According to the recent Tech-Nation 2016 report from Tech City UK, the ‘digital tech’ economy in the UK is made up of 1.56 million workers. That’s a huge number.
But for me, what’s more important is that technology’s rate of job creation in the UK has outpaced the rest of the market nearly three-fold (x2.8).
Analyst firm IDC took a look at just the Salesforce ecosystem of customers and partners to see how we were contributing as a company to the local economy, and found that it will help create about 54,000 new jobs to focus on cloud technologies in the UK by 2018.
This demonstrates just how far we’ve come as a country – only a few years ago, the idea of cloud computing was met with scepticism. Some thought it was a passing fad, and others thought it would actually take jobs away from people.
>See also: Cloud strategies for digital transformation
The argument went that, as cloud technology meant that companies would no longer have to manage on-premise infrastructure, the need for human talent would therefore reduce.
I think we can finally – and definitively – lay those fears to rest. Cloud technology has made significant positive changes in the UK market. Think about players including Ocado and Uber – they’ve disrupted entire sectors, and cloud is the technology that has enabled this disruption.
The cloud-based technology that those companies use is helping them provide new and differentiated service offerings completely aligned to the needs of the connected, mobile world in which we live today.
Companies at every level – small, medium and all the way up to supersize global players – are using cloud technology to innovate and keep pace with rising customer expectations.
For example, iconic brands like Aston Martin are modernising, using technology to ensure the customer experience feels as bespoke and as special as one of their remarkable automobiles. And John Lewis is using technology that’s tailored to the retail industry, creating real one-to-one customer interactions and driving new levels of customer service.
It’s not only traditional and large companies that are taking advantage of cloud technologies. Smaller companies, such as Sureflap and JustEat, take advantage of the ease-of-use, scalability and availability that is part and parcel of the cloud.
According to the TechCity report, application and software development is the top opportunity for companies starting out today, and cloud technology offers a unique platform on which to create and innovate.
It’s no surprise to me that some of the most dynamic UK startups are using the cloud and related technologies to build unique services and products. And many of these are being developed not only for consumers, but also to help other businesses maintain and gain market share.
For instance, UK entrepreneurs and companies, such as CloudSense and FinancialForce, are developing incredible new business apps that are widely available online.
Companies such as Salesforce are actively investing in this next generation of enterprise cloud startups. Recent UK investments made by Salesforce Ventures, for example, include NewVoiceMedia, Qubit and DigitalGenius – important cloud startups that are part of the emerging global enterprise app economy.
We’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and bet on their success because we know that the cloud is the right technology for companies to bet on in turn.
But what’s important to note is that business is not the only area of the UK that’s making a major transition with cloud technology – it’s everywhere, and helping to transform lives as well as build businesses.
In the public sector, organisations like Peterborough City Council embrace the cloud to improve front-line services for its citizens, with apps that let council workers assist people more efficiently and help residents access services that allow them to more easily participate in civic life. All the while helping drive better efficiencies.
As our CEO, Marc Benioff, stated, “The business of business is not business. The business of business is improving the state of the world.” There’s been a significant shift in the way businesses operate today. It’s no longer enough for a company to mind its ledgers and pump out profits – the workers of today want an opportunity to give back whilst doing good work and they want businesses to stand for something.
>See also: 6 drivers for moving business to the cloud
What if all companies integrated giving back into their business models? Salesforce.org is based on a simple idea: leveraging Salesforce's technology, people and resources to help improve communities around the world. We call this integrated philanthropic approach the 1-1-1 model and it’s helping good organisations across the UK do great work.
For instance, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which supports blind and partially sighted people, uses technology to help increase accessibility for the visually impaired.
As one of our Salesforce.org beneficiaries, RNIB uses cloud technology to help manage its client base and encourage technology companies to build in accessibility – ensuring that more people affected by sight loss are receiving the support they need.
It really is still early days for the cloud and the digital transformations it enables. The best is definitely yet to come.