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The cloud and the opportunity ahead

COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of cloud tech which meant the skills gap widened as the global talent landscape transformed. Digital workers in Asia today know they will need advanced digital skills – almost half believe cloud computing skills will be required in their jobs within just four years.

Photo by @cottonbro from Pexels.com

By Phil Davis
Managing Director for Asia Pacific and Japan, Amazon Web Services

A lot of what we do now is underpinned by the cloud, and “cloud” has increasingly become a tech buzzword. There are many reasons there is buzz around the cloud, and I will expand on some of them here.

Cloud democratises access to the kind of computing power that was previously only accessible to large corporations with deep pockets. What used to require a $100 million investment can now be achieved on the cloud for as little as $26 a year. And, by not spending time and resources on traditional IT infrastructure, companies using cloud can build faster, better, and cheaper – in more sustainable ways. Cloud is flexible, agile, scalable, and has the potential to impact all industries in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago across healthcare, finance, agriculture, education, and sustainability, to name a few. And as the demand for cloud computing grows, so does the demand for cloud-skilled workers. It has been predicted that there will be a significant skills gap by 2025 unless more is done to train, retrain, and upskill the region’s workforce.

Phil Davis

Driving digital transformation and harnessing data

In today’s digital economy, it’s hard to find an industry that doesn’t use cloud applications. From accelerating medical research, improving crop yields in developing economies, and driving sustainability, to tracking bush fires, the cloud is changing the way we live, work, and play. Digital transformation is both an agent of change and a facilitator of it, and some of the biggest disruptions have been in the banking sector as we change the way we bank. There are more than 50 digital banks across Asia, with more on the way, helping drive financial inclusion in developing countries using the cloud. Today’s digital bank customers have high expectations for convenience, enhanced user experience, and personalisation, and access to the cloud has enabled these banks to innovate to meet these demands quickly and at low cost.

The pandemic has accelerated disruption and cloud adoption, and the volume of data produced as industries move to the cloud is growing rapidly. This data holds the potential for insights that can inform business strategies and is a resource that can’t be ignored. While some businesses are already leveraging data to drive decisions, gain competitive advantage, and fuel the next generation of innovation and success, more will do so in the coming year as business leaders start to understand the potential that cloud computing presents.

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Data and analytics will become this decade’s priorities, and we must be ready with the necessary tools, skills, and expertise to tap into this resource to deliver efficiency and unlock experimentation. For many organisations, data is their most valuable asset, and we are helping them move data to the cloud, modernise applications, build next generation secure data platforms, and build data lakes to collect real-time data. And, using Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, these organisations can gain real-time actionable insights, results, and predictions to improve decision making.

The digital skills gap

The rapid evolution of cloud technology and widespread adoption of cloud computing will require a workforce that has the right data and cloud skills, and across Asia, the supply of digitally skilled workers is nowhere near the demand. COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of cloud tech which meant the skills gap widened as the global talent landscape transformed. Digital workers in Asia today know they will need advanced digital skills – almost half believe cloud computing skills will be required in their jobs within just four years. 

Broadening the skills base of workers globally is vital for economic growth, resiliency, and prosperity, and the social implications of failing to act include rising income disparity and more unemployment. Since COVID-19, there has been mass labour market displacement with job losses predicted to far exceed the Global Financial Crisis, and unemployment is forecasted to be at its highest since the Great Depression. With this in mind, governments around the world are implementing national policies on skilling and laying the building blocks for reforms, but more needs to be done by the private sector. Employers need to help current workers upskill, educational institutes need to adopt curricula that provide relevant skills, and workers across all fields need to seize the opportunity to learn new digital skills.

AWS is invested in the future

AWS is committed to a dynamic and entrepreneurial IT sector and supporting economic growth globally, and we hope to build resilience into the digital-skilled workforce and help bridge the skills gap. Globally, we are committed to helping 29 million people grow their technical skills with free cloud computing training by 2025. We have made over 500 free, on demand, courses available online, with many courses available in local languages such as Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, as well as interactive labs and virtual day-long training sessions through AWS Training and Certification. We are also working with educational institutes around the region to develop programmes that provide students with relevant in-demand cloud tech skills.

The world’s workforce needs a sustainable future, and Amazon is committed to helping provide this by making more than 91 renewable energy investments around the world and committing to Amazon’s Climate Pledge to be a net-zero carbon business by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement, and to be on 100% renewable energy by 2025.

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The cloud has the power to do a lot of good, but we must be prepared to harness that power with a skilled workforce that can meet the challenge to innovate at exponential speed. As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic with new ways of operating, working, and living being adopted, cloud will remain at the forefront of our digital lives.

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