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Discussion on the impact of the staff model of cloud computing

Author: Reid Engstrom

The prospect of cloud computing to today’s IT staff poses a real concern to them, not only because of the significant element of change and doing something different outside of their existing skill base, but also because so many current IT roles are involved with the installation, configuration and administration of IT infrastructure.  Think of all the job roles today that end with “Administrator”.  Those roles become greatly diminished in a virtualized and cloud based environment.  Staff may be very reticent to embrace this new environment that now is less dependent on the skills and certifications that they have built up over their tenure.  In addition, the justification on reducing cost and complexity is often built on the reduction of those legacy skills that were seen as critical in a physical world.

Technology depth still plays an important role in the cloud world as staff will still need a foundational understanding of cloud enabled technologies such as server, network, storage and end user device virtualization as the IT architecture changes to a flatter model.  This new environment will now reach outside the walls of the organization with public clouds and Software-as-a-Service offerings that may encompass a greater majority of IT services.

There is a new set of critical skills moving forward in the highly productive and automated cloud environments that will be centered around the ability to design and implement systems and processes that automate the cloud based infrastructure of the future.  Some of these proficiencies include technical and business architecture, project management, service delivery, and contracting.  Soft skills of importance include understanding the business, and communications.  These skills are not totally new but their significance has been elevated in a broader based environment that now include service partners and the need for agility to address the dynamics of business opportunity.

Leadership and risk taking abilities will be critical in order to relate the rapidly changing environment to both staff and the business stakeholders.  Those leaders who are confident enough to move forward aggressively will be able to position their IT organizations into a much more proactive state that not only can lead the business but can be a critical contributor to new revenue opportunities.