The importance of cloud computing has grown significantly in recent years. It has enabled the use of shared IT infrastructure and services to create a flexible, scalable, and on-demand IT environment. The cloud is now the dominant model for delivering and maintaining enterprise IT resources, including hardware, software, and platforms and tools for application developers.

Listed below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting cloud computing environments, as identified by GlobalData.


The unplanned rush to remote working as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means companies and governments have had to rely on technology to keep their operations running as offices lay empty. Cloud services suppliers – notably Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Alibaba, and IBM – had to step up and bear the brunt of a transformed business landscape. Companies that would never have contemplated allowing their employees to work from home have been forced to rethink their opposition as cloud services delivered collaboration on a massive scale. The necessary wider move to cloud will now pose questions for organisations over their future consumption of IT resources.

Protectionist policies

Global trade creates a network of interdependencies between different countries, tying their economies together. The goal of protectionism is to modify the balance of power in trading relationships by changing the rules in favour of one country. The US is actively pursuing a policy of protectionism by introducing tariffs on a range of products – from technology to steel – as part of the Trump administration’s America First agenda. In the technology sector, the relationship between the US and China is the most disrupted. The two countries are engaged in an ongoing and increasingly bitter trade war.

US-China trade war

The US-China trade war will heat up further in 2020 and beyond as China refuses to compromise on its aggressive, mercantilist, state-directed economic model. China’s self perceived need to build a world-class internet infrastructure with public and hybrid clouds based on native components will only be strengthened by increased US-China tension. According to GlobalData forecasts, the US and China make up a combined 40% of the global cloud services market (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS).

This is an edited extract from the Cloud Computing – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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By GlobalData