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Cloud Skills Shortage: Does It Matter?

More and more companies around the world are embracing the cloud – and that’s a good thing.

But this massive IT shift also presents a problem: With so many businesses moving to cloud, is there enough quality IT technicians available to help businesses manage the switch?

Don Reisinger from CIO Insight, among many others in the space, has identified the IT skills shortage as a real issue facing the cloud industry. With so much of the technology creating a rift between the old school IT managers of the mainframe to pure virtualization eras and the newer DevOps and Cloud engineer roles (e.g., AWS DevOps), it’s hard to see the simple path towards ample expertise.

But then again, according to Reisinger, perhaps it’s not such a problem as so many fret over. Companies are still purchasing cloud tools and services at incredible volumes, causing projections of the overall revenues of the industry to balloon to many billions of dollars over the next 10 years.

With services like AWS, and its inbuilt ecosystem of 3rd party add-ons, many companies are able to access a wealth of cloud value for a minimal cost and without decades of IT experience. This scenario runs the risk of creating more systemic problems down the line when smooth sailing moves into choppier waters: outages and business continuity issues require real expertise to solve and having a nominal understanding of how the cloud works can make a simple fix into a serious situation.

Many companies see this as the perfect reason to outsource cloud infrastructure to a managed services and cloud providers. With over 8000 MSPs in the US alone, there are many options. However, similar to the conundrum facing businesses seeking to hire a diminishing pool of expert IT technicians, MSPs often face a HR shortage of quality candidates. Many resort to developing tiers of management access, offering more expert consultation to larger clients, and leaving less experienced techs to handle smaller client requests. This can seriously jeopardize a company’s ability to access expertise, especially in the case of a crisis.

According to a well-publicized RackSpace survey, more than 42% of companies seeking cloud support have outsourced because too few members of their internal IT staffs have the necessary knowledge to effectively manage cloud infrastructures (the survey reveals that 54% of companies feel their available IT staffs don’t have the necessary cloud skills/experience).

But does the skill shortage mean that companies will pull the reigns on cloud adoption? The RackSpace survey suggests the opposite – effectively nothing can stop the charge to the clouds. Cost savings rank among the most important reasoning still, and many companies simply cannot afford to ignore that benefit (literally).

Many companies have used those savings to reinvest in other areas of their businesses, seeing outsourcing or the strategic hiring of a few internal experts the path of least resistance where cloud is concerned. This savings have enabled organizations to continue to innovate while spending less time managing their infrastructure. Whether this is achieved because of the relatively simple nature of do-it-yourself interfaces or via MSPs, the value cloud has brought has enabled IT to be much more innovation focused.

What do you think is motivating businesses to increasingly adopt cloud without the necessary IT expertise? Let us know on Twitter @CloudGathering.

By Jake Gardner

Posted on June 19, 2013 in Cloud Perspectives

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  1. Are CIOs Becoming Obsolete? Gathering Clouds
    August 9, 2013 at 8:48 am ·

    […] more stakeholders. Cloud is an area that conceptually should fall within the mandate of IT. Yet, as we mentioned yesterday, the accessibility of the variety of cloud platforms has made it easier than ever for a range of […]

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