If you’re like many executives in Atlanta, you’ve been quick to discover the cost savings available to your company when you reach for the cloud. You may be surprised, however, to learn that the cloud is also expected to create tens of thousands of new jobs in our metropolitan area over the next few years.

We’ve seen how the cloud can save our companies money by letting us shift our information technology infrastructure and the applications we use to cloud-based services. Instead of spending IT dollars on buying more servers, networking them, constantly upgrading software and handling other routine chores, we can rely on the cloud to keep all our backroom technology in good shape and up to date for us.

What we may not have fully realized is that freeing our IT people from day-to-day manual upkeep gives them a lot more time to work on innovative projects that help the entire company run more efficiently. In fact, a new study from Microsoft reports that this growing opportunity for innovation enabled by the cloud is likely to produce revenue increases totaling $1.1 trillion annually by 2015 for businesses around the world. Furthermore, the study, conducted by IDC research, predicts that businesses will use this new revenue to create new jobs—nearly 14 million of them globally through 2015.

In the Atlanta designated market area (DMA), the study predicts that the cloud will be responsible for creating nearly 12,000 local jobs by the end of this year and more than 20,000 cumulative new jobs by the end of 2015. Gather all those new employees together for a Hawks game and they would more than fill Philips Arena.

Furthermore, these newly created jobs are expected to be split evenly between large enterprises and smaller businesses, both globally and here in Atlanta. The hiring wave is expected to emerge from our strong base in such business sectors as finance, health, manufacturing, media and communications.

It’s important to note that these new jobs aren’t necessarily positions in the IT department—they represent jobs all across the business. Companies spending dollars that become available from cloud-computing efficiencies are expected to be hiring people in sales, finance, production, marketing, and other units. These departments become more innovative with support from the cloud and sustain the generation of additional revenue.

We might have thought that, with the cloud tending so much of our technology, we’d see a dip in our IT staffs, but it turns out that one of the cloud’s most important contributions to our business operations is giving creative, efficiency-focused minds the time they need to work innovatively. In this way, the cloud becomes a foundation for helping to grow the entire organization.

To learn more about Microsoft’s predictions for the cloud’s impact on jobs, check out the full study and additional resources on the Microsoft News Center and Microsoft’s official blog.  It’s an enlightening, encouraging report on the future of jobs in Atlanta and around the world.

 By: Marietta Davis, General Manager -Greater Southeast District, Microsoft Corp