As a trusted advisor, facilitator and broker of cloud solutions and services, it’s imperative the channel community help their clients understand that cloud is not just a technology change, but it also changes business processes, the skills of their people and every interaction between all three.
Many will remember the transition from physical to virtual compute; clients would often ask partners to implement new technology in a way that exactly replicated what the old systems used to do. They didn’t want to change anything but the technology. We know how that approach worked out.
Virtualization wasn’t just a technology change; it triggered a sea of change in business processes and skills requirements that cascaded onward to the present day, and there’s no reason to assume that cloud will have any less impact.
Failure to work with your clients at the front end of the sales process to identify and plan for all three areas of change will cause cloud projects to falter while return on investment, solution adoption and consumption will erode.
The State of the Cloud
So, how do you get started? First, you must understand today’s cloud challenges.
As technologies mature and the adoption curve begins its transition from early to late majority, I’ve observed there is often a corresponding stabilization of approaches and practices to consuming that technology along with suitably large numbers of people with the right skills to guide and manage that technology.
In looking at the research around cloud adoption, I’m not seeing the same pattern, and this should be of concern to corporate leaders and those who advise them. It implies we are either consuming the technology without a good handle on how to do it, or we are delaying some consumption of the technology until we can fix the skill gaps associated with cloud challenges as seen in a recent report by RightScale.
Evidence of the former is the surprise many companies have when their cloud services bill arrives and no one has a good answer as to why it’s so high-let alone have the ability to predict what the number was going to be in the first place. It’s difficult to claim that we have a handle on technology if we can’t understand what it will cost and struggle to explain the billing.
Evidence of the latter is seen is reports such as the Intel Security survey, Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky, which shows a significant number of companies of all sizes reporting that that they have slowed cloud adoption due to a lack of cybersecurity skills. Perhaps even more disconcerting is the number of companies proceeding with cloud implementations despite not having sufficient cybersecurity skills.
The lack of skilled professionals is not just an interesting statistical blip. It’s impacting business outcomes as most companies are deploying cloud as a way to increase revenue, reduce costs or pursue new business models and opportunities. Companies need to plan for how cloud adoption will achieve business outcomes and to do so they need the right skills and the proper guidance from their partners and vendors.
The plan for adoption is critical. For example, in 2016, the Cloud Going Mainstream report from Cisco/IDC found that while 68 percent of companies had adopted cloud in some fashion, 22 percent have no strategy and 47 percent have a limited ad-hoc or opportunistic strategy. This implies a lot of work remains to be done in stabilizing our approach and practices for cloud technologies. All of which could be addressed with the proper skill set.
Even companies that feel they have a good handle on cloud technology are experiencing challenges in finding skilled personnel. For example, a recent Microsoft report shows that over the past five years in the UK, it’s actually become harder to find cloud-skilled individuals as demand has exceeded the supply.
Faced with this skills gap, companies have three ways to solve the problem:
- Find and hire trained cloud professionals which will be difficult with the shortage of skilled cloud experts.
- Train existing staff
- Partner with channel companies (vendors, resellers, consultants, etc-) to access their trained professionals
Some mixture of all three approaches are likely and will depend on local market conditions, the immediacy of need, and the interest internal candidates have in retraining.
This is borne out by the 2017 Microsoft Cloud Skills Report that shows most companies pursuing all three options, with training existing staff as the leading approach across all company sizes:
Setting the Stage for Cloud Success
The skills of your people and your clients are the foundation of your success. Improve your teams and their skill sets by partnering with Global Knowledge. When you provide training to your own team or add training to your solutions, you offer your clients more value by ensuring you are both prepared to realize the full potential of their cloud solutions and achieve their desired business outcomes. This will result in greater return on investment and customer satisfaction, for everyone.
Here are a few ways a partnership with us will ensure a successful cloud journey:
- Leverage our multi-vendor cloud computing portfolio and learning paths (that considers all technology phases from foundations to optimize) to enable your team and clients to acquire business knowledge and deep technical skills.
- Leverage our partner enablement programs to empower your sales and technical teams to sell and design more effective products and solutions that help your clients achieve their desired business outcomes.