Cloud Is Fueling Economic Growth in CIS and Worldwide

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Cloud computing will be a key IT enabler to help countries all over the world build their economies.
Some nations are proceeding down that path with great success, while others are just beginning to explore.

I just returned from Kazakhstan to consult on their G-cloud initiative and present at Digital Communications 2012. I had outlined their cloud opportunity in my Forbes article entitled Cloud Paves the New Silk Road for Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

Most impressive is their effort to build an ICT competency and nurture their own startup community. When I addressed their entrepreneurs on best practices from Silicon Valley, their energy and passion were infectious!

While I was in the Kazakh capital of Astana, Russian President Putin was in nearby Pavlodar meeting with Kazakh President Nazarbayev to expand their bilateral trade, including technology and infrastructure projects.

President Putin has been promoting a Eurasian Union to assemble former Soviet republics into an “economic union and semi-free trade zone.” It is thought that the Customs Union and Common Economic Space now implemented between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan could lay the foundation for a broader economic union of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS.)

President Putin had proposed that such a union would establish a single market of 165 million customers and strengthen the Central Asian region’s ability to integrate into Europe faster and more effectively.

While this proposal faces resistance and complex geopolitical challenges, it raises an interesting question about a unified cloud computing opportunity, when juxtaposed with the European Union’s Cloud Strategy.

EU Cloud Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes recently announced that by 2020 the cloud could be worth a significant proportion of their economy, “equivalent to a few hundred EUR per citizen.” It could have a “cumulative impact on their GDP of EUR 957 billion” and create 3.8 million jobs.

Russia’s own national cloud computing platform “Project 7” will be completed by 2015. Built by state-owned telecom operator Rostelecom, the platform will offer all three types of cloud services: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. These services will be available to government agencies, large enterprises and small – medium-sized businesses, developers — and even solutions for individuals.

Like many countries, Russia seeks to benefit from the cloud to both modernize government and create a platform for economic growth.

With Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and others in the region investing in the cloud, how big might their global impact be if they unified their efforts similar to the EU?

And what would the world economy look like then!

Jacqueline Vanacek is an SAP vice president, cloud computing evangelist and U.S. Commissioner on the Federal and State-Local Cloud Commissions to transform government. She is a regular Forbes blogger and also writes for the U.S. High Tech Lobby policy blog. Jacqueline shared her Sand Hill Group Study’s findings with U.S. Departments of State and Commerce on how cloud impacts job creation and economic growth. She also advises several Asian nations on their cloud opportunity. Follow Jacqueline @JacquelnVanacek for cloud to reinvent government and the economy.

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