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Organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to find adequate cloud expertise, resulting in a lack of innovation and lost revenue, and highlighting the urgent requirement for a cloud skills strategy.

These are just some of the main findings to emerge from a new report from Rackspace entitled ‘The Cost of Cloud Expertise’, which explores the importance of appropriate skills to an organisation’s cloud evolution and the impact the current technical skills gap is having on businesses.

The survey addressed 950 IT decision makers and 950 IT professionals from organisations around the globe that used the cloud. All respondent organisations had more than 1,000 employees and came from both the public and private sectors.

The key points to emerge include:

  • A shortage of cloud expertise is holding businesses back – nearly two thirds of IT professionals (65%) believe that they could bring greater innovation to their organisation with the right expertise. Similarly, two in five IT decision makers (42%) believe there is a lag in their organisation’s ability to deploy cloud platforms due to a lack of skills
  • There’s significant competition for the best cloud talent – on average, it takes five weeks to fill an open role on an IT team – over 50% more than the overall average of 23 days
  • Organisations are losing revenue due to cloud expertise deficiency – nearly three quarters of IT decision makers (71%) believe their organisations have lost revenue due to a lack of cloud expertise (with this figure potentially being as high as 5% of total global revenue!)

Let’s have a look at some of the factors behind these findings.

The report states that one of the biggest challenges facing enterprises in terms of managing cloud platforms is a deficiency of internal cloud expertise. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, both IT decision makers and IT professionals believe their organisations would significantly improve if they could acquire the right balance of cloud skills. For instance, when asked if access to deeper expertise in cloud technology would help their organisation increase the ROI on cloud services, the vast majority (84%) of the IT workforce said it would.

The report also identifies those cloud skills that are currently the most difficult to find, with the top three being:

  • Migration project management
  • Cloud security
  • Native cloud app development

Other problematic skills mentioned include DevOps and service management.

In addition, the survey also asked both IT decision makers and IT professionals where they believed their organisations would be facing skills gaps when it comes to emerging technologies. There was a general consensus that the major challenges would be in:

  • Automation technology
  • Database administration
  • Artificial intelligence

So, what should be done to address these concerns? The report’s major recommendation is that “every enterprise IT executive should develop a cloud skills strategy.”

Such a strategy should identify the current cloud skills in the organisation along with future innovation trajectories and changes (within both the organisation and the cloud in general), and match these requirements with a realistic market analysis of the available talent pool.

This strategy can then guide the training of an internal department in various clouds skills and help foster the flexibility the organisation needs from the cloud. Importantly, it allows the organisation to draw on a pool of expertise in order to quickly meet the challenges of scale, scope and speed.

Matt Barclay 
Business Development Director

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