In recent years the shortage of IT talent in the Asia Pacific region has become acute. According to the Harvey Nash CIO Survey 2014, 76% of companies in Asia Pacific report that a lack of access to the right technology talent is impacting their ability to deliver IT services to their employees and B2B services to their customers. In markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore or India, new high school graduates are not opting for engineering and IT courses as readily as before.
A business associate informed me with some alarm that tens of thousands of engineering seats are vacant in colleges in the 'software triangle' of South India. In Hong Kong, the most popular courses for university students are business management, finance, and social work. The implications of these trends are starting to be cause for concern for the IT professionals across many business sectors.
I recently held a conversation with a CIO in the region, who informed me that he was more concerned about his team's ability to execute the company's IT strategy than the actual technology chosen, which was why they were staying with their existing, outdated IT network for the time being.
This is unfortunate to say the least. It is counter-productive to delay or postpone critical technological decisions owing to these concerns. However, our industry is evolving such that viable options exist outside of CIOs shouldering huge manpower and labor requirements to build out their own IT infrastructure. Instead, they should look to modern solutions with huge economic benefits such as the Cloud.
It is, however, sensible for CIOs to think strategically about who will manage their cloud infrastructure and how at the earliest stages.
First, it will require developing new skills within the organization. My friend is undoubtedly not the only one with the concern about skills mix, however traction in that direction so far is light. The most recent Gartner report on key IT metrics indicates that organizations have made little or no change in the way they have deployed their IT teams over the past five years, with almost half of IT employees working on voice and data network maintenance, data centre management or IT management.
Developing the right skills
The first imperative is to attract and recruit employees with an eye on future IT and networking needs. With Cloud adoption, the mix of IT skills an organization needs will change to focus more on enterprise applications and connectivity - as opposed to traditional IT support expertise. Companies need to either recruit this expertise or provide their existing teams with training and career growth opportunities to handle this new set of requirements.
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