Written by Kevin Heisey
on November 02, 2021

Over the last two years, there has been a 50% increase in organizations moving their technologies into the Cloud. That growth could have been even greater, but organizations seeking to bring applications into the Cloud have been delayed due to insufficient Cloud talent. According to Gartner’s 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap, 64% of IT Executives see a talent shortage as the most significant barrier to adopting new technologies and processes, compared to only 4% in 2020.

It's a two-fold problem driven by an insatiable demand from organizations to get into the Cloud and the supply-side challenge of meeting the demand for skilled tech workers. There is a huge demand for people in an environment where the technology is constantly changing with new services and features emerging daily. The challenge in meeting the demand for talent lies in finding, developing or retaining people with up-to-date skills.

Strategies to Bridge the Cloud Talent Gap

Since the demand for skilled Cloud technologists is clear, what strategies can help your organization bridge the gap so you can proceed with your Cloud goals in a timely manner?

1 - Invest in Your Current Staff

According to an October 2021 survey of tech workers by Business Insider, 85% of respondents felt that their employers were more focused on attracting new staff than investing in existing staff. A key underlying data point to this major finding is that more than 70% were open to quitting their current job. A key pillar of any strategy to narrow the skills gap is to retain your current staff, which is also an attraction for potential hires.

2- Training and Upskilling

In the Business Insider survey cited above, respondents indicated that they see training and learning as a key motivator in their jobs. To effectively attract and retain talent, training and upskilling must go beyond lip service. It cannot just be self-guided training modules on your company’s intranet.

Do you provide company time for employees to learn new skill sets? Are you committed to training and upskilling staff, both for staff attraction and retention and as an investment in keeping your teams current on new developments?

3 - Establish Centers of Excellence

Cloud Centers of Excellence (COE) can be key enablers for your employees to keep up to date with the latest technology. HashiCorp’s State of Cloud Strategy survey found that 40% of organizations surveyed, and more than 66% of those with larger Cloud budgets, had COEs.

Are you sufficiently investing in your COEs? An effective Cloud COE can ensure that your teams have industry sources to get new Cloud information as it emerges and provide immediate value to your organization. A COE makes life easier for your Cloud technologists by providing centralized repositories of templates, out of the box services and reconfigurable elements that allow them to do their jobs with less rework and friction.

4 - Learn While Doing

A Dojo approach, paired programming or other learning-by-doing strategies can be especially effective in addressing Cloud talent shortages. As you move from one mode to the next, why not teach while implementing? Teams are motivated by opportunities to train, learn and grow, so you can leverage new implementations as opportunities to upskill your staff in a specific, applicable context, while they are doing productive work.

5 - Leverage Consulting Partners

There are significant opportunity costs incurred for delaying your Cloud efforts until you fully upskill your existing staff and/or recruit and onboard new staff. Spending upfront to partner with consultants who bring the necessary skills fully utilizes your on-hand staff and allows them to learn from skilled partners while working on your Cloud implementations. Engaging with consultant partners leads to overall cost savings and builds your internal expertise while realizing value from your technology investments as quickly as possible.

Do You Have an Effective Strategy?

To evaluate your Cloud talent strategy, assess your answers to the following questions:

  • Are you empowering your teams to upskill and are you evangelizing that?
  • Is your COE providing the resources and knowledge sharing that reduces your effort and reliance on external resources?
  • Are you leveraging a Dojo method? Do you ask your teams or consultants to teach while they implement?

Listen to Mike and Mason’s Tech Talk on Bridging the Cloud Skills Gap, where xScion’s Cloud Practice Lead, Mike Trivette and Chief Transformation Officer Mason Chaudhry address these questions and share their thoughts, ideas and experiences from the field in a conversation about how organizations can best meet the Cloud talent shortage challenge.