The lack of qualified IT professionals with cloud expertise is at the root of massive financial losses at organizations around the globe using the cloud — and the problem is expected to persist into the near future, according to a new report sizing up an ongoing cloud skills gap in the tech world.
A survey from Rackspace Hosting of 950 IT decision makers and 950 IT professionals focuses on how the lack of tech workers with cloud know-how is stifling innovation and causing companies to lose money, while making it more difficult for those firms to keep pace with rapid changes in the cloud industry.
According to the report, large enterprises around the world are losing around $258 million annually because they lack the proper cloud expertise, a stunning figure that Rackspace estimates accounts for 5 percent of total global revenue. Additionally, the report found that nearly three-quarters of IT decisions makers believe their companies have lost money due to not having qualified employees in place to manage their clouds.
The report concludes that companies will be severely limited in their ability to take full advantage of benefits offered by the cloud without access to a solid pool of workers with the proper cloud know-how. Designed to allow businesses to scale quickly and operate a more efficient IT environment, the cloud has evolved so quickly that maintenance demands now surpass the abilities of many in-house IT workers.
With cloud playing an enormous role in supporting business transformation, Rackspace Chief Technology Officer John Engates said companies will have to have move quickly to bridge the skills gap by hiring more workers with cloud expertise or they “will struggle to be competitive and innovative.”
“With technology now at the heart of every company, the fight for cloud expertise now spans well beyond the traditional territories,” Engates wrote in the report. “This need for the right expertise is only heightened in a business world that is more competitive than ever before.”
In the U.S., a boom of start-ups and non-tech businesses snatching up tech talent has resulted in demand outstripping supply. Across Europe, there is also a lack of specialist IT workers to fill the growing number of vacancies. In Asia, where cloud growth is booming, fears of a future skills shortage are already discussed. And Latin America has long suffered from a shortage of top tech talent.
Due to the lack of qualified workers, IT decision makers are growing increasingly concerned they won’t be able to keep pace with changes and demands in the cloud industry, the report notes. Nearly a third of respondents said they currently “struggle to keep up with the proficiency required to get the most out of the cloud,” and a slightly higher percentage expressed difficulty in keeping up with the expertise needed to maximize ROI from the cloud.
And bridging the cloud expertise gap won’t be easy either. Nearly half of respondents say they find it hard to attract the proper talent to manage their organization’s clouds. That’s due in part to significant competition in the fast moving IT sector for the best cloud talent, along with additional barriers posed by salary and training requirements.
The report, sponsored by San Antonio-based Rackspace and done in collaboration with the London School of Economics and Political Science and market research firm Vanson Bourne, does offer a silver lining. It concludes that the lack of cloud experts is likely a “short-term phenomenon” exacerbated by a technology that is still evolving rapidly.
Over time “the evolution of cloud services will stabilize and the new skills needed will reduce,” the report says. A majority of respondents — 68 percent of IT pros and 77 percent of IT decision makers — say over the next five years they feel confident or very confident they’ll be have the right experts to manage their clouds.