The cloud – in all of its various forms – has completely infiltrated enterprise IT, impacting everything from mobility to data center construction to the way tech professionals work. Forbes recently complied some cloud adoption statistics from around the IT community of researchers, and it found that software-as-service and infrastructure-as-a-service solutions are slowly but surely taking over traditional technologies in corporate environments.
For one, the SaaS market is growing at a rate of around 8 percent annually, and it’s expected to be worth $67 billion by 2018 – right now, it’s worth almost $50 billion. Then there’s the IaaS sector, which has exploded this year compared to 2014, increasing its market value by just under 33 percent in the past 12 months.
“Modern businesses love the cloud.”
While the growth of the cloud market is impressive, it is expected: Cloud services have so much to offer businesses. According to a report from IBM and The Economist Intelligence Unit, the reasons for adopting the cloud include supporting customer demands, easier access to data, better utilization and analysis of information, expansion of sales channels, cost reduction, the need to improve efficiency in business processes and much more. Whether using a single service or hosting entire environments in Amazon Web Services, businesses love the cloud.
Such a rapid – it’s only been about a decade since AWS launched – shift away from on-premise physical assets and toward cloud services in enterprise IT environments has caused companies to reinvent their strategies, processes and cultures. Due to its ubiquity, the cloud has inspired these changes across all sectors of business. There is no longer an option to avoid the cloud, and in stride, tech pros must identify how these services and technologies have impacted their roles, day-to-day lives and their employers’ outlook on tech onboarding if they hope to survive in this new consumerized world of corporate technology.
Just another part of business
First of all, because every department in any company now relies on cloud services and other hosted solutions, many organizations just consider corporate IT another aspect of doing business in 2015. In fact, Computerworld reported that The Weather Company – owners of The Weather Channel – doesn’t even have an IT department anymore. With technology being a fundamental component of everyday workflows, each section of business – i.e. finance, human resources and so on – demands its own dedicated IT professionals.
This means that tech teams are working alongside other professionals, and a result, they must understand how technology and the cloud actually improve business. In other words, IT departments aren’t just approving requests or provisioning computers or setting up SIP trunks – they are contributing to a certain component of work. They are closer to the line of business, and hiring managers might start asking questions and probing tech pros on how they improve workflows on a more exact level.
A new type of IT employee
Following that line of thinking, today’s tech professionals are expected to be jacks of all trades. They might be setting up cloud instances, moving applications to those instances and then configuring security controls to manage access to those resources. As Mike Chapple, senior director of IT service delivery at the University of Notre Dame, put it in a conversation with Computerworld, “People can’t be living in one particular silo anymore.”
“The cross pollination of IT duties might be hard to handle for some tech pros.”
This cross pollination of IT duties might be hard to handle for some tech pros. Bob Micielli, director of enterprise technology services for King County, Washington, told the source that many experienced tech experts are struggling to adapt to these new roles. They need to start developing associated skills or they could be replaced. For example, businesses don’t want to support legacy infrastructure anymore, and IT pros need to learn the cloud services that replace those old systems or they’ll be out of a job. Brett Gillett, cloud practice lead at Softchoice, explained to CIO that a handful of database administrators aren’t required when using cloud storage services, as businesses just opt for one DBA with cloud storage experience instead.
New tasks demand different skill sets
IDC Analyst Robert Mahowald told Computerworld that there is a 50 percent skills gap between what’s required in a cloud-enabled corporate world and what today’s tech pros are competent in. Storage architecture in the cloud might be similar to systems on-premise, but without relevant proficiencies, hiring managers aren’t willing to take the gamble.
Professional development with a focus on the cloud is going to be critical for anyone who wants a tech job in the next decade. After all, things have changed drastically, and those who keep up with alterations in workloads and skill sets will be highly valuable compared to stubborn admins who don’t believe the changes are meaningful.
The cloud is here to stay, and IT employees should recognize the importance of adapting their skills and knowledge to match new expectations. Cloud maturity will soon hit a tipping point, and tech pros on the wrong side of that curve won’t be required for long.