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Looking for growth opportunities? Look into public cloud and remote working. Both are growing fast, according to new reports from IDC and Gallup.

Here’s your solution provider’s update.

Public Cloud

How big is the public cloud market, and how quickly is it growing? Plenty big and plenty fast, according to figures issued yesterday by IDC.

The market watcher’s latest semiannual public-cloud services guide predicts that worldwide spending on public-cloud services and infrastructure will increase this year over last year by nearly 25 percent. Assuming that’s correct, the worldwide spend on public cloud will this year total $122.5 billion.

Looking ahead further, IDC expects worldwide spending on public cloud to grow over the next 5 years by an average of about 20 percent a year — that will be nearly 7 times faster than IT spending in general. At that rate, the worldwide spend on public cloud will by the year 2020 total roughly $203 billion. (Fun fact: That’s more than New Zealand’s current gross national product.)

By industry, the fastest growth in public-cloud spending will come from professional services, which IDC predicts will increase its public-cloud spending over the next 5 years by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 percent. That’s a few points faster than the overall public-cloud market.

Other fast-growing public-cloud industries over the next 5 years, IDC predicts, will be retail and media (both 23% CAGR), and telecom (22% CAGR).

By company size, IDC predicts that nearly half of all public-cloud spending over the next 5 years will come from very large organizations, those with more than 1,000 employees. Still, the fastest growth in public-cloud spending will come from what IDC labels large organizations, those with 500 to 999 employees. Their 5-year CAGR on public cloud, IDC expects, will clock in at 23 percent.

The very nature of the public cloud could change, too. “The cloud will become more distributed, more trusted, more intelligent, more industry- and workforce-specialized, and more channel-mediated,” says IDC analyst Frank Gens.

Remote Work

Technology makes remote working not only possible, but also productive. A new workforce report from Gallup shows that the number of employees working remotely at least some of the time rose over the last four years by 4 points — from 39 percent to 43 percent. That makes sense, since just over half (53%) also said that a job role allowing them greater work-life balance is very important.

Employees who work away from the office are also spending more time there, Gallup finds. In 2012, Gallup says, 24 percent of remote-working employees spent 80 percent or more of their time working remotely. By 2016, that figure had grown to 31 percent of employees.

The report, issued last week, uses data Gallup has collected from more than 195,600 U.S. employees.

By industry, the greatest increases in remote working are being found in finance, insurance and real estate, Gallup says. These were followed by slightly slower growth in transportation, manufacturing, construction and retail.

In general, employees who work remotely are also more engaged than others. Gallup found that when employees work remotely 60 to 80 percent of the time — equivalent to 3 to 4 days of a typical 5-day work week — they achieve “optimal engagement.” That seems to be the ideal balance, letting employees combine solitary work with face-to-face meetings.

Combined with other changes in the workplace, the implications for managers will be profound, Gallup predicts. “The very practice of management no longer works,” writes the research firm’s CEO, Jim Clifton. “The old ways…no longer achieve the intended results.”

His recommendations? Transform the workplace from the old command-and-control model to one of “high development and ongoing coaching conversations.”

That could be good advice for not only your clients, but also your own operation. After all, your employees are probably working remotely, too.


See related content:

IT pros trust the cloud, despite security issues: survey

Cloud: great for suppliers, but how about the channel?

Why you’ll probably have to pay more in salaries this year


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