Businesses turning to cloud to supplement in-house skills, research finds

Half of cloud users cite lack of in-house skills as a reason for adoption

A lack of in-house skills and experience in managing legacy systems and hardware is increasing reliance on outsourced IT. As businesses turn to cloud to supplement their workforces, providers must increasingly act as an extension of the IT department, says Claranet.

The latest research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) indicates that availability of IT skills in the end-user workforce is heavily informing technology procurement practices; the industry body found that a lack of in-house skills was a factor in the decision to adopt cloud services in around half (49 per cent) of cloud users.

Simon Bearne, Claranet’s UK Sales & Marketing Director said: “Over the last decade, there has been a shift towards data and information management in IT departments – rather than the ‘nuts and bolts’ of IT. The fact is that many organisations cannot afford to hire software and hardware specialists, so have to outsource, appointing a Managed Services Provider (MSP) in place of the latter.

That businesses are turning to cloud to plug skills gaps in the workforce is not, in itself, a problem. After all, the ability to effectively rent resources and skills is what outsourcing and cloud are all about. With the UK suffering from a skills shortage in the IT industry, it makes much more sense for businesses to focus existing internal IT staff on higher-value strategic work that maximises their knowledge of the company’s IT systems and their understanding of the business, and to leave the more mundane work to those outside the organisation. But it does create an environment where businesses are increasingly reliant on outsourced IT – making the customer-IT provider relationship critical to business success.

Bearne went on to say that MSPs should play a central role in businesses’ migration strategies, to help determine which workloads to move to the cloud and which to keep on-premise:

“The direction of traffic is of course towards cloud, but the process is gradual and one that needs to be managed carefully. It’s important to realise that with limited resource and skills, a careful balance is needed between holding on to existing systems to achieve the best ROI and the benefits to business operations from using the cloud. While there is no easy answer, end-users should look for an MSP that will take a consultative approach to developing a more bespoke solution based on a full understanding of their requirements and existing skills base,” he concluded.

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