Cloud signifies skills change for IT pros, Citrix says

30 Jun 2011

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Moves towards cloud computing will require IT professionals to change their skills, according to Citrix.

Some extreme interpretations of what the cloud could mean is that the role of IT professional will become obsolete because, by definition, the model moves the heavy lifting from the customer to a data centre run by a third party.

Fraser Kyne, technology specialist with Citrix Ireland, UK and South Africa, said that it doesn’t do away with IT roles but he believes the new information systems professional will need to develop a different skill set that includes the ability to manage service level agreements, relationships and purchasing.

“We’re going to see a transition from the IT department to the IS department. It sounds like semantics but it’s not. They’re less worried about wires and boxes and thinking more about services the business needs,” he told Siliconrepublic.com.

“Integration skills will be where it’s at, and people will just shift their skills,” Kyne said, adding that this transition is more likely to happen over time. Few organisations will take the view that moving to the cloud is an ‘all or nothing’ gambit.

Instead, he believes it will involve a workload-centric approach – “putting things in the cloud that make sense” – such as email or software development and test. This is a tactical way of solving specific business problems, he says.

“Very few things are going to be 100pc cloud. Like any wave of computing, it doesn’t replace the others, it goes on top,” said Kyne, who pointed out that mainframes are still running years after their predicted demise.

Cloud by stealth

Organisations will also find that cloud is coming in by stealth, because growing numbers of employees will choose the services they want to use in work and many of these are cloud-based by nature. “Many types of collaboration tools are born in the cloud. IT has to embrace all this stuff,” Kyne said.

While cloud may be still in its infancy in Ireland, Citrix believes the rate of uptake is no different to rates elsewhere in the EU. Kyne says there is a “realistic opportunity” for Ireland to become a European hub for cloud computing. “Places get a name for doing things if culturally it’s supported by industry and government,” said Kyne.

However, noises coming out of Government suggest a reluctance to embrace cloud computing. Kyne said making the country a cloud hub while the Government stops short of using the technology aren’t mutually exclusive options.

“The Government shouldn’t compromise the message around cloud computing but it can be selective. It can say to (other) organisations that there are opportunities, but manage the risks for itself while the technology matures,” he said.

Photo: Fraser Kyne, technology specialist with Citrix Ireland, UK and South Africa