IDA and Microsoft in US push to bring cloud jobs to Ireland

24 Mar 2011

IDA Ireland and Microsoft are on a mission to New York today to encourage US cloud computing companies to locate their cloud operations in Ireland. As many as 20,000 cloud jobs could be created in Ireland.

Cloud computing has been identified as a major economic opportunity for Ireland which can create jobs and drive competitiveness.

The IDA had identified cloud computing as one of the key technology trends in its recently published strategy document Horizon 2020.

Microsoft recently published an economic impact report which showed that if Ireland embraces cloud computing rapidly, it can capture a disproportionate share of the market, which is estimated to be worth €70bn by 2014. 

The IDA and Microsoft have developed a joint offering for overseas cloud computing companies, which includes a combination of fiscal and capital incentives by the IDA and technology supports and access to export markets through the Microsoft global network.

Ireland poised to become a cloud centre of excellence

“Ireland is poised to become a global cloud centre of excellence, due to our winning combination of talent, track record, tax regime and technology, along with a significant software economy,” said Barry O’Dowd, head of emerging technologies, IDA.

“Ireland is an ideal fit for the data centre requirements of foreign direct investors and we are already the European data centre location of choice for world leaders including IBM, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, MSN and Adobe. IDA Ireland looks forward to partnering with new companies in the cloud space in order to help them find cost-effective and efficient solutions for all their cloud computing needs.’’

Paul Rellis, managing director, Microsoft Ireland, said a key element of achieving the goal of Ireland becoming a cloud centre of excellence is attracting cloud computing companies to Ireland.

“We believe we need to move quickly to capitalise on the global opportunity to become a global leader in cloud computing.

“The combination of the IDA and Microsoft can offer a unique opportunity for cloud companies to develop and grow in Ireland. Through our BizSpark programme, we have developed an extensive suite of offerings and access to a global cloud network designed for small organisations seeking to identify and grow in export markets.

“This is unique to Ireland and tried and tested with Irish organisations already enjoying huge success in foreign markets,” Rellis said.

The cloud opportunity

One example of a US cloud computing company that has established an operation in Ireland is Kemp Technologies. According to Kevin Mahon, president, Kemp Technologies Inc, “Over the last year, Kemp Technologies from Long Island has successfully set up a European hub in Ireland with hands-on support from IDA Ireland which has smoothed our successful entry to new markets.”

Technology entrepreneur John Dennehy, who established companies like Zartis and Upstart Games, built a HR app for businesses based on the Windows Azure platform. enables SMEs in Ireland to create a legally compliant staff handbook in five minutes for €200. With, employees can also log onto the site and electronically sign the handbook, with lots of reporting tools built into the application. has clients in Europe, Asia and North America.

“Set up only two years ago, we’re already working in Ireland, the UK and China,” Dennehy explained.

“I don’t believe we could have expanded this quickly without access to the network and aids provided by the Microsoft BizSpark programme, which helped us rapidly overcome challenges we would have faced otherwise.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years