Cloud computing is no longer just an industry fad. It’s here to stay, and it’s not going anywhere for a long time.
But if you work in IT, what will this mean for your career? How will your job change? How should you prepare?
That’s a question that I’d recently asked to some of the leading minds in both the HR and the technology fields. And what they had to say might make you reevaluate your career strategy going forward.
The cloud is a step towards efficiency and overhead reduction. IT jobs will be migrated more than eliminated. Instead of maintenance teams at individual organizations, there will be individuals at individual organizations interfacing with maintenance teams on the other end, as necessary. The cloud providers will still require an IT staff.
Additionally, with the cloud still emerging, IT workers have a relatively unsaturated market for entrepreneurial ventures in cloud-interfacing software and IT efficiency applications.
Tilak Joshi from Columbus Technologies and Services
How should IT workers prepare?
Ironically, I think IT workers should begin to look to work for themselves as consultants and contractors. With the coming wave of cloud computing, there will be less of a need to have in-house IT departments and that could result in leaner IT budgets. Start preparing now to go into business for yourself so that you can supply expertise to more than just one company at a time.
How will the role of IT be different?
Less face to face interaction. With things being remote, there is a strong chance that higher level issues can be outsourced to contractors with cloud/VPN access and lower lever (T1, T2) support functions can be handled by in-house or third party desk side support techs. Either way, I don’t think there will be room for too many IT professionals in one spot. They will begin to look like the old Maytag Man, bored with nothing to do.
Joey V. Price from Jumpstart:HR
When utilizing the cloud, you eliminate that demarcation point, and still manage everything from the premise, even though it resides in the cloud, all with a user login and password. This eliminates the finger pointing and allows the IT staff to have more control of the company’s resources. Instead of working late during the week or on weekends when everyone else is already at home or enjoying their weekend, you won’t have to sit on the phone with different vendors, trying to work out issues. With the cloud, you work with one service provider who can give you the flexibility that you should already have.
IT professionals should start preparing themselves to convert their enterprise IT infrastructures into private and/or hybrid clouds, to take on the role of provisioning cloud services for end users and business partners.
A public cloud serves multiple companies while a private cloud serves a single company. However, generally they are never one or the other. Usually, it’s a hybrid cloud, a mix of private and public clouds talking to one another. Hybrid clouds allow IT professionals to be more effective in their roles and better manage vendors as opposed to fire fighting, but no matter which model comes into play, cloud computing and its impact will vary depending on your job role and your company’s business.
Louis Hayner from WVT Communications Group
As businesses move their supporting infrastructure to the cloud, there may be little or no need for onsite support of physical systems, however, the need to manage the applications will still be necessary depending on what type and quantity of cloud services an organization buys. Temporarily, while some businesses are still shifting to the cloud, IT personnel will be required to develop migration strategies and to ensure that applications are compatible and properly ported to cloud resources.
Higher adoption of cloud for Platforms, Software, and Infrastructure is going to introduce new IT governance paradigms. These paradigms may exist in a non-cloud environment at subtle levels but will assuredly become more apparent the more an organization adopts the cloud. The reasons for this are actually simple and they center on having the ability to identify cloud services that meet business requirements in a manner that is flexible, efficient, and secure. Equally if not more importantly, the ability to evaluate a cloud offering against a set of business and technical objectives and be qualified enough to determine if the offering will preserve the efficiencies gained by investment in the cloud (i.e. will not introduce additional management or operational burdens, degrade the user experience, or pin the business into a corner or other sense of dependence).
The evaluation and selection of cloud providers and services should not be a function of the Finance or Procurement departments, but rather a collaboration between those parties and Architect-level technologists who possess the ability to visualize what the business needs in a cloud provider and the levels of service and performance required by the user population.
The best people for these roles are the top internal IT people; those who have spent considerable time serving the user community and are in touch with what the business needs and expects out of IT. These people are going to come from nearly all levels of IT and organizations that are looking to make significant investments in the cloud should begin identifying and grooming those within the IT department that can see the long term vision and where they fit in beyond the internal corporate data center.
Kris Domich from Dimension Data
The cloud has arrived and businesses must begin strategizing on how they will train IT professionals to manage and maintain such a diverse virtual and cloud-based environment. In order to leverage today’s technologies, businesses will have to begin by hiring or re-training the right kind of people who are open to connecting external and internal services to drive business solutions with sensible governance. Yesterday’s need for system administrators whose only role is lower-level functions is gone and we now need IT staff who better understand how IT aligns with business goals. What we now need are IT teams who are able to find out the best available solutions for each individual company. IT is currently being challenged to prove its worth. Job descriptions will change and we simply must think about tomorrow, today.
Harry Labana from AppSense
Cloud computing is changing the expectations on IT, but IT is struggling to change itself to meet those expectations. Tomorrow’s enterprise needs to be responsive and transparent with the services IT can deliver. Give the internal teams the same experience they can find externally, show the cost of a resource or service, allow it to be delivered on-demand, and make it simple to access and consume. This, of course, is easier said than done. But in the absence of this IT model, more applications will continue to be built and consumed via off premise clouds. I’ve heard that adding automation and centralizing functions is concerning to many IT professionals, as it may impact their job. Of course in these times, that’s a concern. But if there is less to manage because more is outsourced, the end result of fewer IT people on the inside might still hold true.
To move IT forward, show your personal value and drive efficiency, consider how to automate or centralize your function, get out of the low-value, tedious admin role and start to align as a strategic advisor to the businesses that consume application resources. Help them get the experience they want, with the security and pricing the business needs, on or off premise. That makes you more valuable, helps the business unit be successful, and drives a better bottom-line, everyone wins.
Wendy Perilli from Abiquo