'Cloud computing' to create jobs
Ireland could create almost 20,000 jobs by rebranding itself a world leader in "cloud computing", a report has found.
Industry chiefs also claim public sector costs could be slashed by shifting systems on to the new technology.
Paul Rellis, managing director of Microsoft Ireland, said "the cloud" could be worth 9.5 billion euro to the economy by 2014.
"The potential of this thing is big and there really is a great opportunity, if there is some speed and urgency put behind this, to take a disproportionate share of the global cloud computing market in Ireland," he said.
Cloud computing allows people to store applications and software with companies and access them on demand over the internet.
It has been described as the computing equivalent of linking into the electricity grid or gas network.
The technology cuts out the need for users to build and manage their own complex and costly systems.
Goodbody economic consultants, who were commissioned by Microsoft Ireland to investigate its potential for Ireland, found businesses could halve IT costs by using "the cloud".
Savings would help 2,000 small and medium companies get off the ground with the creation of 11,000 jobs, the report claims.
Another 8,600 new jobs would come from companies specialising in "cloud computing" if Ireland took a lead in the market.