Cloud has made the world a smaller place, allowing people to remain connected, share content and work remotely. Organisations recognise Cloud as the chosen solution to support ‘anywhere operations’, but this requires them to take stock of their inevitable capability gaps.

Scalable and successful Cloud adoption requires change in not only the underlying technology and associated roles, but the supporting non-technical components and people too; those involved, and the skills needed extend far beyond the programme delivery team and its leadership.

The Cloud skills wish list

A ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t work, so you must enable a team that is flexible, pragmatic and collaborative, led by a strong programme/project leadership and PMO who ensure proper governance, oversight and assurance of delivery.

Programme success will endure through completion, transition to BAU and beyond based on the input of critical non-technical skills and expertise:

  • Procurement will support the vendor selection of the best Cloud, technical and delivery partners, ensuring the right fit for the business and its needs.
  • Commercial will lead a review of contracts and licencing with existing and new suppliers to assure a stable transition that minimises both business impact and risk.
  • Change management is seen as an overhead, but its value is in ensuring key stakeholders and business users are engaged and participate in the journey and are equipped to handle BAU post-delivery.
  • Internal audit promotes a framework of internal controls that help monitor and evaluate how risks are being managed, and the programme is being governed.
  • Legal helps provide effective risk management techniques and offers proactive advice on potential legal and commercial issues.
  • Finance manages the programme finances, assures the programme’s ongoing viability and measures the realisation of benefits.

The tech world is your oyster

The technical wizardry behind Cloud transformation is binary and tangible; its success hinges on a clear strategy and the capabilities of those delivering it. Unlike a company’s BAU operations however, a project aims to produce a unique outcome that integrates with existing resources and infrastructure without conflict. Employers are therefore looking for more rounded individuals, and the technical skills market requirements have changed.

The growth in UK tech employment is second only to healthcare, accounting for 10% of UK vacancies, and the demand for new tech professionals/training has never been greater. But there’s already a recognised national digital skills shortage.

Aitemology® co-founder Luke Pilfold-Thomas sits as an Employer Board member of TechSkills, the organisation uniting employers and universities to improve the flow of digital talent. He explains how they’re addressing the problem at graduate level:

“We work with our partners to ensure the curriculum stays relevant and develops skillsets that are in demand. For example, we’ve recently updated the Software Engineering degree syllabus to place a greater emphasis on the softer business skills needed by young developers and technologists entering today’s workplace. TechSkills has also accredited FDM Group’s global analyst programmes that now incorporate much more on business change and engagement.”

Tom Lovell, MD of TechSkills adds:

Organisations are looking for people who can cut across skillsets. Whilst they will need the change/people/delivery basics they must also know how to translate technical requirements into end-user impacts and business objectives.”

Using your home advantage

For most organisations it makes sense to use what you already have. Make re-training and upskilling your team a priority as this will motivate them on a personal level and reduce costs.

It’s never too early to do a skills health check. Don’t assume your old-world IT and BAU teams are still fit for new-world purpose. Taking a look at your talent shouldn’t be scary or expensive; it will be a positive experience for everyone if you approach it as a personal development opportunity. You’ll only need to go to market to fill your knowledge gaps if there’s no in-house solution.”

Abby Eaton, co-founder at Aitemology®.

Many non-technical skills are transferable from other sectors and roles. In fact, a non-technical background adds balance and value through external cross-functional team experience, fresh eyes and a distinctly human approach. If used collaboratively, these skills will permeate through to your technical teams. It’s a win-win situation!

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