"The cloud is gaining a lot of ground, because businesses know it's simple, easy and efficient to get started themselves, in a lot of areas of infrastructure. Storage, databases, communications -- this is the allure of infrastructure-as-a-service. The provider's going to maintain the physical environment, the networks, even some of the security. You don't need a person or people to do that," Gillett says.
Or, he adds, instead of hiring an entire team of database administrators, perhaps a company can leverage the cloud along with one DBA at a more junior level.
At the basic infrastructure level, leveraging the cloud can certainly ease the talent crunch. But there are some areas where businesses shouldn't skimp.
Where to splurge on tech talent
"Application services and integration are still areas where there's a significant skills gap companies need to focus on. Amazon, for example, has released hundreds of updates to their various services, and knowing how to keep up with those changes, how to integrate the cloud with on-premise solutions and technology is a major skillset you need in-house or through a managed service specialist," says Gillett.
That's something McMahon and West IP deal with daily, as customers wrestle with how to integrate cloud solutions with their existing technology stack, as well as contemplate new purchases that will help them remain competitive.
"It's really necessary to have talented people who can integrate best-of-breed solutions using industry best practices so you know technology's working for you, strategically. That's something you can't farm out to the cloud," says McMahon.
Leveraging the cloud to handle lower-priority, mundane tasks while focusing on attracting, hiring and retaining skilled cloud architects and integration specialists may be the best option for companies struggling with the IT skills gap.
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