A lack of cloud skills could cost companies money

A lack of cloud skills could cost companies money

A poll from Europe finds two in three IT decision makers say their organization is losing out on revenue because their firm lacks specific cloud expertise.

The report, compiled by cloud hosting provider Rackspace and the London School of Economics, polled 950 IT decision makers and 950 IT pros and found nearly three quarters of IT decision makers (71 percent) believed their organizations have lost revenue due to a lack of cloud expertise. On average, this accounts for 5 percent of total global revenue, no small amount of money.

Also, the survey found 65 percent believed they could bring greater innovation to their company with “the right cloud insight.” And 85 percent said greater expertise within their organization would help them recoup the return on their cloud investment.

Almost half (46 percent) of IT decision makers said they find it hard to recruit the best talent to manage their organization’s cloud projects. The survey found migration project management, native cloud app development, and cloud security are among the skills companies are struggling to find qualified people to hire. Other challenges include competition for talent, an inability to offer competitive salaries, and difficulties in providing sufficient career progression and training.

Global shortage of cloud computing expertise

And the problem is a global one, according to John Engates, CTO of Rackspace, who wrote in the report that talent shortages are showing up worldwide, not just in Europe.

“Without access to a solid pool of relevant expertise, organizations’ ability to take full advantage of the benefits offered by the cloud will always be limited,” he wrote.

With businesses now using an average of eight different cloud services, including both public cloud technologies such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, as well as private cloud technologies such as VMware and OpenStack, companies are clearly sold on the cloud and its benefits. But unless they gain the skills to make the most of it, they are adding complexity to their environment and not seeing its benefits.

The result is more time being consumed on the cloud. Almost half (44 percent) of IT pros said they are spending more time than they initially expected managing daily IT cloud operations. The most intense users of cloud technology are also more likely to feel they are spending more time managing their organization’s cloud services. Half (50 percent) of executives in intense cloud usage organizations reported that 15 percent or more time is spent managing cloud among their staff. Less intense-use firms reported spending less time managing the cloud.

And no wonder. Traditional IT skills, like server management, Windows or Linux, DBA or Cisco, don’t automatically translate to the cloud. Just because you are a Microsoft MVP or Cisco CCNA doesn’t mean you are ready to manage AWS. In many ways, you have to start over from scratch.