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Ascertaining that “the impact of cloud computing has barely begun”, the Economist published a very interesting survey on cloud computing and the changes this entails, titled “The Impact of Cloud”.
Even though cloud computing has already brought massive changes both in consumer and enterprise environments, according to the above survey this is only the tip of the iceberg! The generation of new services will continue to reshape entire markets, create new business models and transform the way we share and manage information.
In this survey, experts on management, technology and education explain what we should expect from cloud computing in the years to come. Here are some of the highlights:
– Mark Ridley, Technology Director at reed.co.uk, believes that cloud computing will gradually change the corporate structure! The idea of a distinct IT department will ultimately be replaced by that of a network of small teams not exclusively comprised of people with technical background.
– James Mitchel, CEO of Strategic Blue (cloud broker), supports that the fundamental cloud-based services (e.g. storage and processing power) will become a commodity, similar to coffee, perhaps even traded at a cloud-based stock market! But before something like this can happen, the existing billing processes have to change. Even as we speak, there are companies, such as Amazon, that experiment with payment schemes other than “pay as you go”, such as “reserved instances” that enables users to prepay a fixed fee in order to have the right to purchase the services they will need in the future at an exceptionally low price.
– According to Dr. Tua Huomo of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIIT), when a business adopts cloud-computing, this decision has a significant impact on all those related to it, e.g. its suppliers, who not only have to make similar technological changes, by moving to a new platform for example, but also need to adapt their business operations since they will have to start using solutions and processes largely focused on customer value – a need that will emerge as a result of cloud-computing.
– Paul Miller of “The Cloud of Data” addresses the issue of personal data stating that although there may be problems with having our data on the cloud, the advantages offered to users and the control they are given are so important that they overrule all objections and hesitations.
– Even in terms of environmental protection, Professor Ian Bitterlin of The Green Grid Association believes that the impact of cloud computing on energy consumption will be significant. The architecture and technical quality of cloud computing will lead to significantly smaller energy footprints in comparison to former technologies and practices.
– Finally, an extremely interesting point of view is that of Dr. Jonathan Liebenau of the London School of Economics, regarding the economic effects of cloud computing. Although it may not be equally evident in all countries and industries, cloud computing can have a positive effect on economy, which largely depends on the policies that will be adopted on a legal (e.g. data management and transfer), tax and energy level.
Cloud computing will change the way we look at business finances, since the focus will shift from capital expenses (capex) to operational expenses (opex), thus affecting investments, taxation, asset management and so on. Furthermore, cloud computing also means a rapidly increasing number of new job positions, which of course differs depending on the industry. For example, as Dr. Liebenau stated, from 2010 to 2014, the job positions related to cloud computing in Germany almost doubled (100% increase) in the smartphone industry, while in aeronautical engineering the increase percentage was about 33%. Even so, the numbers are impressive considering that aeronautical engineering is a “stable” industry of limited changes. In a world troubled by unemployment, having a 33% increase in job offer over a five-year period is actually not bad at all, let alone 100%…