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In the race to the cloud, skills must be the driver

by jcp

By Perry Krug, Director, Shared Services at Couchbase.

Despite the current unstable economic outlook, businesses are continuing to invest in new IT services and software. Global IT spending will total $4.5 trillion this year, with this investment seen by many as crucial for business growth and competitive advantage.

At the centre of this digital transformation push by businesses is the ongoing migration to cloud services, with spending in this area projected to grow by over 22% this year. The cloud is a major part of organisations’ attempts to modernise and deliver new services for customers and users, with the growing popularity of Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) offerings a key example.

Organisations across all sectors are relying on these flexible and scalable cloud databases to support their new applications, which explains why the global database management market has doubled in the last five years, and is now valued at $40 billion.

However, a shiny new cloud database will only provide these crucial benefits if businesses have the right skills to call upon.

Moving on up

DBaaS offerings can provide organisations with a scalable service that gives them the agility to support new applications immediately, rather than having to wait for the database instances to be provisioned.

For organisations, this will require a transition from an on-premise, legacy database. IT teams will have built up many years of experience in using on-premise databases, and as such a move to a to a DBaaS built on a more modern, NoSQL database can be hampered by their inability to make the most of the technology.

Given the current recruitment challenges in the IT market, the strategy for many businesses to tackle this will not include a hiring spree. Instead, the situation calls for a more balanced approach.

Organisations could therefore explore databases that run on established SQL languages but are still packaged up with the flexibility and scalability of a more modern NoSQL database. This way, no additional training is needed, since IT teams have the familiarity of the relational database technology that they will know well. This removes the skills challenge for businesses, who can instead focus on taking advantage of their new cloud database straight away.

Service providers stepping up

The expertise needed to manage cloud technology also differs from on-premise systems. Previously, IT departments were used to having complete oversight of their business infrastructure, and the applications running on it. With cloud services however, teams must adapt to an environment that is controlled by a service provider, and can limit access or control for IT teams.

But this should not be a one-way street. Service providers also have responsibility to make their offerings transparent – with greater control over data and more flexible pricing structures. This will help businesses to feel that they are in charge of their own destiny, rather than being taken for a ride.

The digital drive

As 95% of enterprises describe the move to the cloud as “inevitable”, the push for digital services shows no sign of slowing for businesses. The cloud will have a significant part to play on whether these moves to deliver new user experiences, digital applications, or further support to distributed workforces, are successful.

To deliver these digitisation efforts, organisations need the right skills. This means maximising the agility provided with the cloud offers and ensuring they can use applications to their full capability.

With every other organisation thinking the same thing, competition for the right skills in the right place at the right time is high. As a result, ensuring that the organisation can still make use of existing skills as much as possible will be key to taking full advantage.

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