Cloud computing has rained a lot of benefits on Greater Boston, most visibly the dramatically lower IT costs that businesses are discovering when they reach for the cloud. A new study from Microsoft, however, predicts that not only will the cloud slash costs in Boston businesses, but it also will generate nearly 20,000 new jobs, funded by new revenue attributable to cloud computing.

The cost benefits from the cloud have become clear. When businesses shift their information technology infrastructure and applications to cloud-based services, they are able to avoid the expenses entailed in buying more servers, networking them, constantly upgrading software and handling other routine chores. Instead, they can rely on the cloud to keep all their backroom technology in good shape and up to date for them.

Perhaps surprisingly, though, the cloud also is creating new jobs here and around the world. To the contrary, Boston might have expected to see a bit of a dip in the size of IT staffs with so much of technology now housed in the cloud instead of corporate server rooms.  The fact is, however, that the cloud is a revenue generator, and new dollars that accrue to companies from the cloud will be used to hire more employees throughout the company.

The new study, conducted for Microsoft by IDC research, finds that cloud computing frees organizations from their older systems and frees the IT department from the laborious daily maintenance and configuration of hardware, software and networks. IT staff gain much more time to develop inventive, efficient applications and systems for other departments in the company.  That IT innovation allows for business innovation, which leads to business revenues.

The IDC study estimates that these increased revenues enabled by the cloud could reach $1.1 trillion a year globally by the end of 2015.  Along the way, those dollars become available for hiring more people in sales, finance, production, marketing and other units who can capitalize on the company’s evolving capabilities to sustain growth.  The impact of cloud-generated revenues on job creation is extensive.  The Microsoft study anticipates that these new, cloud-created jobs will total nearly 14 million worldwide through 2015.

Across the Boston designated market area (DMA), the study anticipates that the cloud will create nearly 12,000 jobs by the end of this year and, by the end of 2015, a cumulative total of just under 20,000 jobs for the region. If those employees gathered for a Bruins game, they would overflow The Garden.

In its report, IDC indicates the new jobs will be about evenly split between small to midsized businesses and large enterprises, both globally and in Greater Boston. Focal points for our cloud-sourced job growth are the area’s strong economic pillars in healthcare, education, technology, biotech and financial services. 

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. I think you’ll find the report to be both enlightening and encouraging for our local economy.