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A survey of more than 900 technologists and leaders in the United States, Europe, Australia, and India conducted by Pluralsight, a provider of an online platform for learning IT skills, finds that nearly two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) are working for organizations that employ multiple clouds. Still, only 9 percent report having any extensive experience with more than one cloud.

In theory, the skills shortage should create a massive gap for managed service providers (MSPs) to fill. However, nearly three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) said they expect to increase investments in developing cloud skills. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the most in-demand cloud skills (23 percent). The largest cloud skills gaps exist in data, analytics, engineering, and storage (42 percent), followed by security and governance (37 percent).

MSPs must demonstrate their cloud expertise

The challenge that MSPs face is convincing organizations to rely more on their expertise rather than investing in managing cloud infrastructure. That approach should most crucially enable those organizations to invest more time and resources in building and deploying applications.

In total, another 20 percent say they’re actively pursuing an additional cloud platform for their cloud environment, bringing the total percentage of respondents working for organizations with multiple clouds up to 85 percent, the survey finds.

However, just over a quarter (27 percent) said their cloud initiatives create more value for their customers. More than a third (35 percent) struggle to tie cloud skills to organizational outcomes.

The chances that those organizations will be able to adopt best practices for managing multiple clouds is virtually nil. In fact, the survey finds that only 20 percent of respondents work for organizations that have defined a cloud security strategy that includes a disaster recovery plan, service level agreements (SLAs), and cloud governance, while 28 percent are working to build them.

As budgets are increasing, successful migrations remain a challenge

Overall, 71 percent of respondents said they expect their cloud budgets to increase over the next 12 months. Nearly half of leaders adopt the latest features and services released by cloud providers as soon as they become available, while 42 percent wait until best practices for those services are established.

A total of 70 percent report that more than half of their infrastructure exists in the cloud, with nearly half (49 percent) noting they are actively moving more data to the cloud.

However, more than half (51 percent) said they are still trying to understand their on-premises environments while they actively migrate their legacy systems to the cloud. Only 13 percent of respondents said their organizations have successfully migrated and refactored all their legacy systems.

A full 80 percent admit they struggle to improve the performance and measurement of cloud systems, the survey finds.

The challenge MSPs face, as always, is pricing their services at a point where it doesn’t make economic sense for organizations to invest in hiring IT staff while still maintaining a healthy profit. That should be a relatively simple goal to accomplish, given the cost of labor. Still, as many organizations have a bias toward hiring internal IT staff versus relying on external service providers, MSPs need to make their offers especially compelling.

Photo: issaro prakalung / 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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