According to Gartner, in 2022 global cloud revenue is estimated to total $474 billion – up from $408 billion in 2021. More than 85% of organizations will be embracing a cloud first principle by 2025, and over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms.
What is the cloud skills gap?
As adoption of cloud services and cloud infrastructure continue to climb, there is a shortage in the market of the cloud skillsets demanded
. In fact – a Gartner Survey with IT Executives found that a lack of talent was cited most frequently as the biggest barrier to adoption of emerging technologies.
This is known as the cloud skills gap; the gap between the accelerating increase in demand for talent in the cloud technology space, vs the lack of supply of talent to meet this demand.
As long as companies have skills and knowledge gaps within their teams, vast value is being lost from the journey to cloud, and digital transformation objectives remain unfulfilled.
The importance of narrowing the cloud skills gap
Investment in cloud technology needs to be matched by investment in cloud skills if organisations are to realise maximised value from their journey to cloud. Employers can go to the marketplace for certain specialist roles, but where skills are scarce, costs are high and attrition is typically a problem!
More broadly, organisations need to focus on building the skills of their existing teams and aligning them to their future objectives. Journey to cloud is not just a lift and shift from on-premise to cloud, but the opportunity to drive transformation, innovation and efficiency. For an organisation to journey to cloud and realise the full value, the organisation needs to be thoughtfully arranged and the skills within the organisation require as much focus as the tech. Given scarcity in the market it is not enough to expect to ‘buy’ or ‘borrow’ skills as and when you need them. Certainly not if you have margins to worry about….
The reality is then, that many of the skills will need to be ‘built’. And only by building do you ensure a sustainable journey to cloud.
How to close the cloud skills gap– Build, Borrow or Buy?
The most crucial part in closing the cloud skills gap is in managing the balance between building, borrowing and buying skills as the organisation journeys to cloud. Borrowing skills, in the form of contractors and consultants, makes sense in the short term as the cloud organisation establishes itself and some knowledge can be transferred to the incumbent team. Buying skill, in the form of new employees, makes sense for highly specialist or niche roles such as Chief Cloud Security Officer. However, the main focus must be on ‘building’ the skills of the existing team, closing the gap and bringing them along on the journey to cloud.
Closing the skills gap is not a one-off activity. Rather, as new technology gets introduced, employees need to be ready for consistent learning and change agility. Employers need to be supportive of employees in their upskilling, all the while incentivising the building of knowledge and skills. Setting up a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE), a Cloud Lab or a Cloud Learning Hub is a way to galvanize the team around the requirements for the future, plus, it highlights the organisation’s commitment and investment in both the employee, their skillset and the organisation’s wider capabilities.
As always, leadership is the crucial ingredient in successfully managing change. Leaders must “walk the talk”, be visible and undertake relevant learning initiatives together with their employees.
Closing the cloud skills gap is not a one-time activity. As your organisation continues to transform and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of customers, new skills will emerge, and others will disappear. Organisations will have to consistently learn, relearn, and even unlearn skills and mindsets. Setting the organisation up to manage the cloud skills gap is key for a digital first organisation. After all, “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch