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

preferred technology."

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


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