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MicroAssist is your Ticket to the Cloud
When discussing the growing popularity of cloud computing, one must also consider the extreme shortage of cloud computing skills that has forced CIOs to train their own staff. When Majestic Realty Co., a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate developer, moved to Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) for cloud-based email in early 2011, CIO Jon Grunzweig was shocked by the lack of technical support he found for BPOS in the marketplace.
“A year ago, no one knew anything about BPOS,” he says. “We couldn’t get good advice ahead of time on what to look out for, what to think about. That knowledge wasn’t there. Microsoft didn’t have it. Neither did third-parties.”
Across the IT industry, CIOs, technology vendors, and consultants agree that there is a serious shortage of cloud computing skills that threatens to hamper adoption. Whether it’s software engineers who know how to develop applications for the cloud, resource planners who can estimate an enterprise’s need for computing capacity, architects who can integrate services from different cloud vendors, or administrators who understand how to configure and support cloud-based services, a wide range of cloud-related skills are in great demand, and companies can’t leverage the benefits of cloud computing without them.
To illustrate the scope of the skills shortage, a recent analysis of hiring trends from Wanted Analytics, a provider of recruiting data, quantifies that the demand for cloud skills far outstrips supply. The company counted more than 3,400 job ads for IT professionals that required cloud computing skills in February 2012, a 99% increase over February 2011.
“People who understand cloud operations and how to deploy cloud solutions are really sought after right now,” says Greg Pierce, cloud strategy officer with consultancy TriBridge. “Talent is very difficult to find and very expensive.”
Mark Thile, executive vice president of data center technologies at Switch, a Las Vegas-based provider of data center and colocation facilities, says the organizations that are currently struggling the most with this skills shortage are the ones that are trying to support other companies and their own cloud requirements.
“All the hosting providers and small cloud startups and professional services organizations are cruising around the world trying to find anyone and everyone who can spell cloud,” he says. “If you have successfully built and delivered any kind of cloud environment for someone and can put that on your resume, you can write your own ticket.”
Indeed, without these cloud-savvy IT professionals, everyone suffers: the vendors, the consultants, and their customers.
CIOs need people – both internal staff and third-party providers – who can help them think through their cloud computing plans, develop business cases, determine what to move into the cloud, how to get it there, how to integrate it with on-premise systems, and how to secure it. The stakes for getting these plans right are high.
“The CIOs who will fail will do so because they’ve forced the cloud issue with a less than holistic view of their entire organization,” says Thiele. “They will end up investing millions of dollars to put something in that becomes an anchor or an eyesore for the IT organization. There’s no way to underestimate the potential for that risk.”
CIOs will not be able to rely exclusively on professional services firms to take the lead on cloud deployments. Consultants agree that CIOs will have to focus on shoring up their internal staffs’ cloud computing know-how.
“By 2016, there will be more deployments of software in the cloud than on premise,” says TriBridge’s Pierce. “If that holds true, then right now you can’t afford not to build those skills in your organization. The best way to build talent is to start doing cloud deployments and learn as you go.”
David Nicols, CIO Services Leader for Ernsy & Young, agrees. “The vast majority of these skills will have to be rebadged,” he says. “CIOs will have to take a component of their workforces and get them skilled and up to speed. A lot of this will be trial by fire.”
Keep your cloud migration from turning into a nightmare – enroll your IT staff in our suite of cloud computing classes and take advantage of MicroAssist’s 23 years of technology experience.
Have more questions? Meet Colin, our Instructor-Led Training Evangelist. Colin has a broad knowledge of technology from a career working with semi-conductor companies, hardware product development, to Fortune 100 IT organizations, and has worked on projects for NASA, Microsoft, Dell, Intel, and more.