Staffing Up for the Next Wave of Cloud Transformation

Matthew Ripaldi, Regional SVP, Modis, The Adecco Group [VTX:ADEN]
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Matthew Ripaldi, Regional SVP, Modis, The Adecco Group [VTX:ADEN]

The next wave of cloud services is already transforming business. Companies with cloud initiatives have seen a more than 20 percent increase in time to market, an 18.8 percent increase in process efficiency, and an average 18.4 percent increase in employee productivity.

To fully realize the value of the cloud, you’ll need to transform your IT department, too.

New tech jobs are coming to the forefront as companies evolve their IT infrastructures to software-centric, automated services that enable predictive analytics. Is your current IT staff up to the challenge of a cloud-based world?

Cloud computing is at the forefront of the major technology trends of the decade, which are already impacting IT departments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects infotech occupations to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, adding some 488,500 new jobs, an increase from 3.9 million jobs to about 4.4 million jobs. The drivers are cloud computing, the collecting and storage of big data, growth in the Internet of Things, and mobile computing.

The Next Move

Your challenge is to continue to leverage your existing in-house infrastructure while augmenting it with a new, cloud-based infrastructure that positions your business for the future.

  ​The drivers are cloud computing, the collecting and storage of big data, growth in the Internet of Things, and mobile computing   

There are two types of initiatives that you may need to undertake, and these are often handled in parallel:

• Cloud-specific initiatives involve identifying the most relevant cloud services, documenting technical and functional requirements, evaluating vendors and shepherding projects through to deployment.

• Migrating legacy systems, including ERP and human resources management, begins with formulating a strategy for the migration. Data may have to be virtualized for the migration, and on-premise software must be kept in sync with cloud-based applications. Security is an important consideration; your staff will need to ensure that access between cloud and local applications is secure.

Both the launch of cloud-specific initiatives and migration to the cloud require expertise that may be beyond that of your IT staff. In addition, moving to the cloud may require changes to your organization and its business processes. To help you make these changes, you may need to create new roles and hire specific expertise.

New Technical Leadership for the Cloud

Tech jobs account for 20 percent of the total jobs in the United States, and these jobs are being created at a swift rate. In March alone, there were 4,500 new jobs in computer systems design and related services. Wages are rising in line with demand for staff who can design and implement cloud initiatives.

Competition will be fierce for talent who can fill these roles:

Cloud Architect: The cloud architect must provide leadership with signature-ready recommendations for achieving business objectives while minimizing disruptions. He or she begins with setting out requirements and defining standards, while taking the lead on selection of vendors and products. The job continues through to system maintenance.

Cloud Developer: In the cloud environment, the developer’s job is increasingly complex, rebuilding, migrating and managing in-house, hybrid and cloud systems. The cloud developer may need to create custom applications or interfaces to access cloud services or bridge local systems to the cloud, requiring the ability to code in Java, Hadoop, SQL and a variety of data-storage methodologies.

Information Security Analyst: These analysts do much more than establish, instruct about and monitor security procedures; they must monitor cloud activity and the interfaces between cloud and in-house systems to make sure that data is protected no matter where it’s stored.

Hybrid Cloud Virtualization Engineer: In cases where on-premise applications or data storage must be integrated with cloud resources, this engineer will design and implement solutions aligned with business needs while providing technical support to users.

Predictive Modeling Analyst: This role ensures that the business obtains the full benefit of the cloud by using data analysis, modeling and mining tools to provide actionable information that can be used to uncover new opportunities, reduce risk and improve efficiency.

Data Analytics Engineer: This role is responsible for researching, writing and testing cloud analytics systems to identify patterns or anomalies. Typically, this engineer works with extremely large data sets, sometimes within real-time systems. He or she must be able to work well with business executives to define goals and understand deliverables, help optimize business decisions and improve capabilities in descriptive and predictive analytics.

Cloud Project Manager: Keeping cloud initiatives on track is critical, and project managers must create, manage and execute plans to support cloud initiatives, while tracking the progress of projects and providing status reports to senior management.

The Integrated Approach

In many organizations, IT and lines of business are not well-aligned or integrated. While a siloed IT department can be effective when its role is limited to installed hardware and software, the move to the cloud requires greater collaboration throughout the enterprise.

For example, many of the traditional tasks of the IT department, such as installing and operating hardware and software, are outsourced to cloud service providers. Because of this, IT staff and budgets can be shifted to working more directly with business operating units, helping them to identify competitive advantages and operational efficiencies while exploiting insights from data analytics, including predictive analytics.

This integration process should begin when cloud initiatives are in the early planning stages—and it should be led by business decision-makers in partnership with IT leaders. Together, you can identify the roles you’ll need to hire for and be able to evaluate candidates not only on technical expertise but also on their ability to understand and deliver your key business goals.