The shortage of digital talent is one of the most persistent challenges many organizations face today while they are in varying stages of digital transformation. It was reported in a survey by OpsRamp that the skills gap is stifling innovation, impacting productivity, and derailing revenue growth. According to IDC Worldwide CIO Agenda 2019 Predictions, through 2022, the talent pool for emerging technologies will be inadequate to fill at least 30% of global demand, and effective skills development and retention will become differentiating strategies. As a marketplace that focuses on enabling organizations to upskill the workforce at scale and in the most flexible way, we are keen to explore this topic in depth. In the last of a three-part article, we were lucky to be able to interview a panel of three cloud training experts. In part 1, they explained what they see as the critical cloud skills that IT Pros should possess. In part 2, they talked about the barriers they have seen in developing cloud skills. Now in this final part, they outlined the recommendations on how to address the cloud skills gap effectively. 

Mark O'Loughlin
Mark O’Loughlin 
Managing Director CCC, Owner Red Circle Strategies, Author, Keynote, Digital Strategist & Transformer

Organizations need to examine and understand the readiness of their people, staff, workforce, management, and leaders, etc. This includes an examination of the culture within both the IT function and throughout the organisation itself. There is no point in having highly scalable, agile and elastic IT and business services if the IT function and the organisation itself are not agile and is tethered to bureaucratic and siloed processes and ways of working. What is gained in technical agility is lost in organizational bureaucracy.

Our analysis highlights a gap whereby organizations have not considered, developed, nor adopted strategies to address how to bring about changes in their culture including attitude and behavioral changes from their staff. Furthermore, organisations may be lacking in a comprehensive and appropriately funded plan and approach to upskilling their workforce. It is evident that when new and disruptive technology such as cloud and Digital IT comes along, there will be a skills deficiency in the marketplace. It takes time for the global labor market to catch-up, re-train, re-skill and re-develop their capabilities and competences. This period of time can be considered as the Learning-Gap.

New technologies, including all things of a digital nature, will lead to new levels of task automation. This happens with every new technology event. This current wave of digital disruption, digital transformation, and digital optimization will see many current manual tasks becoming automated. It is expected that some current roles and jobs will become displaced or even obsolete. However, that does not mean the individual has to become displaced or obsolete. The opportunity today is for individuals and organizations to upskill, re-skill and retrain for new jobs and roles which develop as a result of all this digital change. The power should be with the people if the people are (1) willing, (2) capable driven to change, and (3) can learn and adapt to today’s changing workplace.

Kat Turner
Kat Turner
Education Portfolio Manager at ITSM Zone

Upskilling is one of the best ways to retain staff and add value to an organization, it is also more cost-effective than employing new staff. When teams receive the correct training and support, they experience higher job satisfaction and the business is able not only to retain key knowledge but go on to develop autonomous, highly effective teams. There are various ways organizations can upskill. One way is through peer mentoring. Mentoring and coaching are cost-efficient ways of developing talent and increasing productivity. Sessions could be scheduled with a more senior team member teaching skills to other team members, or alternatively, a senior team member could be paired up to observe a more junior member who has been given more responsibility. To create a culture of upskilling in the enterprise it is good practice to recruit some champions who are motivated and keen to learn new skills. This will help to create trust in the changes an enterprise is wanting to embed and adding an incentive can be a positive motivator too.

eLearning is a cost-effective and versatile way to upskill teams and does not involve having to block book training time or bring in trainers as with traditional classroom delivery. This means that teams can learn in bite-size portions on the job and fit their training around their schedules. But eLearning doesn’t mean quality has to be compromised, with a 24 hour helpline and tutor support, ways to track the progress of teams, and downloadable materials such as study guides and exercises, ITSM Zone’s Cloud Computing Foundation is just one of the courses that can help organizations upskill effectively and enable IT professionals to get the right training.

Cloud Computing can enable an organization to become agile, efficient and competitive, taking advantage of the elastic, flexible and automated environment. Cloud certification can be instrumental in a professional’s career growth as they can gain many sought-after skills that are in high demand, making them an asset to the business. Certification can be the basis on which to build cloud knowledge and apply these tools in the working environment.  There is no substitute for getting hands-on experience, but a foundation level qualification can be an important and necessary first step on a career path. Cloud Computing is the future, but it is also already here in the present, so being certified will enable professionals to stay at the cutting edge of the employment market and not be left behind.

Jean-Francois Bilodeau
Jean-François Bilodeau
Senior Technical Trainer at Web Age Solutions

There are three things that an organization can do to upskill their teams:

1. Training Nothing beats classroom training to bring staff up to speed on emerging technology. Having a competent, experienced instructor walking a group through cloud capabilities opens the eyes to cloud computing. Getting dirty with hands-on practice in a sandbox environment is essential to ensure that staff is given a chance to experience and experiment with the new capabilities of the cloud.

2. Mentoring Having a mentor, acting as a coach, present and available, ready to advise and answer questions is a significant enabler to teams migrating to cloud technologies. A good mentor should be able to echo the strategic objectives laid out by the CIO and provide guidance as teams ramp up their cloud computing skills.

3. Certification Passing an exam requires in-depth knowledge of a subject matter. It’s not the act of passing the exam that’s important, but the study required. Passing an exam is a good demonstration of having dedicated the time and effort to build the necessary skills associated with a product. Today, there are many cloud certifications available for just about any skill set.

We hope you find these recommendations insightful. We want to thank our panel of experts in providing us some excellent suggestions to help organizations upskill their employees in new technologies,

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