What shifts in business and work will result from the growth of cloud computing? Is the cloud an incremental change that will only translate to small differences, or is the cloud radical enough to usher in wholesale changes?
Its too early to say for certain. However, here are five ways the cloud is already changing business and work.
Fortunately, the TechAmerica Foundation believes that the worst of the economic downturn is over, noting that tech companies added 30,200 IT jobs in the first half of 2010.
Recovery or not, certain types of IT jobs will almost certainly disappear. If your email is in the cloud, for instance, you dont need to keep an IT worker on staff whose sole task is keeping Exchange up and running. At the same time, IT automation and cloud computing are displacing low-level mundane IT jobs.
As Chris Weitz, Director of Deloitte Consulting, pointed out, over the past couple of decades, the trend in IT has also been for employees to specialize into niches. Youre a Unix guy or a database administrator or a system administrator, he said That level of specialization is already fading away. The changing nature of IT demands a broader skill set.
The quarterly IT Hiring Index and Skills Report from Robert Half Technology found that the IT skills most in demand right now are networking, information security and help desk/technical support.
Those skills, though, are ones that many organizations will outsource, if they havent already. According to Mark Popolano, former CIO at AIG and currently a Senior Advisor at Ineum Consulting, within five years, the typical CIO will only own about 25 percent of his or her IT workforce. The rest will be outsourced.
Obviously, this means that one important skill that you can acquire to protect your existing IT job is vendor management.
For security pros, these mini-PCs are a boon, much better than laptops and even netbooks. The key from a security standpoint is that cloud-based applications are accessed through the browser, said Rajen Sheth, group product manager for Google Apps. Smartphones dont store data locally, so if employees lose them, theyre not putting sensitive information at risk.
IT will be able to shake off concerns about data privacy, but theyll need solid identity management solutions in place. Once they do, workers will no longer be compelled to sit in the office in order to access key data and applications. Telecommuting, virtual offices and mobility will all trend upward on the cloud.
Of course, plenty of managers worry that social networking is draining productivity. Actually, the opposite is true, according to Shail Khiyara, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Taleo, a provider of on-demand talent management solutions.
One of our customers found that social networking greatly boosted productivity throughout the company, he said. What happens is that social networking strengthens your ecosystem. Weve seen this ourselves. We make social networking a key part of our own ecosystem. As a result, weve learned tons about what really matters to our customers.