Over the next year, a new National Cloud Computing Accelerator Programme will provide guidance and training to over 2,000 organisations on how to assess which cloud services will help fast-track their business, with 200 to receive hands-on cloud implementation advice at drop-in clinics in Dublin, Cork and Athlone. Microsoft, the Irish Centre for Cloud Computing and Commerce (IC4) at Dublin City University (DCU), University College Cork (UCC) and Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) have announced the National Cloud Computing Accelerator Programme to accelerate cloud business in Ireland. An additional 500 small and medium businesses who have already adopted the cloud will be advised on how the cloud can be harnessed to support growth.
The announcement of the Programme follows the publication of the Microsoft/Amárach Cloud Index as part of National Cloud Week. The report showed that greater awareness about the benefits of cloud and the latest cloud-related offerings is needed, with 37% of organisations polled saying that they are unaware of or are still gathering knowledge about the potential that cloud computing holds for their business. While 64% of businesses which have deployed the cloud said the cloud had met their expectations, only 19% of organisations said their expectations had been exceeded, suggesting that many have yet to harness the power of the cloud as a growth tool.
Speaking at the launch, Clare Dillon, Microsoft Ireland said,
“The purpose of the National Cloud Computing Accelerator Programme is to evangelise on the benefits of cloud computing for business, providing it is deployed in an appropriate, sophisticated manner. Microsoft will be working with DCU and IC4 on the design and delivery of clinics which have the specified aim of broadening the reach of the cloud in Ireland. We will also be arranging for expert speakers to attend the drop-in clinics where they will advise organisations on the most up-to-date developments in cloud technology. 90-day versions of all Microsoft cloud services will be provided to all participating businesses and Microsoft will be promoting the programme to 30,000 small business customers and partners.”
DCU will be leading the outreach programme to 2,000 Irish organisations which they will educate about the ways the cloud can aid growth. The university will be immediately expanding its existing Techspectations outreach programme to incorporate a new free cloud-specific training programme. DCU will also be launching a new facility, MarketingLab, to provide SMEs, and specifically cloud technology companies, access to cloud and digital marketing expertise, tools and knowledge. MarketingLab will be supported by Microsoft and hardware partner HP with the latest Windows 8 PCs, tablets and phones.
Professor Brian MacCraith, President of Dublin City University said,
“Acceleration of cloud computing is a national priority. It has the potential to drive significant new job creation and contribution to GDP. As Ireland’s University of Enterprise, DCU is delighted to work with Microsoft, our IC4 partner institutions – UCC’s Boole Centre for Research in Informatics and AIT’s Software Research Institute – and the other industry members in IC4 to accelerate the development and adoption of cloud technologies by Irish organisations through education, research and outreach.”