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Mind the Gap: Skills for Cloud Adoption


17 . Januar  2018

Benjamin McGrath

Posts nach Autoren: Benjamin McGrath, Senior Research Analyst, SaaS and Cloud Software, IDC


The prioritisation of digital transformation, now a boardroom-level initiative, has fuelled increased adoption of new technologies, but also created many "gaps" — gaps between organisations transforming at different paces, gaps between where organisations want to be and where they are, and "skills gaps" between an organisation's level of technology adoption and its ability to manage an increasingly hybrid environment.

An example is the gap between the number of originations running multiple cloud deployments and the number of organisations that have an effective hybrid cloud strategy to manage that multicloud environment. Today, as IT buyers steadily shift towards a "cloud first" strategy, not only are more organisations adopting cloud, they're adopting more types of cloud. According to IDC's CloudView Survey, over 80% of cloud users have adopted more than one type of cloud deployment. Hybrid cloud — in all its forms — is the desired end state for most organisations. But a hybrid cloud strategy involves more than just multicloud adoption. And while the majority of organisations want to have a hybrid cloud strategy, or even think they have a hybrid cloud strategy, there's a significant gap between the number of those organisations and the number of organisations that have all the skills for an effective hybrid cloud strategy. And the adoption of cloud has outpaced the adoption of those skills, which is why the "skills gap" has only widened.

IDC CloudView Survey

The skills that challenge organisations most when it comes to building an effective hybrid cloud strategy are the ability to use cloud development tools and methods, the fact that each public cloud is different today, the ability to support portable workloads, central management under the same service catalogues, and service-level monitoring capabilities. We see from IDC's CloudView Survey that far more organisations have multicloud environments and even claim to have effective hybrid cloud strategies than have any of the necessary accompanying skills. In fact, over 10% of organisations have a multicloud environment, yet have none of the following: common service catalogue, portability between workloads, centralised management and centralised security. Without these skills, the marginal value of increased cloud adoption is severely diminished as it creates more complexity with fewer benefits.

Furthermore, these required skills are changing with the changing landscape in cloud. No longer will infrastructure skills be as necessary, as automation gains traction. However, what organisations do with their resources is critical. Some legacy applications will continue to need to be managed in the traditional way, but in order for a hybrid cloud strategy to be effective, that process cannot be disenfranchised from the rest of IT management, specifically cloud management.

The takeaway: focusing on process and people is just as important as technology when moving to the cloud. Narrowing those skills gaps is a necessary step when building out a cloud strategy because only when organisations combine cloud with effective cloud management — via a combination of attracting talent with the necessary skills, upskilling existing teams or even outsourcing — can they fully capitalise on the value of cloud.

Source: IDC CloudView Survey, April 2017, n = 6,084 worldwide respondents