Why You’re Not Ready for Cloud Computing Challenges – and What to Do About It

JUNE 3RD, 2019
Research shows that companies are losing billions of dollars by not having the necessary cloud professionals. Why? Because fewer cloud professionals means there is less innovation and revenue. That may be why some companies are actually hiring tech people before there are jobs available – they know the talent pipeline isn’t overflowing and they don’t want to be caught anymore without key personnel like cloud engineers. For example, Audiogon, an e-commerce site for high-end audio systems, reports it is always on the hunt for technology workers since it can take up to eight months to fill some vacancies. “If you can get the right person who fits our culture and has the skill set, I don’t like to let that person go,” says Lindsay Karlson, chief operating officer. “In six months, I don’t know that I’ll find them.” The stakes for businesses are high: A 2017 Rackspace report found that big businesses lost $258 million, or 5 percent of global annual revenue because of a lack of cloud expertise. Such skills deficit also hurt an organization’s ability to be competitive and innovative, the research found.
Joel Berwitz, CDW’s head of cloud services sales in the UK, says that public clouds like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Alibaba are speeding up cloud adoption by organizations, and that adds more urgency to hiring cloud professionals. But Berwitz says he believes the ability to really drive innovation, growth and the bottom line will come down to “skills and culture,” he says. “Companies can have all the best intentions but ultimately the delivery of this new role in business comes down to the expertise of the people involved,” Berwitz says. “Organizations need to be able to either re-train their existing teams or make sure that they are looking at new ways to recruit talent – a mix of experience and raw youth, to ensure that end users and customers are delivered with the services they expect. In the future, these will be the differentiators.” Even the U.S. government – often seen as sluggish and behind the times – is trying to be more innovative to attract necessary IT talent, including expertise in cloud computing. At the General Services Administration (GSA), the old siloed legacy systems have been scrapped for a more efficient business-oriented cloud-based and shared services. Eighteen enterprise help desks were eliminated in favor of a unified cloud-based platform. Such moves are attracting IT talent from even the private sector, says David Shive, GSA CIO. "If you can tell an IT worker they will be a cloud engineer instead of a backup" technician, then it’s “compelling,” to them, Shive says. The need for cloud computing expertise is expected to continue to grow. IDG reports that 73 percent of organizations have at least one application, or a portion of their computing infrastructure already in the cloud, with 38 percent reporting that the IT department feels pressure to migrate 100 percent to the cloud.
Those pressures are already leading to changes in staffing IT, IDG report. For example, 69 percent report that cloud migration has already meant new hires within IT, but also created new roles and functions, including cloud architect/engineer (34 percent), cloud systems administrator (33 percent), security architect/engineer (30 percent), cloud systems engineer (22 percent) and cloud network engineer (20 percent). For companies who want to be competitive in hiring and retaining cloud professionals, they need to:
  1. Invest in the future. By focusing on high-school students, companies can identify future talent that has the key abilities they need to “create a stable, self-renewing workforce,” says Armando Garza, chief evangelist at YouScience.
  2. Train existing employees. Workers who have related skills and institutional knowledge can be trained in the necessary cloud skills – and save the company money because they don’t have to pay additional costs associate with recruiting and onboarding.
  3. Workshops. Jessica McKellar, a software developer, says that by holding weekend workshops for a group of diverse people interested in learning something more about Python, for example, organizations can create relationships to help identify potential talent.
It’s clear that more companies are going to need cloud computing expertise, but in order to attract and retain the best talent, organizations are going to need to be much more creative and proactive – quickly.

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