Lack of Cloud Computing talent?

It’s inevitable! Cloud computing is booming and is going to be the most powerful and transformative technology tool after personal computer and internet. But are the companies prepared with the right skillset to manage the scenario? Or the future will see a dearth of talent in the cloud computing space.

According to Sunil Bhave, vice-president, Fujitsu Consulting India, “There is a clear lack of cloud computing (and especially domain specific cloud computing) talent as the market grows and explodes. The growth is expected around the world and this puts additional pressure on India. The ability of the organization to realize the trend and to train/ re-train talented resource pool will partially help meet some of these challenges”.
“We will witness companies allowing significant budget to embrace cloud to support business innovation, which in turn will create new job opportunities,” he adds.

According to IDC, cloud computing will generate as much as 14 mn new jobs worldwide by 2015 and in India there will be over 2 mn new job opportunities out of that. The new job opportunities would require personnel with special skills and set of knowledge.

“Realizing this, Microsoft is already working with some of the institutes such as NIIT, Indian Institute of Job Training et al, to provide all necessary guidance on special training programs on cloud that were launched by institutes in the recent past,” says Srikanth Karnakota, director, server and cloud business, Microsoft India.

It is expected that there will be a confluence of technological and economic factors that will propel both job as well as cloud growth. Keeping all these considerations in mind, the industry is poised for a strong job growth which will be further driven by attractive business opportunities and growth potential, according to IDC.

Trends in Cloud

The cloud job market is likely to create increasing buzz in 2013. The key trends will include an expanding demand for-

  • Cloud architects using private clouds
  • Niche architects with expertise in niche offerings like, amazon etc, driven by a growth in SaaS

Experts believe that demand will swell especially for those who can cover all the 9 OSI layers, from Infra to SaaS. Besides, companies will also look for specific stack experts like AWS, Azure, Google or OpeStack, OpenShift, Stackato, VmWare, etc.

All the stacks are emerging and are pseudo mature, hence a lot of experimentation based activities are expected. People who are flexible to try out new stacks on clouds will get rewarded.

In cloud, knowledge of one stack will not help, it is the integration and extrapolation with experimentation skills that will help.

Organizations will primarily depend on the cloud SIs to source such skills or projects to start with, otherwise it will be difficult for them to match the JDs and the candidate profiles required for these projects.

At the same time, in order to boost efficiency in an increasingly shared, converged or cloud environment, the roles and responsibilities of server and storage administrators must be clearly understood and coordinated. While both are IT administrators, their roles are different with few opportunities for interaction, and it is often difficult for them to collaborate on a joint task. It is important to pick the right solution that addresses both the roles. The IT departments in future would be more visualized as enablers/game changers and will be renamed as business IT.

Meanwhile, Sid Deshpande, senior analyst, Gartner India, believes: “Cloud computing is not a skillset in itself, it is not creating a new niche area for jobs but expertise in cloud-based architectures is almost a mandate for job descriptions like CIO, datacenter administrators, application developers, data architects, BI/DW analysts”.

The Boom

In one of the recent surveys, Gartner predicts that worldwide cloud services revenue (both public and private) will reach more than $148 bn. According to IDC, spending on IT cloud services would grow fourfold, reaching $4.6 bn by 2014.

An important key trend will be around the verticalization of cloud software and platforms. There will be more SaaS providers offering industry-specific modernized solutions in a SaaS model. Opportunities exist in building and providing these industry-specific software and platforms or being the single provider of value-added services aggregating such industry-specific services from multiple providers.

Karnakota says, “The future in regards with cloud computing is bright in India; the companies are increasingly realizing the expediency of adopting cloud. The advantage of cloud can be defined in 3 words:cost-effectiveness, manageability and flexibility, and agility; which are also the core requirement of any business today.”

One of the trends in the cloud market worth watching will be that of hybrid cloud. “We will have Indian enterprises entering into cloud space by availing hybrid cloud facilities. Some of the large conglomerates like Essar Group and Mahindra Satyam are managing their enterprise applications on Microsoft’s hybrid cloud solutions,” he says.

Explaining further, Kalyan Kumar, AVP and worldwide head-cross functional services, HCL Technologies ISD, says, “SaaS will see satisfying penetration rate irrespective of industry while IaaS and PaaS will see more horizontal play. Cloud consulting will be dominated by vertical play. In 2013, the industries that have typically remained averse to cloud will steadily start opening up-healthcare for instance. Media and retail are expected to fuel growth while the finance sector is keenly monitoring cloud for adoption. Geographically, the United States of America, Europe and APAC in that order, will witness greater adoption. According to the Forrester Report, half of all enterprises in North America and Europe are planning to create budgets for cloud related investments in 2013.”

Avenues of Growth in India

The cloud computing market in India according to market research estimates is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 30-40% in the future. The major opportunities will be in the following areas:

  • SME segment: Both SaaS and IaaS have great potential in SME segment. SaaS applications (for example, ERP-on-demand) help SMEs to improve collaboration and process efficiency, and IaaS services (including hosting and VDI) offer scalable compute on-demand without high capex.
  • Large enterprises: Large enterprises have generally leveraged IaaS for web hosting, DR, vendor collaboration and as staging environment for application development. Today, cloud computing offers new options to CIOs to reduce IT spend, enable mobility, and even deploy mission critical applications like SAP on-demand. Therefore, it is important for organizations to identify new possibilities offered by cloud computing, do a full risk-benefit analysis, and prepare a migration plan that is in line with the organization’s business strategy.
  • E-Government: The cloud represents a huge opportunity for government services to remove inequality and provide better service to citizens. The Ministry of External Affairs has taken the first steps in this direction by cloud enabling Passport Seva organization that allows many Passport Seva Kendras across the country to offer better service to citizens.

Mahesh Venkateswaran, managing director, social, mobile, analytics and cloud, Cognizant, says, “At this time, we see some industries like information, media, and entertainment (IME), consumer goods, manufacturing and retail to be at the forefront of cloud adoption. IME is primarily leveraging cloud to cut costs; consumer goods and retail are leveraging cloud to improve customer experiences and marketing effectiveness; while manufacturing and retail are trying to improve plant and shop-floor productivity through cloud”.

The other highly regulated industries such as financial services, healthcare, and life sciences are beginning to see value in private cloud adoption. Over the next few years, we expect cloud adoption in these industries to be on a par with the others due to some of the drivers and trends discussed earlier, such as enterprise-class clouds, hybrid IT, and industry-specific cloud-based solutions, he adds.

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