CIO Straight Talk - Issue 11 - 9
Growing Your Own Cloud Talent
Because cloud services will underpin the digital
"For a lot of folks in the organization this is new -
enterprise going forward, cloud expertise is becoming
not just technologically new, but emotionally new,"
a critical success factor for IT organizations and the
he says. Pre-cloud, all the hardware "was in the
businesses they support. That's part of the reason
basement, you could go hug it, it was in your control.
why Guardian Life Insurance was thoughtful and
That is no longer true in the new world of cloud.
deliberate about its shift to public cloud resources.
And even though some of the basic skills remain the
"We spent a lot of time reskilling our employees
same, people need to approach the new cloud-based
and being transparent about what we were moving
system with an open mind and a willingness to learn
to and why," says Dean Del Vecchio, Executive
new, and ultimately more valuable, skills."
Vice President, CIO, and Head of Enterprise Shared
Services. "We needed to provide them with the skill
The number of people who truly understand how
to develop or support cloud technology."
to work with the various cloud providers is low,
according to Michael Cantor, CIO of Park Place
Indeed, most IT leaders are finding that they have to
Technologies. "Lots of people claim experience, but
grow their own cloud resources to support their future
not that many really have it," Cantor says. He adds: "I
cloud plans. There simply aren't enough available
see this as the latest technology religion war, similar
cloud skills in the marketplace - and those that
to Java versus dot-Net in the late 90s. People will
exist may not be drawn to enterprise work. "Taking
become experts in Azure, AWS, or GCP, and that will
advantage of these new cloud-native services requires
be a differentiator in skills as people choose their
new capabilities, skills, and mindsets," says Mark
Peacock, principal and leader of the IT consulting
practice at The Hackett Group. "And because there
aren't enough cloud-native skills on the market to buy,
companies will have to develop them in-house."
The move to the cloud requires not just technical
and architectural changes, but also changes to
governance, operational processes, and business
partner expectations," Peacock says. The IT
organization must understand modern system
"FOR A LOT OF FOLKS IN THE
ORGANIZATION THIS IS ALL NEW
- NOT JUST TECHNOLOGICALLY
NEW, BUT EMOTIONALLY NEW."
architecture designs - the move from traditional
monolithic system designs that assume all the
components are located in the same data centers
to loosely coupled, API-based microservices
Like other forward-looking CIOs, Cantor has
designs, along with all the security implications that
invested heavily in internal training to close the
accompany that. They must be familiar with modern
gap and is leaning on key cloud partners to help
database designs and the shift from legacy relational
in the meantime.
databases like Oracle, IBM DB2 and Microsoft
SQL Server to NoSQL, streaming, and time series
Guardian Life Insurance created an internal cloud
database technologies. They will also have to take
education, training, and certification programs
new approaches to vendor management as the IT
called the Cloud Guild. Within three months, they
organization evolves from large one-time capital
had trained 3,000 employees on cloud systems and
purchases to incremental absorption of services.
certified 350 of them. "Having the skills and people
who know how to build the right systems and do it
Making the multi-faceted transition to cloud can be
in the most efficient way is a huge challenge," says
difficult, according to Steven Carter, CIO of CNX, a
Del Vecchio. "Attracting and retaining talent in our
natural gas exploration and production company.
organization enables us to do that."
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CIO Straight Talk - Issue 11