Do you need a cloud strategist for your migration? Most firms don’t think so

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Despite the vast majority of companies looking to expand their cloud infrastructure over time, only 14% of respondents in a NuoDB survey said they had a specific cloud strategist to oversee it.

60% of the 200 plus respondents at the Cloud Expo and AWS re:Invent events said they saw cloud as one of their companies’ top three business or IT initiatives, yet seem happy enough for their current IT team to take charge of their cloud migration projects.

This is seen as particularly interesting given other survey data which shows a mix between private, public, and hybrid cloud deployment. More than half of small to medium, mid market and enterprise businesses are using public cloud, with hybrid and private garnering more than a quarter of share. Only 4% of firms polled said they had no plans to deploy cloud solutions.

As a result, the chief technical officer (CTO) is often the primary driver in developing a cloud strategy with more than 25% of companies citing it. The CIO, IT director, and chief architect also have important roles to play, according to the report – and the researchers sound alarm bells at this perceived lack of leadership.

“Making the move [to cloud] is among the most important initiatives for most of the respondents to this survey,” the report argues. “Cloud has advanced from the cautious consideration stage to the actively planning or already arrived stages.”

So what could be driving these trends? Executives argue the ‘cloud skills gap’, of businesses searching for cloud computing talent that isn’t there, is still prevalent. Interoute CTO Matthew Finnie, speaking to CloudTech back in May, contended the gap was getting bigger.

Research from Reconnix released last month found the majority (82%) of UK IT leaders said they were not fully ready to move to IaaS providers because of a lack of in-house skills – so is a head of cloud needed?

The head of cloud, or cloud strategist role, certainly shoulders a lot of responsibility. A job description notes the organisation who hires a director of cloud computing “will depend on this person’s vision implementation.”

Yet in other technology disciplines, a hegemonic structure is not encouraged. Cathal McGloin, the CEO of mobile backend as a service provider FeedHenry, told sister site Enterprise AppsTech in September his view that a ‘head of mobility’ doesn’t work as effectively today when organisations choose to mobilise their workforce.

“You see a trend towards mobile centres of excellence, traditional IT emerge, rather than appointing somebody to be mobile, and having that somebody separate from your head of IT, your marketing officer and so on,” he said. “So now it’s more part of the ordinary business rather than being a standalone.”

But do you think the same thing is happening with cloud computing?