Cloud technology is expected to create millions of new jobs around the world and will be an important force in inspiring the business innovation needed to restore global economic health, according to a new IDC study released today. The study, commissioned by Microsoft, found that by the end of 2015, nearly 14 million new jobs will be created worldwide, and just over 70,000 across Canada.

In Montreal, new jobs related to the cloud will increase an average of 20 per cent annually, resulting in almost 7,800 by 2015.

The cloud is a web-based way to process, manage and store data – an IT solution so cost-effective that businesses of all sizes are moving away from the expensive maintenance of legacy systems, and instead opting to build on top of the cloud’s common infrastructure. By using the cloud’s global scalability, businesses can, in turn, invest those savings directly into business innovation.

IDC reports that worldwide, at least 75 per cent of IT spending is currently tied up with the maintenance of legacy systems and routine upgrades.

“By harnessing the power of the cloud, businesses can benefit from reduced fees and equipment costs, and in turn free up IT staff to turn their focus to more mission-critical and strategic tasks,” says John Weigelt, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Canada. “But we often overlook one of the cloud’s most compelling benefits: by empowering business innovation and helping to increase revenues, using cloud technology can lead to job creation across all sectors, and in turn, drive Canada’s economy forward.”

The IDC also reveals several other interesting cloud facts:

* In 2011, more than $28 billion was spent on cloud services worldwide.

* In 2011, the cloud helped businesses around the world generate more than $400 billion in additional revenues and 1.5 million new jobs. More than 50 per cent of those jobs accrued to small and medium businesses.

* By 2015 in Montreal, businesses with less than 500 staff (SMEs) will see an increase of more than 3,800 new jobs, while larger enterprise companies will increase by more than 4,000 jobs.

“At Microsoft, we’re challenging businesses to really see the path that the cloud offers: increased flexibility and technology cost savings, allowing for greater productivity, more innovation, and eventually, business growth,” says Weigelt. “Businesses across the globe are realizing that if they act now, they can reap big benefits both today and into the future.”

Canadian company VRX Studios has been reaping the benefits of the cloud. After ten years of faithfully serving the company, VRX Studios’ home grown digital asset management system wasn’t able to support the company’s size, scale and growth rate. Realizing its dilemma, VRX Studios needed to quickly find a new, highly scalable, enterprise-class digital asset management system that could meet the global needs of its business. With over 10,000 hotel customers around the world and more than 20 terabytes of data, the benefits the cloud offered were too good to ignore.

“We knew we needed to build a system that was 100 per cent cloud-based in order to eliminate the enormous capital expenses that would be required to launch a global solution and to reduce operating costs to a small fraction of what an on-premises or collocated system would,” says David MacLaren, President and CEO, VRX Studios. “Using Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform, we developed the first 100 per cent cloud-based digital asset management system to improve our content production, licensing and distribution business. Since building the core system, we’ve branded it MediaValet and now offer the solution as a stand-alone SaaS product, providing cloud-based digital asset management services to companies of all sizes, industries and locations. Due to the demand that we’re seeing for this new product, we expect MediaValet to surpass the success of VRX Studios within the next few years.”