Cloud drives IT growth

Data is nothing unless you refine it. I speak with tons of clients, and every CIO I talk to will tell you that data is going to be the basis of their competitive advantage.

Cloud migration is boosting IT budgets. In a recent survey of data center trends, almost half of respondents say they expect their budgets to increase by 5-10 percent over the next year. Additionally, Cisco predicts that global data center traffic will triple by 2017. This growth is spurred in part by the rise of big data, which more and more companies see as a strategic asset.

As  IT strategies shift from saving to innovation, budgets are increasing as well; worldwide, public cloud services spending will more than double by 2017, to $108 billion, from 2013’s $47.4 billion. Three main areas are expected to drive data center growth going forward: virtualization, big data, and data center consolidation. 

The cloud is reshaping technology spending

Following the theme of our recent post, What the cloud does to IT, check out this report on IT spending.

The key takeaway: “Power in technology purchases shifting from CIO to CMO, CFO, VP of Sales and line executives.”

More from IDC:

The business technology spending market will grow at 6.9% 5 year CAGR from $236.6 billion in 2012 to $330.7 billion by 2017, while enterprise IT grows slowly at a 1.9% 5 year CAGR from $213.0 billion to 233.5 billion over the same forecast period.

Cloud, mobile, social, and analytics are driving the momentum in business tech spending– and obviously cloud is an enabling technology for the other three.

The positive scenario here is that business units end up with the technology they really need, when they need it. The less rosy outcome is chaos. The difference between the two will be in large part how well companies plan and execute their strategic shift to the cloud.

What the cloud does to IT

If you think about going from mainframes to minis or minis to PCs or PCs to the web or client-server, all those trends were changes and some of them scary changes, but at the end of the day, there was more percentage of GDP in IT than there was before, and there were more jobs in IT than there were before.

I think it’s natural that some people are worried about the cloud. I don’t think the role of the IT pro disappears. It will probably change in some ways. The technology will change and some of the responsibilities will change. But at the end of the day, if the cloud enables us to do more, I think there will be more jobs and there will be more needs for people as opposed to less…

…The positive thing with the cloud is that there are so many new use cases that didn’t exist before, and they actually make all of our lives better. And, again, as we become more and more digital, we are going to need more and more people to support it.

From an interview with Scott Guthrie, head of Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise division, by the redoubtable Mary Jo Foley.