The Impact of AWS in the UK

by Darren Hardman, VP & General Manager, AWS UK and Ireland

With Cloud computing, the pervasive technology of the digital age, at the core of so many fast-growing UK business, Darren Hardman—VP, General Manager, UK & Ireland for AWS—investigates the impact of AWS on the UK.

AWS is generating £8.7 billion in value for businesses across the country—the equivalent of 0.4% of the UK’s GDP—and more than Premier League.

We know cloud computing has been one of the most significant technological advances of our time - but six months into my new role leading the AWS UK & Ireland business, I was interested to learn that there is very little official data available on its uptake and its impact among UK small and medium size businesses.

Before COVID-19, AWS commissioned a report from independent consultancy, Public First, in collaboration with Professor Richard Kneller, from the University of Nottingham, to look at the impact of AWS and cloud in the UK.

The report found that AWS is generating £8.7 billion in value for businesses across the country - the equivalent of 0.4% of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - more than Premier League, or the UK music industry. It also found that businesses running on the cloud are nearly three times more likely to be growing at over 5% a year than those that are not.

Even for someone working in the industry, I found these figures fascinating. It’s clear that the pandemic has required many people and organisations to experiment with new ways of working, as well as more flexible technology, but the report highlights the fact that cloud computing has been powering large sections of the UK economy for some time, and more importantly, that there is a huge opportunity to drive growth and productivity in the UK, if we can boost the take up cloud across the country.

Many of the country’s fastest-growing businesses, from online food delivery service Just Eat, to peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle, to Monzo and Starling Bank, built their business on the cloud.

In fact, in 2019, 39 of the 50 fastest-growing tech companies, and 16 of the country’s 17 ‘unicorns’, private companies with a valuation of over $1 billion, were using AWS. It highlights the flexibility of cloud tools and services, which have allowed UK small businesses to access economies of scale that were once only available to large enterprises, something that has enabled completely new business models.

The report also points out that although the impact of the cloud is distributed across UK businesses large and small, and from every sector, it is not equally distributed among all regions in the UK.

The report found significant disparity in cloud uptake across regions – with 52% of companies in Greater London reporting using cloud platforms, but only 25% of companies in the East Midlands, for example. Increasing cloud prevalence has significant potential for helping local economies. According to the report, if we could increase cloud prevalence in the North East to match that of London, it would boost local productivity and wages by 2.6%, or around £1.4 billion a year.

The Impact of AWS in the UK
The Impact of AWS in the UK
Powering the UK’s fastest-growing companies

About the author

Darren Hardman
VP & General Manager of AWS UK and Ireland

Darren Hardman was appointed as the General Manager of AWS UK and Ireland in April 2020. Since joining, Darren has bought his wealth of business transformation and strategy experience, partnering with organisations of all sizes – from start-ups, through to the UK’s largest enterprises – to accelerate their customer-centric digital business transformation and help them realise new forms of customer value, leveraging AWS cloud.

Learn more about Darren »

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