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Building Canadian innovation and jobs with the cloud

08 May 2012 | John Weigelt, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Canada

This past March, I participated in a whirlwind tour of Canada, meeting with government leaders across the country to promote the results of an IDC study called “Cloud Computing's Role in Job Creation.” These visits were capped off with the exciting opportunity to share the news on CBC’s Lang and O’Leary Exchange show. Click here to check out the interview (starts at 40:30).

One of the things that resonated most with government leaders—and the public in general—was the study’s finding that spending on cloud computing IT services will generate 14 million jobs globally between 2011-2015, including as many as 70,000 new jobs in Canada.

I believe this speaks to an important aspect of cloud computing, which is only starting to be discussed in the public sector. Where the focus in government has largely been on leveraging the cloud for internal goals such as consolidating infrastructure and cost savings, there is also tremendous potential in the cloud to stimulate strong national economies, which is a core objective of any government. This is made possible by the cloud’s ability to shape more efficient and innovative companies, as pointed out in the IDC study. The logic here is that, as IDC puts it, IT innovation allows for business innovation, which leads to business revenue, which leads to job creation.

While the tour for the IDC study lasted only a few days, I’ve been crisscrossing Canada on a regular basis to meet with organizations that are harnessing the cloud to grow their business. It’s been invigorating to meet with so many great innovators. And, what’s been really great to observe is that while those of us in technology appreciate the potential of the cloud, non-technical business leaders are really starting to appreciate this value, as well. By making computing as easy to access and use as electricity from a socket, organizations can spend less time on managing this resource and more time on focusing on their ideas, their innovation, and the next big thing.

I know that some people will be skeptical about the idea that jobs are going to grow across the economy, and that, as IDC estimates, roughly one in five jobs will be attributable to cloud computing in Canada. To this, I would respond by pointing out the innovative companies I’ve encountered across Canada, creating jobs not only in the IT sector, but in other industries, as well. Here are just a few examples of organizations that have embraced the cloud and, as a result, are contributing to a more innovative and robust economy in Canada.

Mediavalet makes it easy to share photos, audio, and videos around the world. Thousands of hotels use this service to provide potential visitors a glimpse of what’s waiting for them as they plan their trips online. In this case, cloud can help build jobs across the tourism industry as it brings in more visitors, allows hotels to focus on their business, and builds new marketplaces.

NewspaperDirect delivers over 2,000 newspapers in 95 languages around the world to a variety of electronic devices. Not only does the cloud fully enable the delivery of the content, it also helps newspapers reach a larger audience by allowing them to hire more reporters, advertisers, and editors.

Opreie takes the paperwork out of real-estate transactions, allowing real estate professionals to focus on their clients and build out their business. By reducing the time and complexity of the transactions, real estate professionals can grow their office and take on more clients.

Cortex Business Solutions harnesses the cloud to automate and streamline its purchasing process. With today’s increasing pace of business, all businesses need confidence and predictability in their procurement. Through reducing the costs associated in this critical part of their business, organizations can invest in their core capabilities, whether they are energy exploration, transportation, or environmental services.

Today’s entertainment marketplace has dramatically evolved, and talented people are now more connected with their fans than ever before. Connect2Fans makes it easy to build marketplaces that connect talented people with their fans, helping talented people spend more time on their passion and reach the community that appreciates it.

Whatsnexx provides a cloud-based, one-stop marketing environment. By taking the complexity out of all aspects of marketing campaigns, professionals can focus on the more important elements of reaching their audience. This helps marketing firms hire more artists, writers, and communicators in place of computer support staff.

Talented people are the lifeblood of today’s economy, and Redwood Global helps organizations find the specialized talent they need to be successful. By moving to Microsoft Office 365’s cloud-based environment, Redwood Global was able to avoid overhead costs associated with computer management and focus on helping clients find the people they need.

Social networks have always contributed to individual and business success. By bringing the often-distributed real estate community into their own online social community, Resaas connects professionals so that they can be more effective in their practice and grow their business.

The cloud empowers consumers more than ever before by bringing a wealth of information to their fingertips. 2-D barcodes are making it easier than ever before to link the physical world and the virtual world. GaugeMobile makes it easy for businesses to harness the great capabilities of barcodes and emerging wireless equivalents like NFC to grow their audience and customers. This can help everyone from organic food creators, who can invite more people to savor their creation, to artists, who can build a greater following by making it easier to appreciate their works.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

John Weigelt
National Technology Officer, Microsoft Canada

Microsoft on Government Blog

About the Author

John Weigelt | National Technology Officer, Microsoft Canada

John drives Microsoft Canada’s strategic policy and technology efforts. He is the lead advocate for the use of technology by private and public sectors, economic development, innovation, environmental sustainability, accessibility, privacy, and security.