The skills gap is very real, but savvy businesses are looking to the cloud for IT help and technology solutions that will allow them to do more with less personnel.
Instead of looking to fill gaps with new, quick hires, it may make sense to leverage cloud services in place of IT support staff. In doing so, companies free up their existing IT teams to focus on strategic challenges instead of watching over infrastructure or managing change.
"It's increasingly expensive, not to mention time-consuming, to find and retain people with the skills required to support legacy infrastructure. It's made businesses look at the cloud in different ways so they can focus on how to impact business strategically rather than babysit aging systems," says Kevin McMahon, marketing director at unified communications provider West IP Communications.
Cloud communications and networking
For West IPC, that means helping clients transition from traditional on-premises PBX systems to a cloud-based platform that helps them save not only on infrastructure costs, but on personnel that used to take care of things like system upgrades, onboarding new hires or removing users who leave the company.
"Voice infrastructure is a great example. Now, clients don't need personnel to replicate a PBX in each branch office — for larger enterprises — or to spend time going from office to office with system upgrade DVDs, or worry about how to onboard new hires individually or remove their extensions and voice mailboxes when someone leaves. It's all done in the cloud," McMahon says.
West IP customers also benefit from the firm's clout when dealing with network management issues and service interruptions, McMahon says. In the past, smaller clients would have to contact network providers individually, wait at the bottom of a priority list and deal with costly downtime, West IPC can often solve network problems much more quickly.
"As an added benefit, we're a much larger entity; we have thousands of customers under contract, so in the event of network management issues, we can intervene on their behalf and get them help and access. We have a much more reliable fail-over solution than some of the other major providers, and that helps them get back on their feet more quickly," McMahon says.
Storage is another area where companies are leveraging the cloud to mitigate the effects of the skills gap and talent shortage. Solutions like Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) or Backblaze's new B2 offer storage so cheap it's crazy not to consider offloading some data, says Brett Gillett, cloud practice lead for managed services provider Softchoice.
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