Why enterprises are creating a self-induced skills gap despite strong cloud appetite

Enterprises have a serious appetite to move their resources to the cloud at one level – but a lack of skills and resistance to change from some quarters is holding organisations back.

That’s the key finding from new research from global cloud provider Skytap. The study, in conjunction with 451 Research, may have many rolling their eyes in a manner suggesting they have seen it before – yet it still proves companies are not getting to grips with the change.

More than two thirds (67%) of the 450 C-level and director-level technology leaders polled said they planned to migrate or modernise at least half of their on-premises applications in the next 12-24 months. Yet half (49%) said they wanted to go about migrating to the cloud through refactoring or rewriting applications – the strategies that require the highest degree of IT skill. As the report puts it, organisations are ‘their own worst enemy.’

Part of this is down to the lure of hyperscale cloud providers. Two in three respondents say they use one or more of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Google or IBM Cloud. Yet the report argues this form of cloud modernisation – focusing predominantly on the front-end – neglects the engine room, the enterprise data centre, where gnarled, complex, ERP and CRM apps live. They’re critical to the business, but more importantly, they’re ill-suited for cloud environments.

This may end up explaining a certain amount of apathy among organisations polled. More than half (55%) of respondents said their most critical recruiting need was ‘people capable of migrating existing applications to the cloud’, while a similar number (54%) said ‘internal resistance to change’ was key to holding their firm back from modernisation.

All things considered, the key point of the research is a simple one: don’t believe anyone who tells you that cloud is done, at least in the enterprise. Enterprise approaches continue to be haphazard – a ‘myriad of difficult choices exacerbated by urgent skills needs and the significant challenges created by traditional but mission-critical applications left in the data centre’, as the company puts it.

“Cloud is often overhyped and simplified, while modernisation and digital transformation can be even more vague,” said Brad Schick, Skytap CTO. “Our study cuts through to clarify the fact that technological change is hard and is being further aggravated by cookie-cutter approaches to cloud adoption.

“We want to be part of a conversation that gives enterprises clear choices to manage change and progressive modernise without burning everything to the ground,” added Schick.

You can find out more and read the report here.