Now that cloud computing is firmly in the psyche of IT departments and we are starting to see the benefits of information technology being outsourced to cloud service providers; so we should be turning our attention to the skills needed to deploy and manage our cloud environments.
Cloud technology, used in the right hands can be a very powerful business tool, hence having finance skills and business acumen are essential in putting together a business case for cloud adoption. Understanding how to build and monitor ‘return on investment’, is at the forefront of deciding to go with your deployment or not. Key to these considerations are whether business performance outweighs the cost of supporting or subscribing to cloud technologies.
When it comes to managing your cloud solution, the skills needed will vary considerably depending on whether your cloud instance will be built and managed in-house, or not. But, without question, you will require a level of internet based skills, such as Java and .NET, plus other basic web development and programming language skills.
Being able to bridge the gap between IT and business, and speak their languages is paramount when it come to designing a solution. This comes from knowing how to analysis business needs and map out all the internal and external services needed, and from understanding the principles behind service-orientated architecture.
Whilst project management skills are not new to IT veterans, the era of the cloud has now deemed it necessary to re-evaluate those skills. Meeting deadlines and budgets is still very much a part of the project life-cycle, but now comes with it a new skill; the ability to manage end-users. With the world of plug-and-play features and applications, we could easily see projects spiraling out of control, as the goal posts move further and further away. Maintaining that control has become an even harder feat of accomplishment for project managers.
The art of negotiation is also an essential skill, especially when it comes to cloud service providers service-level agreements and availability. Understanding their fine print and recognising under performance might be easy, but who is going to be the one to step up and make a noise if it all goes wrong?
Understanding how to integrate data between cloud based systems and on-premise systems is one of the key skills needed to effectively work in the cloud, but today we see new takes on old problems. With the volume of data that is bombarding us from all directions, we now have to consider how to ingest, analyse and store data, whilst being mindful of its integrity, data-handling laws and legislation on a global scale.
Finally and not by far least, we have to consider mobility. The cloud has now made our work forces more mobile than ever and with this comes the need to understand how services will be accessed on the move. The ability to integrate or build apps that will allow access anytime, anywhere and from any device to important data is vital in keeping the workforce working.