How to overcome a lack of cloud skills in your organization

Cloud is a technology that has risen exponentially in recent years – and which has been buoyed by the switch to remote working and increased need for off-site storage and support during the pandemic. However, with increased adoption, executive leaders are wanting cloud computing adoption to proceed at a faster pace than their organizations can staff internally.

To meet this challenge, business leaders must consider the following five steps if they are to successfully manage their cloud projects effectively.

1. Structure for success

To handle the skills gap, first support, monitor and measure the progress of the management team against cloud skills initiatives. To facilitate this progress, ensure roles across the business are divided by expertise, allowing for achievable hiring goals. For example, for such a cloud project, a program or portfolio management approach will be needed.

By dividing responsibilities, the organization will need a program management office (PMO) that works with the cloud center of excellence (CCOE) to drive the approach effectively, rather than demanding that cloud architects also possess project management skills.

2. Train existing staff

Upskill existing staff with cloud skills, using relationship-based and experiential learning from experts. For more technical staff members, their skillset must span different IT domains.

Also, ensure that the technical leaders overseeing your organization’s cloud initiatives are strategic thinkers with business acumen, big-picture perspectives and team-player mindsets who can communicate with diverse audiences and be agile in thought and action.

3. Embed cloud in recruitment

To reinforce the project, consider permanently hiring new employees with the necessary skills for the cloud project. New employees will also have to take time to learn the business and IT environment, but recruitment can be streamlined toward key experienced hires who accelerate such cloud computing initiatives.

4. Unlock the value of contractors

In supplementing internal processes, look to bring on contractors from staffing agencies or hire independent contractors. This can be a useful way to acquire junior and mid-level people to perform cloud-related tasks and staff cloud projects.

Senior-level contractors can also be excellent partners and one of the swiftest and most effective ways to acquire the necessary skills. A key consideration, however, is to avoid allowing such senior-level contractors to make strategy or policy decisions.

5. Outsource expertise

The final step is to procure external service provider (ESP) assistance, usually in the form of a cloud managed service provider (MSP). This can be taken as a project-based approach, or a medium-to-long-term managed services approach. Selection must be careful, with large differences existing in ESP skills and experience and low-quality assistance often seriously reducing satisfactory cloud outcomes.

Lydia Leong is a Gartner distinguished vice president research analyst

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