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Skills Needed For Cloud Migration

Cloud computing was a buzzword 10 years ago and then it just fizzled away. It was always there in the background doing what it promised to do, but then in 2010 we saw a big uptake from smaller businesses. The number of small businesses flogging to the cloud has been staggering. IT innovations have seen early adopters in large organizations where economies of scale can help justify the initial cost of a new technology. SME’s have typically come many years later once, but this time around with Cloud they are leading the charge and larger companies will be joining the party later. As was recently reported on tech republic by Colin Smith

“It makes sense since cloud services give SMBs some of the economies of scale previously unattainable. Consider how much it would cost in hardware, software, backups, and human resources for a 15-user organization to implement Exchange, SharePoint, and Office Communicator, and Live Meeting in house. I don’t think it would be a stretch to suggest that it would cost at least $10K if not more over a three year period. My lowball costs are $5k in hardware, $2k in software, $1k in backups, and $2k in services. That works out to about $275 per month. For the same 15 users, you could use MS BOPS at a cost of $10 per user per month. That’s $150 per month. Of course there are less expensive options available from other vendors, but this is a direct comparison based on a brand new installation with no sunk costs”.

So in a previous article we looked at some of the trends  associated with cloud computing in this we will review some of the skills required to manage cloud computing effectively:

The skills matrix will include the following:

Demand Management - Understanding which workloads can be moved to cloud services and which services are appropriate to each workload. This is about the IT manager clearly assessing the current IT environment, requirements and goals of the organisation for the foreseeable future.

Vendor Management - Managing the various cloud service providers will become important to maximising cost savings while maintaining efficiency. The in-house team will need to understand what motivates the vendors, how to influence them and how to get the best price/service. Also regularly do some research on competitors, always have a backup provider in the hand so you can’t be squeezed on price as you have alternative providers.

Business Analysis & project management - What workloads are the most time sensitive? Can software as a service meet the needs of the finance reporting team? Does it make sense to move an application server to an infrastructure provider like EC2 or is it more effective to re-architect the application to run on Azure? There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed by the business analyst and project manager before deciding what applications to migrate and which ones to keep in-house.  So this skill-set is essential to have in-house before migrating anything.

Risk Management – Identification and prioritization of the risks associated with cloud computing will be the first step in understanding the opportunities available to your organisation. You need to have a clear picture of Disaster recovery plans and how to operate the business if certain services fail.

IT Governance & Compliance - Deeper involvement in how IT is used to deliver on business goals and monitoring and controlling its current and future use within an organization will differentiate those that succeed in moving large portions of their computing workloads to the cloud. Secondly, beyond conventional regulatory compliance requirements (e.g. FSA, Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI DSS, etc.), maintaining compliance with regulatory standards will impact how some workloads are managed and how they can be moved to the cloud. Ensure legal is included in the decision making process so all those aspects have been signed off.

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