Research: Cloud & IT Staffing

Jun 19, 2010


A Hazy Outlook: Changing Role of IT as Services Ascend

Enterprises of all sizes are beginning to evaluate the business agility and cost saving benefits that could be had by moving internal operations to public cloud service providers. Meanwhile, their IT staffs—from CIOs to middle managers to systems administrators to help desk workers—are left wondering, “What does this mean to me?” To figure that out, ask a few key questions: How is our business going to change? Who will determine what functions are cloud-ready and which are not? How do I move adoption forward in a way that maximizes benefit and minimizes risk? The issues get more specific as we dig deeper. Which IT operations must stay in-house, perhaps because of compliance or criticality? What job skills and roles will we need to add or retain, and which will decrease in importance? Will the enterprise need more or fewer managers? In what areas?

The 828 technology professionals responding to our InformationWeek Analytics 2010 Cloud Computing and IT Staffing Survey have strong opinions on these and other questions around public cloud adoption. Of our respondents, 248 are strategic IT managers, 197 are tactical managers and 181 are IT staff; all use, plan to use, are evaluating or have evaluated cloud services. For our purposes, we compared strategic IT managers with tactical managers and staff. Respondents in strategic roles are far more likely (60%) to say their organizations already consume or  plan to adopt at least some cloud-based services, while lower percentages of tactical managers and IT staff say cloud is part of their corporate strategies.

Not surprisingly, strategic IT managers, tactical IT managers and staff were also split, according to role, on the impact of cloud services on staffing levels, budgets, and the jobs and areas of operations that will be most affected by adoption of public cloud services. But, the differences are not nearly as pronounced as you might expect. As we dug beyond the numbers and talked to IT pros and industry experts, several essential points emerged that will have profound impact on the future of your business, your IT organization—and your career.

> The public cloud is here to stay, and usage will grow. Even cautious organizations will consume services, including business-critical functions, as providers mature and build trust relationships with enterprises.

> Internal IT staff levels will generally either stay static or contract slightly, depending on the types of services adopted.

> Traditional IT technical roles will be less in demand, replaced by “softer” but broader skills, such as provider contracting and management.

> The staffing levels and job skills required in any given organization will depend heavily on the public cloud service models adopted: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) or infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Disruption is not new to technologists—it is characteristic of the industry. We’ve managed mainframe to client/server, e-commerce, Web 2.0 and virtualization. It’s how you anticipate, adapt to and adopt game-changing technology that determines success. There is opportunity in the cloud for you, as an IT professional, to shine and bring real value to your company. But if you cannot or will not adjust, your company may suffer—and professionally, expect some rain to fall. (R1350610)

Survey Name: InformationWeek Analytics 2010 Cloud Computing and IT
Staffing Survey
Survey Date: June 2010
Region: North America
Number of Respondents: 828

Research Report