According to an ESG Research study, approximately 75% of organizations already utilize public cloud services.
SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications are the most common use of cloud technology, with IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) and PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) catching up quickly. Cloud adoption within businesses of every size is only expected to increase as solutions become more affordable and accessible.
The benefits of widespread cloud adoption are abundantly clear. Cloud computing makes workers more productive, providing them with massive computing and network power with relatively simple management. Employees can work in a secure fashion from anywhere, and often on any device. All of this comes at a fraction of the cost of traditional on-premise deployments.
Managing cloud applications and deployments can be straight-forward for small business. For example, it doesn’t take a certified engineer to provision a new Office 365 user or add a virtual VoIP extension.
“Cloud” is not always synonymous with “simple”—especially in midsize / midmarket organizations with hybrid cloud deployments, IaaS and PaaS
While cloud applications are wonderfully easy to use for employees, they do not design and manage themselves. The increasing reliance on this relatively new (and sometimes complex) technology means that IT personnel certified and trained in cloud disciplines are absolutely crucial to smooth business operations. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find skilled workers to staff IT departments with the expertise and panache it demands.
The US educational system has suffered from a STEM talent gap for years. STEM is an educational term that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and the STEM talent gap means the US is not producing enough college graduates with degrees in these fields. The problem extends into the workforce, which is why finding competent young IT professionals may seem more difficult today than it did ten years ago.
Most relevant to IT, each year about 120,000 new jobs are created that require computer science degrees. However, only about 49,000 young people graduate each year with a qualifying degree. In other words, about 71,000 new jobs each year cannot be filled by US graduates who are trained for that task. The problem mounts year over year as more jobs are created.
So, the demand for cloud computing skills is increasing, but supply is shrinking. What to do?
Organizations with more complex cloud deployments need strong IT management and security, but those personnel are in short supply. The answer is partnering with a managed service provider (MSP). The right MSP is uniquely suited to effectively fill the IT staffing shortage, and in many cases is a superior option to staffing up the in-house IT department.
- Cost-Efficiency – An MSP transforms much of IT into a fixed (for small business) or predictable (midmarket and enterprise) cost. For a regular service fee, the MSP assumes the burden of hiring, training, and management of internal IT employees. Hardware upgrades and maintenance are invisibly handled by the MSP and your cloud provider. The services offloaded to the partner firm become a “fire-and-forget” solution, dependable and reliable without the need for continuous active management.
- Specialized Knowledge – Transitioning to the cloud and then making the most of the new paradigm requires certain specialized skills, including but not limited to behavioral analytics, network traffic analysis, and specialized security knowledge. Rather than hire for these skills during the IT staffing shortage, not to mention continuing to keep them on board even when their unique skills are no longer required, organizations are much better served allowing an MSP to take on these duties. The MSP will keep these specialists on hand and can deploy them as needed for individual projects.
- Better Use of Internal Staff – Freed from the need to manage routine security, monitoring, or maintenance tasks, internal IT staff can better focus their attention on strategic initiatives. The internal IT department can devote itself to projects tightly aligned with the company’s long-term business goals, without scrambling to fit those projects around mundane but mission-critical day-to-day needs.
An MSP can take over as many of an IT department’s routine duties as required. Tasks ranging from security and network performance monitoring, all the way to massive projects like data migration and new software deployment are well within the purview of the outsourced IT firm.
Organizations of every size should be, and already are, leveraging the power of the cloud to increase productivity while lowering costs. For those organizations finding it difficult to keep up with the IT needs of this relatively new technology, managed IT services are the ideal solution. The IT staffing shortage is a reality, but it need not hold back organizational growth and progress.