For Many, Cloud Plans Still in Ramp-up Phase

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Like a lot of folks, I've been trying to understand what cloud skills really are. As Laurent Lachal, senior analyst at Ovum, told silicon.com:

The market as a whole has moved, in the past 18 months, from 'what the hell is cloud computing?' to 'what do I do with it, how do I take advantage of it?' 2011 will be much more a 'let's do it' year, while 2010 was still a 'let's get to know about it' year.

When I interviewed Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing firm Modis, recently, he told me that the anticipated demand for cloud skills has not yet materialized. Yet when I go on job sites such as Dice.com and Indeed.com, I find thousands of job listings that mention the word "cloud." Are companies just thinking about it or still ramping up for it?


A couple of recent surveys shed some light on that. In a survey by Redshift Research on behalf of chip maker AMD, 1,513 IT decision-makers were polled in Asia, Europe and the United States. About 20 percent of the respondents were from the public sector. About 25 percent of respondents overall reported they had moved some aspects of their operation to the cloud and the majority planned to do so over time. Among public-sector respondents, 68 percent consider cloud solutions as a tactical move or necessity for their operations, compared with 52 percent in the private sector. Of course, U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra has made cloud computing a priority at federal agencies. Yet of those evaluating cloud solutions, 75 percent of respondents overall said they do not have the necessary IT skills in place to do so.


According to an AMD blog:

To be fair, different cloud models require different skills for "in-house" staff. Managing private or hybrid cloud services is much more complex and labor intensive than managing outsourced public cloud services, although that too requires specific in-house expertise to manage it effectively. The fact that public-sector IT managers think that they have a knowledge gap within their own operations is important because it demonstrates they are thinking about what they need to put in place so they can evolve their operations. ...
What IT managers and their staff need is help navigating so that they get the specific information, training, and tools they need to evaluate, select, and implement the right cloud solutions to meet their needs.

I've written that most of the jobs so far are with managed service providers and in infrastructure. And in the survey, as AMD put it, 86 percent of public-sector respondents "get it" that "architecture matters."


Meanwhile, CDW Government's Cloud Computing Tracking Poll surveyed 1,200 IT professionals in the United States. While 84 percent said their organization uses at least one cloud application, such as Gmail, Google Docs or Salesforce.com, just over 25 percent said they were implementing or maintaining the technology. And only 38 percent said their organization had a written strategic plan for cloud adoption, reports Government Computer News.


Large companies (37 percent) and higher education (34 percent) were most likely to adopt cloud strategies, ahead of federal agencies (29 percent) and state and local respondents (23 percent).


Our IT Downloads center contains a wealth of information on cloud computing, so that's a good resource while you're putting your cloud team together.