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Skills shortages hold orgs back from capitalising on cloud 2.0

By Catherine Knowles
Wed 25 May 2022

Rackspace Technology has announced the Multicloud Annual Research Report 2022 that finds that organisations are becoming more comfortable with more sophisticated 'cloud 2.0' technologies, even as they confront difficulties in hiring and retaining IT talent.

According to the survey of 1,420 global IT leaders across industries, though cloud development continues to be a top priority for organisations, such that 56% do not envision owning a data centre in five years, a resounding 77% of IT decision-makers said that a scarcity of talent is inhibiting the adoption of new cloud development methods.

The survey also finds organisations’ cloud priorities evolving, from 'basics' such as agility (30%) and scalability (26%) and toward more sophisticated issues such as security (46%) and compliance (36%).

Moreover, an increased appetite for risk among IT professionals can be seen in their enthusiasm for exploring edge technologies (38%) and containers (53%), while over half plan to invest in hyperscale providers.

Rackspace Technology chief technology evangelist Jeff DeVerter says, “The cloud is no longer a shiny new object - it is a nearly universally accepted technology, and there is almost no organisation that is not currently in the process of transforming itself via the cloud.

“At the same time, there are a number of barriers standing in the way of that transformation, most notably a dearth of IT talent. More than ever, organisations will need to rely on external expertise to achieve their cloud goals, as they continue to shed legacy infrastructure and ask the cloud to do more.”

According to the researchers, the survey underscores a growing talent dilemma for IT leaders, with more than half (53%) of all respondents citing talent shortages as major business challenge, well ahead of concerns such as inflation (48%), product shortages (36%) and wage growth (25%).

Companies are employing a variety of tactics to attract new IT talent, including promoting opportunities for training and development (40%), increasing starting salaries and offering hybrid/flexible/work-from-home schedules (32%).

Overall, 21% are being even more aggressive, luring talent with large starting salaries or increases, while 18% are offering signing bonuses and 13% are using sign-on retention agreements.

DeVerter says, “We have seen an evolution in the cloud discussion, away from some of the table stakes topics such as agility and scalability, and toward more sophisticated uses of cloud, such as containers and edge, that is shaping the future.

“Not only are people excited to close their data centres. They are also more apt to take on more risk than they had been in the recent past.”

According to the survey, the majority of respondents are multicloud, with majorities saying they are using either AWS, Azure and/or Google Cloud.

In addition, 70% are already finding new uses for single tenant and/or private cloud infrastructure, while over half (54%) said they plan to run serverless applications. 31% say their applications currently run on serverless technology, including functions such as automating workflows, scaling IoT apps, enabling virtual assistants/chatbots, and running SaaS functions.

When asked how cloud is aiding innovation:

  • 49% say it is improving customer experience and ease of use
  • 44% say is enabling faster testing and deployment of new products and services
  • 37% say it is providing limitless compute and storage
  • 35% say it is expanding their range of products/services
  • 33% say it provides the ability to scale up and down on demand

Survey respondents cited security as the most important factor to consider when choosing a cloud environment (46%), ahead of compliance (36%), flexibility/agility (30%) and scalability (26%). Security is also the leading reason companies use external partners. In addition, more than half of respondents (52%) cite security as their biggest barrier to using serverless.

DeVerter adds, “Taken together, the data points on talent and security tell an interesting story. Nearly 85% of our survey respondents either have or will have applications running on serverless as they look to accelerate their cloud transformation efforts.

"At the same time, they face a severe internal skills shortage that is preventing them from being more aggressive without tapping external partners.”

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