The course is part of this learning path
This module focuses on the business implications of the cloud by looking at the cost considerations, the important security and legal factors and the implications for people management.
The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of:
- The key cost and cost-management implications of cloud services.
- The important implications for organizations in relation to contracts, strategy, structures and personnel.
- The opportunities for organizations in deploying cloud services in relation to managing people, staff development and mobility.
The course is aimed at anybody who needs a basic understanding of what the cloud is, how it works and the important considerations for using it.
Although not essential, before you complete this course it would be helpful if you have a basic understanding of server hardware components and what a data center is.
We welcome all feedback and suggestions - please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think.
It can be challenging for an organization to adopt a different way of providing their technology. Not only will the hardware and software set-up be different, and need managing in a different way, but some people might not welcome the change and feel insecure about their role or even their position in the organization.
So, alongside the technical changes, the effect on the IT team and the other people in the organization needs to be acknowledged and proactively managed.
The IT transition period can be unsettling and affect people across the business – whether they’re involved in the change project or they’re simply affected by it. Communication is important to keep people informed throughout the change process.
If individuals think they’re being kept in the dark then they can feel insecure and uncertain. A more positive approach is to regularly communicate to groups and individuals, explaining how the cloud migration will affect them personally whilst offering reassurance and reinforcing the benefits of the new approach.
Regular communication provides opportunities for individuals to ask questions, provide feedback, and suggest ideas which will help them engage and feel a part of the change process.
One of the biggest concerns for individuals – especially in the IT Team – is a reduction in head count as a result of outsourcing some or all of the IT provision. Any reduction is likely to happen after implementation, rather than at the start and is probably going to be a fairly gradual process.
On the flipside, the new environment might also create new roles and open up opportunities for individuals in areas that will provide relevant skills for the future.
Roles and opportunities
Cloud adoption and migration will require people to help architect, implement and support the new environment and you would hope that the existing team will see this as positive. However, you might have a situation where there’s not much interest in cloud computing and the individuals don’t want to pursue this as their career path – they’d prefer a more technical, hands-on role.
Depending on the scale of the cloud adoption, an organization might need to create an entirely new team specifically to manage the cloud environment. But, even in this situation, additional people will be needed to manage residual in-house resources.
There's an unfortunate trade-off that sometimes comes with cloud computing, in that many of the services that were provided in-house can easily be replicated in the cloud, with a lot of the management and administration being done by the cloud provider. As a result, some roles within the organization become redundant.
One department that’s often affected is the data center team. Workloads will be migrated from the data center to the cloud and any future resource requests for services will be created within the cloud.
Although inevitably some people can re-train, the learning curve can be steep. Think of a data center architect who’s experienced in Cisco network design, Check Point Security, and Microsoft storage and backup solutions. In a cloud environment, these skills are not required in-house, and, although the data center architect understands the principles, these differ with cloud services.
Alongside retraining existing staff, additional expertise which doesn’t exist within the organization is likely to be required. This might be using a consultant to help manage the change process, or bringing in longer-term cloud management skills. Either way, the effect on the current team members should be considered.
Regular communication is critical here to ensure people understand the impact on them and what their options are.
As we touched on before, retraining individuals who understand the business, are trusted to do the work and fit in with the team is often easier than bringing in new people. The potential training need will stretch to individuals involved in implementation, management and operational support of the new infrastructure.
Training will need to happen well in advance of the implementation so the engineers have enough time to learn, understand, and become familiar with the technology before they start the full-scale migration. All of the cloud providers offer certifications for their technology stacks and it’s a good idea for relevant individuals to be certified before they implement the solution. Vendor-agnostic training covering the principles of cloud computing should run alongside this.
To make this training effective a skills analysis should be completed for the individuals involved where their strengths and development areas are identified. This will also highlight the different roles they might be suitable for – you never know, some might even have experience with cloud computing and knowledge of the cloud vendor products that you're going to use.
Just training new skills in the IT Team is not enough though. Everybody in the organization needs to understand what cloud computing is, why it’s being introduced, how it will work for them and what the security implications are.
One final point to mention. As you know, cloud services allow employees and customers to access data from anywhere in the world as long they have an Internet connection and security access authorization. This enables more flexibility around where individuals work – remote access and home working become more viable. The opportunities and implications of this will need to be managed.
A more mobile workforce also potentially enables talent to be sourced from a wider – perhaps worldwide – pool, facilitated by systems which are accessible anywhere, through the cloud.
There’s more information in the Resources guide about how QA can upskill your IT Team and help you manage change initiatives. You’ll find the link in the Cloud Literacy Resources.
About the Author
Daniel Ives has worked in the IT industry since leaving university in 1992, holding roles including support, analysis, development, project management and training. He has worked predominantly with Windows and uses a variety of programming languages and databases.
Daniel has been training full-time since 2001 and with QA since the beginning of 2006.
Daniel has been involved in the creation of numerous courses, the tailoring of courses and the design and delivery of graduate training programs for companies in the logistics, finance and public sectors.
Previous major projects with QA include Visual Studio pre-release events around Europe on behalf of Microsoft, providing input and advice to Microsoft at the beta stage of development of several of their .NET courses.
In industry, Daniel was involved in the manufacturing and logistics areas. He built a computer simulation of a £20million manufacturing plant during construction to assist in equipment purchasing decisions and chaired a performance measurement and enhancement project which resulted in a 2% improvement in delivery performance (on time and in full).