In advance of the 4th Annual Cloud World Forum in London in June Business Cloud News caught up with one of the conference speakers, Mark Skilton, professor of information systems and management group, Warwick Business School, who shared his views on how increased uptake of cloud computing is creating a skills gap in enterprise IT, and changing the mix of skills students and enterprises are looking for in the next generation of IT pros.

Mark is speaking at the Cloud World Forum this June. Click here to register.

Mark SkiltonQ: Can you give us a sense of where the skills gaps are, and the forces influencing these changes?

MS: Business are shifting away from being buyers to becoming subscribers of services, and the consumerisation of IT means that the IT department is increasingly on its heels as it’s asked to support an increasing number of systems and platforms, particularly mobile platforms.

Many of the services they need to support are cloud-based, so the focus starts to shift towards integration, managing security (and Shadow IT), BYOD, and increasing collaboration with the rest of the business to determine what the best platforms and services for the business are.

Network and systems management will likely remain if only slightly diminished, but the biggest gaps are seemingly around IT personnel having business acumen and the new set of requirements around building relationships with vendors and service providers. Cloud is an ecosystem play, but choosing one service doesn’t necessarily mean in buying into an entire ecosystem of services and products like in the old days of IT, so there are in some ways wider features of a service that require consideration when it comes to procurement and integration.

Q: How are you seeing these trends manifest within higher education?

MS: We are definitely seeing a shift among the student body. For instance traditionally, most pursuing jobs in IT would have stuck to largely technical courses – networks, infrastructure management, database administration or data sciences, and the like.

But many are now shifting focus to mobile application development, courses that involve higher-level programming on the technical side, and taking more entrepreneurial and business courses than ever before to add that commercial element.

These students are starting to catch on to the fact that no matter where they land, be it a small start-up or a large enterprise, they will likely have to emulate the small start-up.

Q: What can CIO’s do in order to help manage this transition?

MS: CIO’s will need to keep an eye on the applications and systems being brought into their businesses by their staff, and work to cultivate the skills required in order to secure them.

They will need to cultivate strong relationships with service providers and vendors, ensure that their vendor strategy is cloud proof, and drive collaboration across the business to ensure systems are tightly integrated back to front.

They also need to keep an eye on systems complexity, and set up KPIs that will help drive them to simplify their IT systems.


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