Large businesses in the UK are missing out on hundreds of millions of pounds in revenues because they lack cloud computing skills.
According to a survey by the London School of Economics (LSE) and Rackspace, 64% of UK IT decision-makers said a lack of cloud skills was leading to lost revenue. The survey estimated the cost to UK businesses was just under £217m a year.
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With cloud computing offering organisations the ability to change business models and transform businesses, if used properly the technology could go way beyond cutting costs and contribute to the business.
But 52% of the 250 UK respondents said the lack of cloud skills was already holding their businesses back.
The benefits of cloud are clear to businesses, with 67% of the survey respondents confident that the right level of cloud understanding would bring greater innovation and 85% claiming this would lead to a better return on cloud computing investments.
But it is proving difficult for companies to get the right skills. The survey revealed that 30% of respondents cited competition for talent and the inability to offer competitive salaries as two of the biggest drawbacks when trying to attract the best cloud talent.
The survey also looked at what IT professionals with cloud skills want. Although salary is an important priority for 60%, 48% said the opportunity to progress in a company is important and 39% want to work on interesting projects.
“Put simply, cloud technology is a victim of its own success,” said Will Venters, assistant professor of information systems at LSE. “As the technology has become ubiquitous among large organisations – and helped them to wrestle back control of sprawling physical IT estates – it has also opened up a huge number of development and innovation opportunities.”
To fully realise these opportunities, he added, organisations need to have the right expertise in place now and have a cloud skills development strategy to ensure they are constantly evolving their IT workforce and training procedures in parallel with the constantly evolving demands of cloud.
“Failure to do so will severely impede the future aspirations of businesses in an increasingly competitive digital market,” said Venters.
Will Venters, LSE
Mariano Mamertino, Europe, Middle East and Africa economist at global job site Indeed, pointed out that finding, attracting and retaining tech talent was critical to business survival.
“It is increasingly competitive for companies to find the technical talent they need as demand surges for such skillsets,” said Mamertino. “Our data shows there is a global mismatch between the cloud roles advertised versus those being searched by IT professionals, which could accelerate the growth of a cloud skills gap. As this new report spotlights, there is both a financial and innovation gap to be plugged here for businesses globally.”
A recent report by Microsoft revealed that 38% of technical leaders who had been looking for staff with cloud skills over the past year had found it difficult to find the right candidates. It also found that 80% of technical managers believe having people with the right cloud skills will be important for their firms to achieve digital transformation.