Sheila Harvey, Vice President, IT industry, Global Client Solutions, RandstadOver the years, “cloud computing”, “the Internet of Things” and “big data” have proven to be more than just passing technology fads. These three emerging technologies are transforming businesses and industries, taking innovation to new heights. But to fully capitalize on the huge potential these technologies present, companies still have a long way to go. So what challenges do businesses face when it comes to widely deploying these three technologies?
“One potential roadblock for every employer is the shortage of relevant skills”, says Jochen Schoenmaeckers, Global Director of the IT industry at Randstad’s Global Client Solutions.
To have a good understanding of the impact these emerging technologies could potentially have on the labor market, we reached out to three industry experts for their perspective on how these technologies are redefining the skills required for the current and future IT workforce, and if the skills gap exists, what organizations can do to bridge the gap and stay ahead of the competition.
What disruptive technology will impact the IT industry most in the coming years?
I believe cloud computing is set to be the #1 game changer. Enabling enterprises to focus more on their business and less on the physical aspect of IT systems, cloud technology offers companies real competitive advantage. It’s no surprise that forward-thinking companies around the globe are accelerating their investment in cloud infrastructure. Research firm IDC reports that the cloud IT infrastructure market worldwide grew by 25.1% during the first quarter of 2015, to nearly $6.3 billion. The cloud is slowly but surely making deep inroads into all large, medium and small enterprises, with its real economic potential yet to be discovered.
How does cloud computing redefine the skills required for the future IT workforce?
As the cloud technology enables businesses to outsource their basic infrastructure to cloud providers, the conventional IT role of upgrading and maintaining data centers and servers is fast dying out. To keep up with what’s happening in a cloud-centric world and stay relevant, IT professionals must branch out to develop a new set of knowledge and skills around virtualization and open source. The industry will see a growing demand for certifications of virtualization softwares like VMware or open source tools like OpenStack and Red Hat. Next to that, being able to think on a strategic level and help organizations understand what solutions can add value and a real dollar impact to the business is crucial.
Here’s just one example, the role of the system administrator will no longer make sense in a highly-automated cloud environment. Instead of spending large amounts of time on hands-on operation, future system administrators need to be more strategic, focusing on leveraging and optimizing automation solutions to achieve significant efficiency gains for businesses.
What is the outlook for talent supply-demand?
Ensuring a cloud-savvy IT workforce is a fundamental requirement for companies to adopt the cloud technology and we’re seeing a growing and significant demand for cloud-savvy IT professionals. IDC forecasts that by the end of 2015 there will be more than 1.4 million cloud-related vacancies in EMEA and 2.3 million in APAC. These numbers are staggering and ensuring cloud-ready IT professionals will be the number one challenge for companies looking to capture the full potential of the cloud business.
What approach should organizations take to close the skills gap?
Unlike most other skills shortages, closing the cloud skills gap is extremely challenging: cloud technology requires a new set of skills and expertise which aren’t necessarily available in the talent marketplace. Therefore, retraining and upskilling your existing IT employees to fill your cloud bench is essential. Across the globe, forward-thinking companies are actively undertaking initiatives to help employees transition to cloud-friendly skills.