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Accenture Touts Cloud Computing for Developed Nations

A Focus on Shifting Infrastructure Costs Drives the Insight

So much emphasis is being placed today on developing nations, it's easy to forget the role of developed nations.

Because, despite all the excitement generated in recent years by China, India, Russia, Brazil, and many other countries, the developed world retains 69% of the global economy (according to recent figures from the CIA World Factbook.)

The combined economies of North America (the US, Canada, and Mexico) has about 29% of the world share, followed closely by the 27 members of the European Union with 28%. The developed Asia-Pacific nations (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand) have about another 13%.

Without some sort of recovery and growth in the developed world, then the developing world can forget about continued forward progress. 
The most obvious, and drastic, problem facing the developed world is a lack of manufacturing jobs. Drops in the manufacturing sector of between 30% and 40% over the past decade have not been uncommon for entire nations.

(Note: I count Mexico in this group because of its proximity to the US and its current distress in the manufacturing sector. The "great sucking sound," in Ross Perot's words, of jobs leaving the US has now affected Mexico as well.)

Germany is one of the few bright spots, with its high-end focus. But Germans are certainly concerned that they may soon be building products for a non-existent customer base.

What Can Be Done? What Must Be Done?
What do the developed nations need to do at this important historical juncture? How can they get back on track, and become effective manufacturers again?

Being smart about deploying IT is a cornerstone, according to a report by Accenture. Entitled, "New Waves of Growth in the Developed World," the report offers advice on how the most-developed nations of the world can avoid a "dismal decade," the kind that much of the US has, in fact, seen for the past decade and that Japan has now seen for pair.

The report, which comes out of the firm's London-based Institute for High Performance, mentions several consequences of an aging population (they‘re getting older, but they still will buy stuff, and they‘ll need public services), exhorts developed nations to invest in "low-carbon opportunities" (ok, check), and then mentions "pervasive waves of new technology."

This section starts off with an insight that I love to death: "While the attention of policymakers and business leaders has been focused on the biggest economic upheaval ofthe past 50 years, the rapid march of IT has silently continued."

In other words,  politicians don't know jack about technology and most (non-tech) CEOs are too busy protecting their pay packages to care.

A Modest Proposal (Really)
Accenture mentions IT as a growth sector, specifically Cloud Computing. The firm also defines the term in what I view as the correct way, eg, "(providing) access to computing power and software from a remote provider on a pay-per-use basis, without the high up-front infrastructure investment." Bingo.

Accenture also offers a remarkably modest revenue projection for Cloud Computing, stating, "the market for cloud computing is set to grow to US$8.06bn by 2013. The largest component of the overall cloud service market is in implementation, which represented 65 percent (US$1.5bn) of the 2009 market."

Accenture foresees opportunities for economies as a whole through "upfront investment demand, including expenditures in design, coding, hosting and so on, followed by the ongoing running and maintenance needs."

"Cloud computing can (also) open up the digital economy to small and medium sized enterprises," the report continues. "As the fixed costs of IT become variable, more businesses can access computing power over the web and improve their productivity."

Bingo again. This is the crux of the matter; IT-driven productivity has saved the US (and other developed nations) many times in the past; through Cloud Computing, it can do it again.

The Accenture report goes on to describe increased urbanization and emerging middle classes in the developing world and all the great opportunities this entails for new business.

But before we all follow President Obama's lead and send waves of people to India, hat in hand, begging for new business, it's best to get ever more Cloud Computing in place, as a way to shake the developed world out of its current bedazzled, confused state of mind.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.