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.
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.
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Will Venters,
Dr Carsten Sorensen,
and Dr Florian Allwein.
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.
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. “Infleeing 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.
“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.”
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.