Financial Management Optimization Tips

Preventing the Skills Gap from Derailing your Cloud Strategy

In a past life, I worked as a technical recruiter and quickly learned that candidates with technical skillsets, especially those focused on and in-demand and emerging technologies, are difficult to find and highly sought after. Today, all the former colleagues I speak with have expressed their frustration about the high demand for technical talent and the unprecedented difficulty they have in finding the right candidates. With the world of cloud operations in mind, their frustration with talent shortages as a barrier to adopting emerging technologies is evidence of a larger trend that Gartner® has identified in its survey data

  • “IT executives see the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies, compared with just 4% in 2020, according to a new survey from Gartner, Inc.  A lack of talent availability was cited far more often than other barriers this year, such as implementation cost (29%) or security risk (7%).”
  • “Talent availability is cited as a leading factor inhibiting adoption among all six technology domains included in the survey – compute infrastructure and platform services, network, security, digital workplace, IT automation and storage and database. IT executives cited talent availability as the main adoption risk factor for the majority of IT automation technologies (75%) and nearly half of digital workplace technologies (41%).” 
  • “The ongoing push toward remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has exacerbated IT talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills that enable cloud and edge, automation and continuous delivery.”

Every Company is a Technology Company

Today, every firm needs a minimum level of digital proficiency to compete, and firms outside of the tech industry are frequently seeking to bring cloud infrastructure and operations in house or build their own Cloud Center of Excellence from the ground up. To achieve these goals, they are offering more compensation and enticing benefits to lure talented employees away from the tech industry. Hiring challenges have been further exacerbated and magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic as many workforces become more distributed.  

The question remains – how can firms continue to find and hire employees with necessary skillsets and overcome the current cloud skills gap? 

Rethinking Your Recruiting Constraints

Many hiring managers have evaluated talent based on soft skills and work experience rather than specific technical knowledge. This is by no means a new strategy – the practice of hiring soft skills and training employees to build new subject matter expertise has long been a successful way for firms to source candidates from unique places and train them in a way that best fits the firm’s needs. As cloud strategy increasingly requires better collaboration with teams and departments beyond IT – finance, line of business leaders, procurement, and even executives – firms should add talent that will bring new skills into the fold to expedite establishing a successful Cloud Center of Excellence.  

Removing constraints within which recruiting teams must work can help shine light on new candidates, but can also leave hiring managers lacking direction and with too many options in front of them. To narrow the search in a way that can help a firm retain a strong candidate pool while also bringing aboard the right people, consider how your company culture is incorporated into your recruiting strategy. Seeking candidates who fit your firm’s culture will not only help them acclimate more quickly, but will lead to positive business outcomes aligned to a firm’s overall strategy.   

Hiring for a FinOps-Centric Culture 

This is especially true today with the way your cloud strategy incorporates the concept of FinOps, defined by the FinOps Foundation as 

“An evolving cloud financial discipline and cultural practice that enables organizations to get maximum business value by helping engineering, finance, technology and business teams to collaborate on data-driven spending decisions.”  

The driving force behind FinOps is the creation of a culture that ensures accountability, collaboration, and implementation of best practices, resulting in a cloud strategy that stresses continuous optimization. And while cloud strategy and operations are not areas that can be staffed entirely by employees without any technical background, they are certainly areas where firms can invest in and build talent with the right training and development. On the other hand, the mentality an employee brings to work and the way they fit into a firm’s culture are much more difficult to change. 

Simply put, the success of your cloud strategy hinges on the culture that supports it, so why not hire for culture in the same way you would for technical skills and work experience?

Using different (yet highly relevant) criteria to evaluate candidates allows you to fill open positions efficiently with the right people to support a modern Cloud Center of Excellence, a cloud strategy driven by FinOps principles, and your business goals.