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A State of Cloud Learning report published by A Cloud Guru, a provider of training services, suggests the rate at which organizations want to move application workloads to the cloud is exceeding the abilities of their internal IT teams.

More than 80 percent of survey respondents said a lack of internal skills and knowledge is the top barrier to cloud success and only 56 percent said they have an actionable plan to up-skill their workforce. However, more than three-quarters of respondents responsible for IT training identified the hardest part about guiding employees through cloud training is balancing competing priorities that stem from their existing duties.

Based on an analysis of three million hours of its usage data collected from its platform, as well as a survey of 26,000 IT employees and managers, the report makes it clear there is an obvious cloud void for managed service providers (MSPs) to fill. Despite the current skills shortage, 90 percent of IT leaders surveyed expect to expand their cloud services in the next one to three years. Nearly three quarters (71 percent) of IT leaders said they credit cloud adoption with accelerating time-to-value for new products and features.

The report also suggests organizations are gearing up to employ even more cloud computing platforms. Nearly 70 percent of respondents confirmed their organization is currently employing multiple cloud platforms. Further, more than 70 percent of IT administrators identified AWS as the primary cloud platform used within their organization, while Azure and GCP were identified as the primary cloud platform less than 10 percent of the time.

AWS experience was most common among respondents, with more than 80 percent having trained on it, followed by Azure (35 percent) and GCP (30 percent). However, ACG notes that in June it saw Azure training time increase nearly 800 percent year-over-year, compared to an increase of 50-100 percent for AWS and Google Cloud. When asked which cloud providers individuals planned to train on in the future, Azure jumped out with a narrow 54 percent lead.

Azure experience could be most valuable

Competition among MSPs that have AWS expertise is already fierce, so Azure may represent a better growth opportunity. It may be a long time before Microsoft achieves cloud parity with AWS, but in terms of driving revenue growth it’s often the fastest growing platform that matters most to MSPs.

It doesn’t look like internal IT teams will be able to service all the demand for cloud expertise within their organizations any time soon, especially as the rate at which application workloads are moving to the cloud accelerates in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. MSPs that can demonstrate expertise across multiple cloud computing platforms should be worth their weight in proverbial gold when they offer competitive, but fair, pricing. End customers may cry poor but there’s no reason cloud expertise should be viewed similarly. The cloud platform itself is the commodity, not the skills required to run it.

Demand for cloud computing expertise should continue to outstrip supply for the foreseeable future. Savvy MSPs would do well to remember that most internal IT teams are struggling just to keep what is already running in a data center running. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for them to also become a cloud computing expert. Until that situation changes, MSPs should be able to continue to price their services at a premium.

Photo: Alones / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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