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How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption

Most organizations aren’t ready to be dependent on the cloud because they don’t have the necessary knowledge and talent.

Last week at a cloud session at Interop, Brian Butte, chief architect, financial services for AT&T, polled a room full of IT professionals, asking how many of them have back-end platforms that are less than 10 years old. Only three hands went up in the room of 25 or so.

“We’ve all got stuff that we’ve needed to change for years… by not changing them, we’re entrenching our past mistakes and limitations into the future,” Butte told the crowd.

Not only is transformation needed in back end platforms, but business models need to change to, Butte said. “Most systems are still based on a 1-800 inbound number. Customers now are interacting with businesses in new ways. They are using mobile apps, email, chat and social media,” Butte noted.

[See Related: How Banks Can Adopt the Cloud Securely]

Businesses need to change to accommodate these communication channels, and the cloud will enable that change, according to Butte. “The cloud is the platform that e-business tools are being built on… your mobile, your social media, your real-time analytics, they will all run on the cloud,” he explained.

For instance, the cloud is the best platform to enable a truly mobile-first strategy, Butte said. The agility and the flexibility of the cloud will help organizations deal with the necessity of constantly optimizing and releasing new versions of their apps for different operating systems, he pointed out.

But most organizations right now don’t have the necessary talent to be so dependent on the cloud, Butte said. “The biggest problem in the cloud today is that the pace of innovation is outstripping our expertise,” he told the audience.

And gaining that expertise is difficult without greater collaboration across organizations. One banking IT professional explained to Butte that keeping developers on the same page is his organization’s biggest challenge in the cloud, Butte related. When one developer figures something out, the tools need to be in place to share that knowledge across the organization, or else each individual and team will have to figure everything out on their own, Butte explained. Some IT organizations might not feel secure in using some third-party collaboration tools to disseminate new knowledge through the organization, but without them it will take much longer to move to the cloud, Butte remarked.

Butte also drew a line between the lack of necessary skills for enterprise cloud adoption and the current immigration situation in the U.S. Last year it took months for all of the H-1B visas available for foreign workers to be claimed, Butte noted, where as in 2007 it only took days. “Developers in China, India and Eastern Europe are staying there now,” he shared. “We are going to have get a lot better in targeted recruiting and training [for talent].”

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
10/9/2013 | 2:03:47 PM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
I suppose the issue goes much deeper than his remark. Is the US losing these workers to better opportunities abroad, or are we setting up too many expensive hoops to acquire a H-1B visa? Either way, this is startling, and worth resolving.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
10/9/2013 | 1:59:09 PM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
I've thought about this as well. I can't remember the last time I've hooked up a hard drive to backup files, all my trust is with Apple's cloud. I fully expect to recover those files in 10+ years, even after I've forgotten I have it at all. It's difficult to imagine how much dormant data is being held by Apple..
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
10/9/2013 | 11:56:38 AM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
Thanks for the clarification, Brian. We'll update the article.
BBUTTE3799
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BBUTTE3799,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/9/2013 | 2:21:03 AM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
I need to correct a statement I made at InterOp regarding H-1B visas. I was incorrect stating 2012 visas were not claimed. What I had meant to say was last year the total number of visas were not claimed for several months (June), whereas in 2007 the total was claimed within a few days. I apologize for the inaccuracy and misstatement.

Brian Butte 10/8/2013
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/8/2013 | 6:33:47 PM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
That decline could stem from a variety of things: better opportunities in other markets, fewer opportunities in US, concerns about US immigration regulations (and those could be concerns on the part of US companies or concerns among non-US-based workers), budget/resource restrictions that are shifting hiring/spending to other areas, etc. Regardless of the cause, it's a looming problem.
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
10/8/2013 | 12:01:33 PM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
Surprised about his last point; if we are becoming unable to attract quality developer from India ad Eastern Europe that is a problem, these are the kind of skilled workers we need.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
10/8/2013 | 10:13:13 AM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
Ha! Yes, running a server farm in the bedroom is never a good idea. There's a constant hum and your electricity bill will spike! LOL
IvySchmerken
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IvySchmerken,
User Rank: Author
10/8/2013 | 3:13:05 AM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
At Interop, Verizon Terremark's executive said that cloud customers on the enterprise side are becoming more sophisticated and precise about specifying what they need exactly. He was speaking mainly about provisioning servers and bandwidth and less about developing software to run in the cloud. Even so, cloud deployments are growing, even though the skills are hard to find.
Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
10/7/2013 | 9:18:16 PM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
The cloud-mobile nexus is really gaining steam. I was thinking about it the other day when I had to upgrade the OS on my home computer. I needed to make some room, so I went into iTunes and deleted every TV show I had purchased. It was safe, because Apple saves my license to all those shows and I can download them directly to my iPad now instead of having to download to my computer, then sync. That's a lot of trust to put into Apple, but I have little choice Gă÷ pictures of my kid are taking up an ever-increasing amount of my home storage infrastructure, and I have to depend on the cloud to store some of my digital property so I don't have to run a server farm in my bedroom.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
10/7/2013 | 8:54:44 PM
re: How Lack of Expertise Is Hampering Cloud Adoption
Very true Kathy, and that is becoming a difficult dilemma. On the one hand CEO's and CFO's want IT to be innovative and cost-effective, which is where the cloud can be a big boon. But in order to be cost-effective with the cloud, first the investment that you're talking about has to be made.
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