Cloud is now a business imperative, and we see many organizations taking a cloud-first approach to innovate faster and serve customers better. Increased agility, more cost savings and better competitive advantages are also amongst the most cited reasons for an organization’s transition to the cloud. However, there’s one area of concern the industry hasn’t been able to effectively address so far – bridging the cloud skills gap.
In Oracle’s Your Platform research, respondents from India cited lack of skills as one of the top three challenges they face when migrating to the cloud. Skills issues were also called out as issues around having the right capabilities for developing applications in the cloud, and around data management. The ability to find and retain cloud-savvy IT staff continues to be considered one of the key barriers to cloud adoption. No wonder, moving to the cloud is still deemed to be risky by some CIOs, but should it be?
The reality is that the bigger risk is not moving to the cloud, which is rapidly proving itself as easier to manage, maintain and secure than traditional IT environments. In particular, cloud services are vastly more secure that many on-premises alternatives, due to the fact that more time and money are spent on them by major cloud providers, and they’re continually kept patched and up-to-date as a result.
What we see from talking to CIOs across industries is that where skills gaps issues exist, they relate less to having specific cloud skills and centre more on mindset. So what are the gaps and how can companies seek to overcome them?
Think big – Infrastructure cloud services enable businesses to operate elastically, at a vastly increased scale. This gives the company an amazing opportunity to change the dynamics of how they operate. Instead of just migrating individual databases, think bigger, consolidating the various data sets you have around the business into a unified dataset. There are multiple benefits of this. At a base level, you can have more applications per server and manage them all as one, and with AI and machine learning becoming more prevalent, you can be prepared to take maximum use of these exciting emerging technologies by preparing for it now by creating a single data asset.
Data orchestration – Businesses are increasingly seeking to become data-driven. IT teams need to stop looking at data as by-product of processes and instead regard it as profit opportunity. This means thinking about how business information can be turned into actionable insights that lead to customer engagement and profitable growth.
Creating a team for the future will inevitably affect the hiring process. Rather than look for new employees from traditional, external sources, most likely direct competitors, CIOs should aim to recruit from cloud-native companies. These staff are used to handling data in the cloud and have the required cloud skills.
Don’t forget you already might have internal talent that has the potential to shine in a cloud world. Holding or attending ‘hackathons’ or offering existing staff the opportunity to volunteer to take part in new cloud projects could give you the chance to spot skills you didn’t know the team possessed.
Once an enterprise has upskilled its team, talent retention is important. This is to ensure that the business feels a positive benefit from its investment and that real change is given the time needed to take root.
If enterprise IT teams can close the cloud skills gap, the rewards will be well worth the effort. The renewed, high-performing team will quickly demonstrate value to the C-suite and other key corporate stakeholders, while enabling a core competitive differentiator for the business.