Cloud Expertise Report with Rackspace and Intel

For a number of months I’ve been working with Rackspace and colleague Carsten Sorensen to undertake a study of the impact of skills and expertise on cloud computing. The report “the cost of cloud expertise” has just been published here. The headline figure is that $258m is lost a year through lack of cloud expertise.

Cost of cloud expertise report

In the press release I am quoted as saying; “Put simply, cloud technology is a victim of its own success. As the technology has become ubiquitous among large organizations – and helped them to wrestle back control of sprawling physical IT estates – it has also opened up a huge number of development and innovation opportunities. However, to fully realize these opportunities, organizations need to not only have the right expertise in place now, but also have a cloud skills development strategy to ensure they are constantly evolving their IT workforce and training procedures in parallel with the constantly evolving demands of cloud. Failure to do so will severely impede the future aspirations of businesses in an increasingly competitive digital market.”

The report also explores the requirements for cloud skills, and discusses the strategy businesses can adopt to mitigate the risks of the cloud skills shortages:

  • Split the IT function into separate streams – business focused and operation focused.
  • Develop a cloud-skills strategy.
  • Assess the cloud ecosystem and ensuring a balanced pool of skills.

Take a look!

Some early press coverage below…

Only 29% of IT leaders have the skills needed to fully embrace the cloud TechRepublic Sep 21, 2017
Rackspace asked organization execs around the world about cloud IT — here’s what they found San Antonio Business Journal Sep 21, 2017
Cloud Skill Shortage Costs Large Enterprises $258 Million Each Year: Report Windows IT Pro Sep 21, 2017
Cloud skills shortage holding back some Aussie businesses CIO Australia
Is cloud computing a victim of its own success? Computer Business Review Sep 21, 2017
Two-thirds of businesses losing money over poor cloud skills Cloud Pro
Here’s what’s costing businesses a lot of money London Loves Business
UK organisations lose millions a year due to lack of cloud technology skills Bdaily
Lack of cloud expertise costing companies $258mn per year The Stack
UK businesses losing revenue due to lack of cloud expertise ITProPortal

The real cost of using the cloud – your help needed for research supported by Rackspace and Intel.

It’s almost a given that cloud technology has the power to change the way organisations operate. Cost efficiency, increased business agility and time-saving are just some of the key associated benefits[1]. As cloud technology has matured, it’s likely not enough for businesses to simply have cloud platforms in place as part of their operations. The  optimisation and continual upgrading of the technology may be just as important over the long term. With that in mind, a central research question remains: how can global businesses maximise their use of the cloud? What are the key ingredients they need to maintain, manage and maximise their usage of cloud?

For instance, do enterprises have the technical expertise to roll out the major cloud projects that will reap the significant efficiencies and savings for their business? How can large enterprises ensure they have the right cloud expertise in place to capitalise on innovations in cloud technology and remain competitive? Finally, what are the cost implications of nurturing in-house cloud expertise vs harnessing those of a managed cloud service provider?

A colleague (Carsten Sorensen) and I are working with Rackspace® on a project (which is also sponsored by Intel®) to find out. But we would need some help from IT leaders like you?

How you can help

We’re looking to interview IT decision makers/leaders in some of the UK’s largest enterprises (those with more than 1,000 employees and with a minimum annual turnover of £500m) which use cloud technology in some form, to help guide the insights developed as part of this project.

The interviews will be no more than 30 mins long via telephone. Your participation in the project will also give you early access to the resulting report covering the initial key findings. We would also share subsequent academic articles with you. We follow research ethics guidelines and can ensure anonymity to yourself and your company (feel free to email confidentially to discuss this issue).

If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in then please email me

Best wishes,

Dr Will Venters,

Dr Carsten Sorensen,

and Dr Florian Allwein.

  1. Venters, W. and E. Whitley, A Critical Review of Cloud Computing: Researching Desires and Realities. Journal of Information Technology, 2012. 27(3): p. 179-197.

(Photo (cc) Damien Pollet with thanks!)

The Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud Empire | WIRED

Prof. Alan Brown of CoDE shared the following Wired article with me. The article discusses why platforms are a complex value-evaluation activity, and why companies seek to control the ecosystem upon which they rely. “In fleeing the cloud, Dropbox is showing why the cloud is so powerful. It too is building infrastructure so that others don’t have to.”

Half-a-billion people stored files on Dropbox. Well, sort of. Really, the files were in Amazon’s cloud. Until Dropbox built its own. And threw the switch.

Visit: The Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud Empire | WIRED

Future of cloud computing: looking at the bigger questions | Cloud Pro

Max Cooter has written an interesting article in CloudPro on the Dell Think-tank I participated in this week….

Future of cloud computing: looking at the bigger questions | Cloud Pro.

I very much liked the last paragraph:

“I was reminded at this point of the scene in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar just after the assassination when Cassius says “How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted o’er, in states unborn and accents yet unknown.” The cloud scenario is going to be played in thousands of unborn companies using technologies yet unknown – any company who thinks that cloud is a fad or some sort of media hype is going to be left far behind.”

Advanced Outsourcing Practice : Palgrave Macmillan

I’ve just received my authors’ copy of the  book…  Advanced Outsourcing Practice : Palgrave Macmillan.

Mary and Leslie have done a great job describing the key challenges of contemporary outsourcing – including our chapter on  “Shifting to Cloud Services: Current Challenges and Future Opportunities”.

Our Fifth Report is out – Management implications of the Cloud

The fifth report in our Cloud Computing series for Accenture has just been published. This report looks at the impact Cloud Computing will have on the management of the IT function, and thus the skills needed by all involved in the IT industry. The report begins by analysing the impact Cloud might have in comparison to existing outsourcing project. It considers the core-capabilities which must be retained in a “cloud future”, considering how these capabilities might be managed, and the role of systems integrators in managing the Cloud.

Please use the comments form to give us feedback!

Cloud and the future of Business 5 – Management .

Chaired session at LSE Student Strategy & Management Consulting Conference





Last week I chaired a session at the LSE Student Strategy & Management Consulting Conference. The session was titled: The Dark Side of Cloud and Pathologies of Big Data, and we had partner-level speakers from Bain, Deloitte, PWC and Opera Solutions in attendance.

Some interesting ideas which emerged but it was the tit-bits that interested me most:

  • That we should see public cloud like Taxi’s – they are very useful and a vital addition to cars, but most people will continue to want to own their own car.
  • That Google is now estimated to have 3.5m servers.
  • That Cloud is really about the dark-datacentre – it is about the automation of data-centre management.
  • That Twitter and Facebook both began on-cloud, but as they grew they moved off-cloud. This was within an argument that as businesses expand so they move away from the cloud.
  • Bain have produced an interesting analysis of the cloud market-space with important implications for those considering moving into the cloud arena.

The 700 people who attended may have taken other ideas away – it was a rich session.

Understanding the Business Impacts of Cloud Computing | The European Business Review








Understanding the Business Impacts of Cloud Computing | The European Business Review.

Read an article I jointly wrote with colleagues at the LSE on the Business Impacts of Cloud Computing within the European Business Review.



Iceland’s future in Cloud Computing.

Once you move to the cloud you can locate your data-center anywhere where network connectivity is available. Given the cost of powering and cooling data-centers is significant it makes sense to find somewhere with green electricity and lots of available cooling – but also with a stable society and reasonable laws. Iceland is a good candidate.

Hence it is unsurprising to see the following from the Register:

Green trans-Atlantic cable set to launch in 2012 • The Register.

This cable will provide “Iceland with the required connectivity to support the anticipated explosive growth of low cost, 100% carbon free, renewable energy powered data centres, in which the Wellcome Trust, has a major investment,” said EA president Greg Varisco.

Third Report – The Impact of Cloud Computing

The third report in our series for Accenture is now available by clicking the image below:

Cloud and the Future of Business: From Costs to Innovation - Part Three: Impact



In this report we consider the potential short and long term impact of Cloud Computing on stakeholders. Using our survey of over 1000 executives, and supported by qualitative interviews with key Cloud stakeholders, we assess this impact on organisational performance, outsourcing and the supply industry both in the short-term and long term.