It’s a Brave, New Cloud World Out There. Are You Ready?

Cloud adoption across an enterprise is a major undertaking, fundamentally changing how IT works

What organizations used to accomplish in man power and labor is now transformed and automated. Using software, a business can manage their datacenter as code. And it’s not just compute, storage, and fabric; it’s all the ancillary software services that surround it – identity, encryption, logging, monitoring, and continuous governance. What used to take months to plan and develop now takes days and weeks to implement.

But, there’s a downside. Organizations aren’t well-prepared for or knowledgeable about this monumental shift in how the new IT needs to work. It’s a brave new DevOps world out there, and organizations are struggling to be successful within it.

As I travel the world, I see the same problems play out time and again—and many of these challenges involve the changing roles of people within an IT organization. In this article, I describe how to identify and embrace these roles as you migrate to the cloud and transform your business.

It’s a new world, so you need new roles

Current roles are evolving to encompass new tasks brought on by the daily operations in the public cloud. One of the biggest problems for organizations is a lack of skilled people. And when qualified people are found, they are often expensive. To combat this challenge, many organizations choose to develop a training, up-skilling, and enablement process—an expensive investment in people and a process that will take years.

Changing roles requires people to think differently, transitioning old skills to new skills. The first step in finding the right skills is to identify what you need. To help you determine the learning tracks necessary for your people, I’ve structured the new cloud roles into eight fundamental skill zones:

  • People
  • Data
  • Innovation and new apps
  • Existing portfolio and apps
  • Strategy
  • Security
  • DevOps practice
  • Operations and service quality

The chart below lists these eight skill zones; under each, I break down the skills needed per zone.

This chart contains a wealth of information you can use to identify the roles you need to train your people for a successful cloud transformation. For example, let’s review the top left skill zone: people. In this section, you will see how the roles of human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) staff should change.

I list six key skill areas that will need retraining under the people zone. HR and L&D will want to invest in cloud talent enablement programs, along with rethinking what curriculums they offer employees for continuous learning. The people in this group must develop a training initiative targeted at each new role from the other seven areas listed. The goal of HR and L&D staff should be to ensure learning services for this new cloud world are constantly available. They must find and provide educational resources such as virtual instructor-led training, podcasts, webinars, and progressive learning management systems (LMS).

HR and L&D must also understand all of the new cloud roles and weigh different needs in their recruiting and compensation packages. And finally, they will want to look at talent retention differently by determining how to engage current employees better in their new cloud roles.

Break down the silos – the new roles are interconnected

A key thing to keep in mind is that everyone in each skill zone interacts with the others. For example, let’s say you are a developer writing a new application. You’ve been trained in all six areas in your specialty: you understand the new cloud tools and software, automation techniques, platform as a service (PaaS) management, along with the other key areas listed.

But…if you haven’t thought about the economics involving your app, you may not last long. As soon as your CFO (grouped in the top right zone under strategy) sees the latest cloud bill, all of your hard work may very well be scrapped due to runaway deployment costs.

In this new cloud world, no one is an island; everyone is co-dependent on each other. And communication between all eight skill zones is only the beginning. Those in each zone must have a basic knowledge of each roles and responsibilities in each of the other zones.

Successfully navigating the new cloud world

Cloud adoption across an enterprise is a major undertaking. Organizations are finding themselves in this brave, new cloud world without the proper compass to navigate through it. To be successful, you must start at the beginning – by first identifying key roles and the skills you will need.

This article is the fourth in a series on how to train your employees for a successful cloud transformation. You can read the first three articles here: Admitting you have a problem with your cloud transformation, 5 proven tactics to break up the cloud deployment logjam, and IT Operations and Developers: Can’t we all just get along. For more information on a smooth transition to multi-cloud, visit the CTP website. To learn more about how to ease your digital transformation, click here.

About the Author

Robert Christiansen is a cloud technology leader, best-selling author, mentor, and speaker. In his role as VP of Global Cloud Delivery at Cloud Technology Partners (CTP), a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, Christiansen oversees the delivery of professional services and innovation for HPE’s public cloud business. His client base includes Fortune 500 and Global 2000 customers, and his team’s leadership model encompasses the entire IT transformation journey, from inception to execution. To read more articles by Robert, please visit the HPE Shifting to Software-Defined blog.