The Cloud Market in Canada – A native’s perspective

Canada has gone through some changes recently and most pressingly, the economy has taken some blows. In 2015 I was in a senior PM role for the software mobile device management (MDM) division at blackberry, so I’d like to think I have quite a solid grasp on where the market is at present. Below is my comment on the cloud market in general in Canada, from the perspective of a local. 

[easy-tweet tweet=”Hear how the #TechIndustry is developing in Canada from @MrBrianEmery” user=”comparethecloud”]

In Canada we have some very interesting developments underway and, in my opinion, we have massive opportunities in making the cloud more apparent and available. AWS recently announced that they are opening up a data centre presence here after trying to dominate the territory. This I believe is a smart move considering the current state of the economy (all time low for the Canadian dollar) as well as cloud tech coming of age here. Obviously they are not the only cloud titan to make moves in this market. MS Azure is also a common service, but these two firms are deemed from an outsider looking in perspective.

Who are the main players in Canada?

IBM has a very dominate foothold in Canada which really became further established with the acquisition of SoftLayer back in 2013. This really gave us more choice and flexibility amongst the other large companies (coupled with a strong IBM relationship already established). However there are other competing local players such as CenturyLink, Bell, iWeb, RackForce and a handful of others each offering similar services, but this is infrastructure and it is hard to differentiate.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Canada is going though a major #tech transition at the moment says @mrbrianemery”]

It is also interesting to see some of the very large cloud centric firms targeting Canada; they all see this territory as one with steep growth, and to be honest I feel this too. We (Canada) are going though a major tech transition at the moment. The lack of major cloud providers having a presence here until recently means we have had to be innovative and in some ways it has isolated us. Even smaller cloud centric IT firms have differentiated themselves to play in this market and are winning business. With this said, we also have a skills shortage and look to outsourced development houses to assist (Full Stack skill sets) as we are playing catch up. On the other hand we have leapfrogged the pain of the evolution of infrastructure that most of the world has had to go through, and in my opinion puts us in a very good place.

Recruitment in Canada

This week there was a local recruitment event organised by Communitech, a sort of incubator of technology companies in the Waterloo area of Ontario. They are also a very good B2B and B2C business support organisation that really assists growth within the IT sector for their clients. The Tech Jam on the 19th of January was absolutely packed, filled with similar people like myself looking at who is hiring who, and what skills are in demand. A very innovative approach was seen – Vendors pitching their respective companies and asking the audience to approach them.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Canada has bypassed the growing pains of general #cloud infrastructure” user=”mrbrianemery”]

The skills in high demand from the 50ish vendors exhibiting differed by the size of the organisation; but I can say that full stack developers, product management, Java developers, software developers, and testers were in high demand. This in itself is a good indication that we have bypassed the growing pains of general cloud infrastructure and are on the road to an Open Source application revolution. Of course I should also mention that the Financials are looking to improve and integrate mobile agile working too. TD Bank and ScotiaBank were main sponsors and also a handful of Fintech supporting companies. BlockChain is a relatively new concept over here and I think this is a good time to get on-board with this financial service enabler. I must admit I knew very little about BlockChain until it was explained to me but it does make sense to implement a fast, effective and inexpensive way of processing information that ultimately benefits us, the end consumer of financial products.

Canada is about to boom with cloud technology

We are a relatively small community and we do have the luxury of looking across the pond and seeing where everyone else has paid the price of innovation in an evolutionary market. Canada is about to boom with cloud technology. Yes, we have some economic challenges, but we are a relatively green field for new approaches to the underpinning technology and have a sound, solid base to build upon. With our Open Source heritage and now the larger cloud players taking an interest the tech scene, we are looking forward to a very prominent pinnacle for the future of tech in our country. 

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