Excuse the slightly cataclysmic title of this post, but the first post for 2012 in the CloudU notebook series is one which hopefully will get you thinking about your career and the changes it is going to undergo over the years to come.

One of the drivers for the CloudU program, and especially the CloudU certificate, was an attempt to give traditional IT folks an entry level introduction to Cloud Computing, something to whet their appetite and to give them a grounding, before offering up other, more specific learnings.

Of course our rationale for doing this is the thesis that the job market is fundamentally changing and that Cloud Computing is a major driver for this. It was good then to read the other day a Forbes article by Joe McKendrick that spells this fact out clearly. McKendrick pulls no punches saying that;

Just as cloud computing is a game-changer for many companies, it is also changing the nature of jobs – not only within the information technology department, but in other parts of the enterprise as well.

Interestingly McKendick goes on to discuss some empirical data that speaks to the real change that IT roles are seeing. In particular he references a study from CA technologies which found that;

A majority of 685 CIOs surveyed, 54%, believe that cloud computing has enabled them to spend more time on business strategy and innovation. Approximately 71% who have adopted cloud computing see their position as  a viable path to pursue other management roles, compared to only 44% of non-cloud adopting CIOs.

In other words, it’s precisely the CIOs who have adopted Cloud who are feeling empowered to move into broader management roles, while their more laggardly colleagues remain technically focused.

None of this should come as a surprise to CloudU participants – we’ve always said that management for the new IT is a totally different beast than in the old world. Whereas traditional IT leaders had to remain abreast of technology paradigms and ensure that their departments cut clean code, maintained pristine data centers and had their fingers on the pulse of software updates, a modern CIO has to think about more broad business skills like;

  • Vendor relationships
  • Rapidly accelerating technology innovations
  • Strategic business skills
  • Managing and maintaining a workforce when there is a limited talent pool

Now before people get up in arms pointing out that traditional CIOs have to manage these roles, let me say that I accept that fact. But I also contend that the rate of change, and the amount of time that a CIO has to spend on business as opposed to technical issues is far greater under Cloud Computing. And the statistics, at least from the CA report, would seem to back this up. Cloud adopting CIOs feel more confident with strategic, business-related functions within their role than do their traditional counterparts.

It’s also interesting to see other industry folks speak to the same themes – Chuck Hollis, VP at EMC summed up the challenge for IT leaders when he said that;

If you’re an IT leader, you’ve got an interesting challenge on your hands. You most likely don’t have the right portfolio of end-state roles, skills and processes. And you are probably lacking the people with skills who can lead the change from present state to future state.

In other words – we’re here now, and we kind of know we want to be someplace else pretty soon, but we just don’t know how to get from A to B. We just don’t have the people who can take us on that journey. Or our own people maybe could but they simply “don’t know what they don’t know”.

That’s what CloudU is all about – whether your preference is for whitepapers you can print out and ruminate over. Whether it’s for a certificate you can print out and point to in your resume. Whether it’s simply for a community where you can discuss the challenges you’re going through – CloudU aims to fulfill your needs.

So the Cloud is definitely changing your job – what are you planning on doing in 2012 about it?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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