Rise of the Machines: Cloud impact on traditional ICT Jobs (Part II)

storm-clouds-south-dakota_23945_990x742As the use of Cloud, ICT’s version of Robosourcing, increases, the change on the New Zealand ICT Industry also increases. In the previous blog, I examined the impact of Cloud on the New Zealand ICT industry in a little more detail. In this blog, I look at the likely impact on traditional ICT roles and strategies to over the next three years for each to adapt.

While it seems grim, you must remember that changes will not happen overnight, and we have some time then to adapt.

In addition, there will be a number of new roles and adapted roles that rise through the change.

Title Prospect Notes
Business Analysts Good Regardless of the solution, the Business Analyst is always going to be required to gather requirements and keep projects and initiatives honest.

Cloud introduces a new technical solution and service delivery model, however it does not change the fact that business requirements must be understood.

Advice: A good understanding of the Cloud will give you an edge with customers.

Chief Information Officer Depends The CIO role is rapidly evolving from one of the traditional Senior ICT Manager to one of a broker for the business. CIO’s that embrace the change and move to a Service Delivery Model, brokering the supply and purchase of ICT Services to a company will be in high demand. Those who don’t will find opportunities limited.

Advice: Understand the ICT Service Organisation Business Models.

Chief Technology Officer At risk The CTO role is seen as a senior manager that is focussed on technology solutions for the customer base. They are more interested in creative technology solutions that see ICT as a differentiator as opposed to an enabler (unless in Government).

Because Cloud sees the rise of the “as a service model”, which focusses on business output and brokering as opposed to technology solutions, this position is at risk.

Advice: The CTO can move to a CIO role, noting the move to a brokerage service, or to utilising their specific skill sets to providing leadership and advice around integration of various “as a service” and Cloud offerings with existing ICT services inside an organisation. If it is the second, seek to teach yourself how to move legacy systems from in-house to the Cloud. This will teach the complexity of integration and give you an advantage.

Enterprise Architects Excellent When your ICT assets and services are going to scattered all over the globe you’re going to need to keep track of them and guide the transformation.

Advice: There are some great books around on Cloud Architecture and how it relates to traditional Architecture models, more every week, start educating yourself. In addition, ban the word “no” and the phrase “it can’t be done” from your vocabulary. Business needs to be guided however they want to be listened to. Trusted advisor status is key.

ICT Operations Manager At risk The traditional ICT Operations Manager is at risk because that role is quickly absorbed and made by Cloud Service Providers.

The need for an on the ground manager to look after infrastructure, event management, assets, capital investment, and other older disciplines is replaced.

Advice: Time for a career change. Given your experience with operations, an integration role, or consultant to transition projects and programmes is a natural fit.

Network anything Excellent Within the next two years the amount of pure Cloud traffic globally will increase twelvefold. Networking continues to be a black art that the entire Cloud movement is critically reliant on. Good network design is king.

Advice: Understand the peculiar characteristics that Cloud traffic needs to traverse networks. Join a Telco now and start working with their Cloud teams. Put your hourly rate up.

Programme & Project Managers Good As companies embrace the move to Cloud and “as a service” models they will require competent change skills to manage the transition. Programme & Project Manager’s with Technology Transformation experience and Cloud Transition will have a definitive advantage over those who don’t.

Advice: Gain experience in Cloud transition work, implementation of Service Delivery Models, and any other ICT transformational (organisation) programmes and projects.

Security Specialists Excellent If there is one thing that gets people more excited about anything else when it comes to Cloud, it’s Security.

Companies need practical advice and consulting on how to adopt services securely.

Advice: Seek specific experience with Cloud service transition, understand that Cloud offers significant security enhancements (in the majority of cases), and put your hourly rate up.

Solution Architects At risk A little like the CTO this role is at risk. The days of custom solutions for in-house infrastructure are slowing as Cloud dominates.

Advice: Cloud integrators are scarce as hen’s teeth as are solutions architects who can build hybrid cloud models. Retrain in Cloud architecture.

Testers At risk This role is being outsourced to overseas organisations and robots, slowly but surely. Even the haven of legacy applications in large companies and enterprises will not save you as eventually it will end in the Cloud.

Advice: A career change is in order. Consider paths from your role to architecture or anything, really.

Developers Depends Traditional software development will slowly fade away and be replaced by straight Cloud based development or platforms that are housed on Cloud.

Advice: There is a resurgence in Development on Cloud platforms. Understand what is likely to survive the next few years and what is likely to fall by the wayside.

Business Intelligence Excellent If there is one thing that is a certainty, it’s the rise and rise of Big Data and its analytics engines. What we see is in a falling economy companies starting to try and extract the most value they can using Big Data in an effort to drive efficiencies and create a better bottom line.

Cloud powers BI given its massively scalable nature and inexpensive disc. Many customers are starting to move BI into the Cloud because it shortens the run times and you only pay for what you use. Having a massive BI infrastructure in-house is now only necessary for extremely niche applications (stock market).

Advice: Most Cloud providers allow you to setup and utilise base services for nothing or a period of time for free. Start experimenting.

Database Administrators At risk The in-house Database Administrator is likely to see a decline as systems are standardised and moved into the Cloud. Automated services will increase the ratio of DBAs to Databases.

Advice: Begin the transition to BI.

Sales of anything At risk The days of multi-million dollar infrastructure and software sales are over. Customers will be able to switch on and switch off services at will. Worse, the shrinking social world allows for sales to be made anywhere, anytime, for anything.

Advice: Understand the Cloud offerings that are available and consider your options. Start tracking sales trends for various sectors of ICT (consulting is rising as an example) and pick the trending winners. Retrain and move. Look for companies that are Cloud agnostic, brokers, aggregators, with a strong reputation for integrating those services for customers.

Server Administrators At risk As I’ve noted before the ratio of Systems Administrators to servers is increasing dramatically. Six months ago it was 1:500. Today, it is estimated to be 1:1000. The SA is a role that faces extinction except for the most niche of services.

Advice: Start to move toward an integrator role. Most SA’s are not only skilled at managing servers, but understand the surrounding infrastructure, the underlying network, and the database and application layers above. Integration architecture of Cloud services is the most logical place for the SA to move.

Service Desk Operators At risk Still the entry level position for the bulk of ICT workers this role is likely to devolve for several reasons. The increased automation of basic processes, such as password resets, followed by the ability for users to deploy and manage their own applications on their own devices by company in-house App stores will lower the need for human intervention.

Advice: Don’t expect to start your career in ICT with Service Desk, however if offered, it is still worth a couple of years of your time. Train yourself in the use of Social Media, all popular applications, because there is a current move to support being supplied via Social Media as an interface. Talk to a career advisor about best entry options into the ICT industry, remembering that network is one thing that is going to become increasingly important. For the long termers, remember that there is a massive bubble of older people who really struggle with technology. If you have your heart set on Service Support, consider options such as “Dial a Geek” type services or assisting small to medium business.

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