization supercharged by automation, and automation always threatens jobs—especially those of lower-skilled employees. Simply put, cloud computing will displace the jobs of those who perform routine operations tasks."
So where will all the jobs come from?
Though almost all the discussion of cloud computing and employment have focused on the impact on the IT job market specifically, the economic miracle IDC and Microsoft predict have nothing to do with jobs in IT.
The new study doesn't say anything about the number of IT jobs increasing, in fact.
What it says is that cloud computing will be so effective in offloading unnecessary work from IT people in small- and mid-sized companies – which will outsource most routine IT to cloud-based service providers – that it will free huge chunks of payroll, operational budgets, capital expense budgets and the mental bandwidth of company managers.
That money and bandwidth won't go into the real or mental bank, IDC predicts.
Cloud computing , the IDC/Microsoft report predicts, will allow managers at small- and mid-sized businesses to spend much less time and effort thinking about how they're going to fix their communications networks, payment-processing systems, supply chains, customer-support efforts and business analytics.
Rather than trying to figure out how a small company with an IT staff of one to five people can deliver business-automation systems comparable to those run by larger competitors, the cloud allows SMBs to offload all those worries onto an external service provider and focus on their core business, not the IT that helps keep it running.
That savings in operational expenses, capital expenses and, just as important, the intellectual capacity of senior managers, cloud computing lets even fairly large mid-sized companies spend more time on business and less on technology.