Cloud Managed Services and the fight for cloud skills

In a recent blog post, my colleague Richard Kirby talked to how customers can go about hitting their managed services design out of the park.  It is a great read, which I recommend customers view. In it, he talked about understanding outsourcing by thinking about insourcing. It got me to thinking; what would insourcing cloud look like? A common complaint I get from customers is that they struggle to attract staff who have solid cloud skills. When they do find them, it becomes a wages race to keep them as other organisations, sometimes with deeper pockets, seek cloud talent in the market.

This isn’t the first time

As emerging technologies become the foundation of modern business, IT skills shortages are not uncommon. Thinking back, you might recall a number of these resource shortages over the years. Remember when everyone was clamouring for development talent as the internet became a critical part of business’ operations? The search for HTML, SQL, Perl, PHP capability was fierce. Then mobile apps called for Android, iOS, Objective C, React Native and Flutter specialities, and now cloud, and the hunt for Azure, AWS, DevOps and Security expertise is on. In time, I’m sure we’ll be hearing of IoT and machine learning skill shortages as well.

The cloud skills gap

Although a skills gap isn’t uncommon, that doesn’t diminish the impact it can have on the industry. IDC expect that 30% of high-demand roles for emerging technologies will go unfilled through to 20221. In particular, there is a critical lack of deep cloud skills in the market. In fact, 94% of organisations are struggling to find the right talent for cloud solutions2. Jump on Seek.com and you can see for yourself the mountain of cloud roles available, in Australia alone there were 3,876 job listings while I researched for this blog. In reality, the very essence of cloud technology means you’re competing for talent in a global market, against impressive Silicon Valley giants and exciting well-funded start-ups.

A recent report from 451 Research revealed the following were the top under-resourced areas3:

[Image source: 451 Research, Innovations in Security Can Supplement IT Skills Shortage.]

Cloud-capable teams still struggle to keep up

For the companies that have managed to implement a great team, keeping your people up to speed on the ever-evolving cloud capabilities will be your next challenge.

It’s incredible difficult to keep up with the pace of change in cloud, and we have seen this manifested first-hand through the hundred plus health checks we have delivered; it’s extremely rare for a customer to have a completely clean bill of health. Unfortunately, while IT professionals have the best of intentions, due to lack of knowledge, they are getting their cloud environment wrong. Check out our 4 Key Considerations for Azure Decision Makers on how to assess your cloud decisions, and the 8 best practices for cost optimisation in Microsoft Azure for some timely best practices you can adopt to get your Azure environment right.

Challenges retaining your cloud talent

While you may try to remediate your Azure environment using the guidance we provided in those papers, it still doesn’t address the cloud skills challenge in the market.

With 90% of survey respondents saying the skills gap is either somewhat big, quite big or huge2. The pressure is on to find the right people to help you move to the cloud with confidence, but the challenge isn’t just finding people, you also want to keep them – and so the struggle continues as you manoeuvre:

  • Poaching – 20% of the study participants feel the skills shortage is leading to intense poaching, giving qualified candidates the luxury of choosing where and which projects they want to work on2.
  • Wages – Attracting and retaining talent will need dollars, fortunately 69% of companies state they are willing or very willing to compete and pay competitively for the limited resources2.
  • Waiting – However, even if you’re open to playing the salary game, be prepared that it’s going to take you a while to hunt down your new headcount. 25% of hiring managers find it can take more than three months to find the right candidate.
  • Cost-of-hire – Plus, when you consider the average cost-per hire in enterprises is $4,285, or 20% of annual salary (and even more in specialist roles), not having to recruit can represent a significant saving.

A hybrid approach to balance insourcing and outsourcing

Due to the cost, complexity and competition in securing cloud skills many organisation feel they’re left with two options – upskill existing staff or look externally for a partner to bridge your skills gap. Most organisations are choosing the later. In fact, 77% of enterprises are partnering with managed service providers (MSPs)2 to transform their legacy processes, meet changing consumer demands and seize disruptive opportunities. The most common approach for working with managed service providers is a hybrid-model where some specialised skills are outsourced to MSPs, while internal teams are upskilled to maintain business-critical services2.

