Threat to ICT jobs

Many more organisations in the local government are starting their move to at least hybrid provision of services. The path is pretty well etched now: ICT organisational restructuring -> Policy and Capability review (including data analysis and separation) -> TCO analysis -> Pilots / Migrations -> Integration -> Support and Management. This post is focused on the first part - the organisational restructuring, and the inevitable questions regarding ICT jobs that this brings. At least 3 of our clients have recently gone through or are undertaking an major ICT organisational restructure in light of their choice of cloud as a strategic direction. This is less traumatic than it otherwise could have been, as they are required to make budget cuts anyway, and with labour being the biggest part of any budget, it is obvious choice to make. Nonetheless, it is a grave mistake to equal the simple reduction across the broad range of ICT skills, with the restructuring and change required by the cloud strategy.

Firstly, cloud strategy requires refocusing from Infrastructure Support and Delivery to Service:

Before 70% were keeping the lights on, 30% of managers / project managers were interacting with customers / users (helpdesk is included in the 70%). As a result, there was simply not enough bandwidth to be able to train the business lines or teach them how to use ICT more effectively, or indeed perform all of the projects they require.

Secondly, entirely new skills will be in demand for the cloud strategy:

  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Understanding of key Cloud technologies and platforms
  • Security and Compliance in infrastructure free environment
  • Application testing and analysis
  • Project Management – ALL staff will need to have the skills to manage projects in order to run the short term pilots.
  • Systems Integration and Data Migration
  • Business Analysis Skills to match requirements to solutions
  • Detailed Understanding of council business strategy and working
  • Business Transformation
  • Change Management
  • Procurement – Contract & supplier management
  • Service desk re-skilling to interface with suppliers with loose SLA

In summary, there are multiple additional requirements on the ICT organisation, to replace the ones that become redundant with the full move to the cloud. In a full cloud strategy, appropriate training and support have to be included in order to ensure that the skills are available in time. Existing ICT employees might appreciate that the transformation programme is a significant opportunity to learn the skill that will be in huge demand for years to come, instead of a technical skill (such as server management for example), that is becoming increasingly rare in the cloud world. A simple analogy is readily available from 30 years ago as the world has moved from mainframe to PC. ICT professionals who re-qualified to PC skill sets early, have enjoyed a huge boost to their career, even if it meant they have moved organisations. The move to a cloud skill set can be seen as strategic move in exactly the same way.