Did you know that already 30pc of ICT firms in Ireland sell products and services through cloud computing? And in a little under three years this will be closer to half of all ICT firms in Ireland?
An economic impact study prepared for Microsoft by Goodbody Economic Consultants has revealed that Ireland has many of the attributes to become a global cloud computing centre of excellence and could capture a large share of the cloud-computing industry, estimated to be worth €40bn worldwide, by 2014.
The report says Ireland alone has a chance to build a €9.5bn-a-year-in-revenues industry by 2014, resulting in 8,600 new jobs. Not only that but because cloud computing lowers costs to businesses, by migrating the to the cloud some 2,000 new non-IT small and medium-sized firms can be created that would in turn employ 11,000 people.
Early adoption of cloud computing by Irish users will take costs of €500m a year out of Irish organisations.
"It is vital that we put in place a productive policy to take advantage of the transformative potential cloud computing has for all our
organisations," said Paul Rellis, managing director, Microsoft Ireland, on Monday.
He said that, in time, cloud computing will have the same socio-economic impact as the arrival of water and electricity to premises.
"Ireland can take the front foot on this. There is a huge job-creation opportunity and an opportunity to leverage multinationals to create a cluster of cloud computing industries."
Rellis said that he intends to work with IDA Ireland to influence policy changes that will help boost cloud take-up in Ireland but also attract cloud computing firms into the country. These policy areas involve entrepreneurship, broadband and electricity.
A Cloud Cluster Programme
Specifically, Rellis and IDA Ireland CEO Barry O’Leary have pointed to the creation of a major Cloud Cluster Programme to attract FDI and provide access to new markets. They also called for the implementation of a high-profile Government cloud computing project to showcase Ireland’s expertise globally. They said there is a need to close the gaps in awareness of cloud computing in both the public and private sectors and to prioritise the development of skills to support the cloud.
Another vital task is to promote cloud computing to small businesses and start-ups.
"We need urgent policy changes in the next 100 days. We intend to work with IDA Ireland to get these policies clear," Rellis said.
The author of the report, John Finnegan of Goodbody Economic Consultants, said that powerful clusters could be developed here.
"We already have a lot of what is need for this to happen. It will be an opportunity for Ireland to once again be seen as a technology leader and the place that good technology comes from."
Elaborating on how 2,000 new start-ups could deliver 11,000 new jobs, Finnegan said that traditionally IT equipment was one of the barriers to entry for starting a new business.
"Turning computing into a service could help create 2,000 firms outside the IT sector."
A key ingredient, he said, would be putting data centres in efficient locations.
"Electricity costs in Ireland are coming down and we are at the forefront in terms of green, efficient data centres."
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