Cloud computing is a tremendous innovation in the digital landscape that has changed the way IT solutions are delivered and how end-users put them to use. The cloud computing space is growing and will continue to do so.
According to a recent report by Gartner, cloud computing will constitute the bulk of IT spending by 2016. In India alone, it is predicted that the cloud market will reach over $3 billion by next year—an almost five-fold increase from 2012.
Juxtaposed into the Indian context, cloud computing is set to transform how we do business and how we move up in the digital value chain. For India, I feel it has a direct beneficial effect for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs), dotted across the country. This sector employs 40% of the workforce and is growing at a rate of 8% per year; it will also dictate the future course of Indian development. Latest figures indicate that 68% of SMBs having over 100 employees have resorted to cloud computing. According to Zinnov, a leading consulting company, the cloud computing market in India is expected to reach $4.5 billion by this year with most users being SMBs. According to another report, if all SMBs in India were to adopt cloud computing, the market could reach $56 billion, creating additional 1.1 million jobs in the near future.
It is no question that as the cloud market continues to expand in India, so will the number of job prospects. It is estimated this year alone cloud computing will create over 2 million jobs. It is believed that players like TCS, Infosys, HCL and Tech Mahindra will bid for cloud computing service providers rather than developing solutions through their in-house research, as it requires huge funding. The competition among Indian service providers will have a telling effect on the pricing of solutions. In short, the scope for cloud computing and its successful applications in Indian companies are bound to go up.
The advantages of the cloud are well known and documented. But one aspect that has to be understood is how it leads to career opportunities. Cloud computing brings down the cost and manpower requirements since the costly software packages and hardware systems needed to install them are not longer required. The software needed can be downloaded from the internet as per the requirement of the unit, by paying the service provider. Evidence indicates it would be economical to download the software, rather than storing them in the hardware of the system.
Another important aspect is the manpower requirements of service providers, who have to store and retrieve customised solutions from the internet. This will require huge investments in R&D professionals, besides employing people for day-to-day technological operations and other related work. The indications are there will be a proliferation of service providers, including global players like Google, Microsoft and Amazon who will roll out their Indian plans.
There are some key challenges. One is the accessibility of broadband internet, which is limited in India. Hopefully, with the rollout of Digital India, it will give a critical push to enterprises to make the switch to cloud computing.
India Inc has pledged R4.5 lakh crore for Digital India, which can create employment for some 18 lakh people. A good number of them will be in cloud computing. With the launch of 100 Smart Cities, 500 rejuvenated cities and numerous projects to create industrial hubs, a strong virtual backbone is a critical necessity to take the development process to the next level.
Skill formation for handling complex tasks of cloud computing is important. We have to evolve courses of various durations to cater to this need and popularise them from the school level itself to get the desired results and to give an option to the teeming millions to choose their field with the confidence that they can make a good career out of cloud computing.
There is no question that India has enormous capabilities to become a global hub for cloud computing. The future of cloud computing as well as career opportunities in the field shines bright for India.
The author is founder & president of InterraIT