Contrary to what many people believe, cloud computing hasn’t decreased the need for IT skills, it has merely changed the emphasis of their skills from routine maintenance and sourcing of systems and hardware to finding appropriate cloud solutions and managing relationships with providers. In fact, many forward thinking schools that specialize in IT programs have added courses on these topics to the curriculum. The demand for IT skills is as great as it has ever been, and virtualization and networking are in high demand.
Changing IT Skills
The rise in cloud computing is behind the shift in priorities for IT skills. Companies are choosing cloud block storage at an unprecedented rate. In fact, research shows that a majority of companies prefer hosted or on demand solutions for collaboration, mobile applications and social media. Many companies have been using cloud applications for expense reporting, human resources, customer relationship management and payroll for years without necessarily having a formal commitment to cloud computing.
Gartner has predicted that cloud computing and CRM will be the leading drivers of software licensing through 2014. Among the most compelling reasons for cloud adoption are the simplicity of budgeting and planning, the relief from hardware maintenance and the ease of setup.
No Upfront Capital Requirement
The advantages of IT in the cloud are compelling. While over a period of several years the difference in costs of cloud computing compared to in-house computing tend to disappear, many companies prefer cloud computing because they don’t need to make an upfront capital investment.
Companies also enjoy the ability to add or remove users quickly at a known cost, rather than having to buy and pay support fees on user seats that they may not need or use. The predictability of costs for cloud computing is a big benefit to budgeting, and it helps enable a direct relationship between company growth and IT costs.
Cloud computing is simple to set up. Usually, a company can set up a cloud application or arrange for storage online or over the phone. Many cloud providers offer a free trial, and sometimes they will bill a company on a monthly or quarterly basis. Cloud providers design their applications to be easy to understand and use, so they don’t require a lot of user training before you begin using them.
Documents, data and applications stored in the cloud are easily accessible. System uptime frequently exceeds that of most in-house IT departments, and users can access the data from any modern browser, making it convenient to work while on the road or to make a quick check on something while at home on nights or weekends.
Focus on Strategy, Not Hardware
Cloud computing provides for automatic backups of systems and provides backup servers for system failures, completely shielding the company from hardware concerns and costs. In-house IT is free from the day-to-day system maintenance, and they can focus on more strategic initiatives that help make the company more competitive. The company benefits from a stable IT infrastructure and a skilled technology team that is available to assist users in collaboration and improving business processes.