Due to the cost, complexity and competition in securing cloud skills many organisation feel they’re left with two options - upskill existing staff or look externally for a partner to bridge your skills gap. Most organisations are choosing the later. In fact, 77% of enterprises are partnering with managed service providers (MSPs)2 to transform their legacy processes, meet changing consumer demands and seize disruptive opportunities. The most common approach for working with managed service providers is a hybrid-model where some specialised skills are outsourced to MSPs, while internal teams are upskilled to maintain business-critical services.

[Image source: OpsRamp, The OpsRamp Cloud Skills Survey.]

Cloud Managed Services from Data#3

In Data#3’s case, an increasing number of customers are seeking a Cloud Managed Service (CMS) for their cloud estate. We manage customers across every vertical and size, who have sought to partner for efficiency, while also working with our team to manage service levels and key performance indicators.

The types of Cloud Managed Services we are engaged to deliver are interesting. The request we get can align to traditional infrastructure outsourcing; ‘take the entire IaaS estate and just manage it for me’ to specific services or solutions within Azure. For example, a financial services organisation has engaged Data#3 to back-stop their Azure DevOps team from governance and higher-level expertise. We have visibility to their CI/CD (continuous integration, continuous delivery) pipeline and can support their projects either on-site or remotely. Other customers have sought out Data#3 to provide support for their data estate in Azure, ensuring the services are rightsized, protected and available.

Azure Resolve

We built the Data#3 Azure Resolve suite of Cloud Managed Services in response to these customer requests, with six specific domains. Customers can engage Data#3 for a complete Cloud Managed Service, or select specific services such as Cost Management for their cloud estate. Cost Management is a common request from customers who struggle to unpack their Azure bill and allocate costs internally for chargeback. This service we’ve noticed growing in demand, from our Azure Health Checks we’ve found that a staggering 75% of customers are paying too much for Azure. Of those customers, some are overpaying by as much as 70%4.

Data<sup>#</sup>3 Microsoft Azure Cloud Managed Services

Data#3’s Azure Resolve Cloud Managed Services (CMS) is a total solution that supports Microsoft Azure. Our specialised resources have an in-depth understanding and strong track record of delivering cloud solutions to customers across a broad range of industries. Data#3 is uniquely positioned in Australia to build, manage and operate your cloud solution and can help you realise both short and long-term benefits from your cloud deployment, such as:

  • Alignment of strategy to technology solutions through our Business Aspect consulting team
  • Provisioning services in an automated, rapid manner with alignment to your budgetary goals
  • Ongoing management of cloud spend that supports scalability and agility
  • Security & compliance services to ensure ongoing assurance
  • Free up resources to focus on strategic initiatives
  • Ongoing support of connection through strategy, build, manage, operate & continuous improvement

Data#3 is Microsoft’s largest Australian partner, and has unparalleled competencies in Azure, software licencing, system integration and managed services. As a Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform partner, our Cloud Migration Framework has been proven to successfully guide and support customers throughout their end-to-end Azure journey – from understanding and planning, to operating and optimising. Data#3 has also been selected by Microsoft to provide Azure Migration services as part of Microsoft’s Modernisation Factory in AU Central.

If you are struggling to build, manage and operate your cloud environment, get in touch with the team at Data#3 today.

 


1. IDC, Inc. (October, 2018). IDC Reveals Worldwide CIO Agenda 2019 Predictions. [Online] Available at: https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS44420918
2. OpsRamp, Inc. (2018). The OpsRamp Cloud Skills Survey. [Online] Available at: https://www.opsramp.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/ReportThe-OpsRamp-Cloud-Skills-Survey.pdf
3. 451 Research. (2018). Innovations in Security Can Supplement IT Skills Shortage. [Online] Available at: https://view.attach.io/HJfXrNj6X
4. Data#3 data gathered from 100 customer Azure Health Checks between 2018-2019

Tags: Cloud, Microsoft, Microsoft Azure, Managed Services, Cloud Management, Outsourcing

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