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article imageCloud skills shortage threatens digital transformation

By James Walker     Sep 22, 2017 in Technology
An acute skills shortage is impeding digital transformation at large enterprises across the world. According to a new report, $258m a year is being lost owing to a lack of cloud expertise. IT leaders are finding themselves ill-placed to manage new tech.
The "cloud skills gap" could see many digital transformation plans go unrealised or held back, according to a study from cloud provider Rackspace. 71 percent of IT leaders surveyed, almost three quarters of the total, said their company has missed revenue opportunities due to a lack of cloud expertise.
84 percent of respondents expressed a view that more knowledge of the cloud would help their organisation increase its ROI. Almost half (49 percent) of decision makers acknowledged their organisation has limited expertise and their business is being held back.
The root cause of these struggles is a lack of IT experts who are specialised in next-gen cloud platforms. The demands of overseeing hyper-scale networks, connected Internet of Things devices and open-ended data services require a different set of skills to previous digital revolutions. Recruiting people who have knowledge of the areas critical to digital transformation is a challenge.
The problems are amplified at smaller firms. Businesses already struggling to keep up in the digital era are finding they're unable to attract the talent they desperately need. 33 percent of respondents said their business struggles to recruit because of the industry competition. 30 percent admitted they’re unable to offer a competitive salary that's appealing to experts in the field.
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The cloud skills shortage could leave businesses unable to fully implement their digital strategies. The admission by IT leaders that they're unable to unlock the cloud's potential is creating frustration and friction within the enterprise. Combined with the problems caused by aging legacy tech, migrations to the cloud are being held back by traditional business issues, not a lack of desire or planning.
Rackspace's study also demonstrates the continued importance of human staff to businesses. As automated tech becomes more prevalent, particularly in cloud deployments, it turns out that humans are still a firm's most important asset. A timely hire might make or break a company's digital transformation strategy, defining the future of their industry presence for years to come.
"While the rise of Artificial Intelligence and automation may cause some to think that human insight is less important, our report shows that this is not the case," said John Engates, Rackspace CTO. "With technology and the cloud now underpinning business transformation, the growing technology skills gap means organizations must have a strategy to access the expertise needed. Those that don't will struggle to be competitive and innovative."
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