As companies struggle to deploy and manage workloads across their hybrid cloud environments, employees need better training
It’s the start of 2019, and business leaders are contemplating what new technologies will give them a brighter, more successful New Year. Of course, the typical hot topics come to mind: compliance, security, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and edge computing. Yet one important item should also be on your list of IT goals for the New Year: better training to address today’s widening digital skills gap in enterprise cloud deployment.
As I listened to a recent BriefingsDirect podcast, the idea of cloud training dominated the interview. According to Robert Christiansen, vice president at Cloud Technology Partners (CTP), a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) company, businesses need to concentrate more on their people — instead of their technology — to speed cloud deployment.
Problem: lack of speedy progress on the cloud journey
“Enterprises are on a cloud journey,” explains Christiansen. “They have begun their investment, they recognize agility is a mandate for them, and they want to get those teams rolling. What we are seeing is a lack of progress with regard to the speed and momentum of the adoption of applications running in the public clouds. It’s going a little slower than they’d like.”
For example, many businesses are seeing their public cloud bills increase, yet operating expenses are not falling. IT teams are struggling to move applications from their traditional IT systems to public clouds, which means they are not meeting key performance indicators. These challenges result in lackluster business outcomes, causing many executives to investigate where they can make further refinements.
It’s a people problem
A large part of the problem has to do with outdated behaviors, says Christiansen. “The technology is ubiquitous, meaning everybody in the marketplace now can own pretty much the same technology. So what’s your competitive advantage? The true competitive advantage now for any company is the people and how they consume and use the technology to solve a problem.”
Christiansen believes the central IT team needs more skills. In the past, central IT’s job included providing and monitoring on-site infrastructure, which included implementing certain safeguards. Now, public cloud puts these types of automation controls in the software – and IT doesn’t necessarily have the skill sets needed to manage clouds in the same way they manage physical infrastructure.
Compounding the problem is the concern that if they move to the public cloud, IT will automate themselves out of a job. “That’s the big, 800-pound gorilla sitting in the corner no one wants to talk about,” remarks Christiansen. “How do you deal with that?”
The reality is many classic IT roles will go away with a public cloud implementation, which means the traditional IT folks need to reinvent themselves and transition into new roles. Of course, this type of job transition takes training.
Working in a complex hybrid cloud world
Another challenge is certain legacy applications won’t be moving to the public cloud at all, which creates more training challenges for IT. These database-centric applications are centers of gravity that the business runs on. “Moving them and doing a big lift over to a public cloud platform may not make financial sense. There is no real benefit to make that happen. We are going to be living between an on-premises and a public cloud environment for quite some time,” Christiansen continues.
To navigate this hybrid cloud world, businesses need to create a holistic view and determine how to govern everything under one strategy. IT must establish a governance framework and put automation in place to pull these two worlds together seamlessly. To network between the two environments, IT needs public cloud training and hybrid cloud management tools.
Don’t forget to train business units
Once a business solves the central IT training issues, the next step is proper training for the organization’s business units. “We have found much of an organization’s delay in rolling out public cloud is because the people who are consuming it [the business units] are not ready or knowledgeable enough to maximize this investment.”
Christiansen relayed the story of how CTP recently helped a telecommunications company roll out their common core services. “The central IT team built out about 12 common core services, and they knew almost immediately the rest of the organization was not ready to consume them.”
This meant more than 5,000 people had to be upskilled on how to consume the new cloud services. Without training, this company could easily get a cloud bill that’s out of whack or developers writing code without using the guardrails needed to keep their data secure. To solve this problem, CTP helped this organization build a training program to bring up the skills of almost 5,000 people.
Put this on your wish list: better training for cloud deployment
Christiansen believes every global Fortune 2,000 company should implement some sort of cloud deployment training. “We have a massive training, upskilling, and enablement process that has to happen over the next several years,” he concludes.
What does this mean for the typical business? If better cloud deployment training is not on your list for 2019, maybe you should think about adding it.
To listen to Christiansen’s complete BriefingsDirect podcast, click here. To learn more about managing your multi-cloud environment, check out this link. For more information on a smooth transition to multi-cloud, visit the CTP website.
About Chris Purcell
Chris Purcell drives analyst relations for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The Software-Defined and Cloud Group organization is responsible for marketing for composable infrastructure, HPE OneView, HPE SimpliVity hyperconverged solutions and Project New Hybrid IT Stack. To read more from Chris Purcell, please visit the HPE Shifting to Software-Defined blog