There are many benefits to using cloud BPM services, not least of which is quick and easy access to innovative, best-of-breed IT solutions and enabling better control and management of IT budgets, while enhancing geographical mobility.
However, according to Alexander Mehlhorn, CEO of Exclr8, a South African-based company that specialises in developing solutions for automating business processes in the cloud, despite the clear advantages of cloud technology for BPM solutions, many businesses are not yet ready to move because they do not fully understand what the cloud is or how it works.
“Many people believe that simply being online, or utilising a hosted system, is being in the cloud, but that’s not the case. The cloud offers a totally different way of doing things; it is totally accessible and allows businesses to reach a far wider audience than ever before,” he says.
Dr Mariana Carroll, founder of a specialist IT consulting and training firm, Mariana Carroll Consulting, agrees. She points out that a recent ITWeb survey indicates that only around 30% of businesses have taken the plunge and moved to cloud.
“There are multiple questions around security, control, the viability of cloud solutions, how to manage cloud-environments, dealing with complexities, legacy, etc. However, an even bigger concern is – that the CIOs do not have resources with the right skills to ask the right questions or deal with these complexities,” she explains.
“So CIOs continue to battle with their highly complex, legacy IT systems which are not equipped to deal with the demands of business for agility, innovation, efficiency and cost-cutting. They know they need to deliver bigger, better and faster solutions; they know they need to find ways to enable the business become more customer-centric; and they have heard that the cloud could provide the solution – but they remain wary.”
Mehlhorn says that traditionally, CIOs would require their IT people to be trained but this is changing. “What is needed is to train the decision-makers. There is an urgent need to train from the top down, to understand the type of people the IT team needs to make technologies like cloud work effectively,” he adds.
However, Carroll says, in addition to equipping IT management with knowledge they need to adopt new technologies, technical cloud skills remain an exceptionally scarce commodity. Back in 2012, a study by analyst IDC, commissioned by Microsoft, found that 1.7 million cloud computing jobs were unfilled across the globe, and predicted that by 2015 there would be 7 million unfilled vacancies.
“There is nothing to suggest that this prediction was incorrect. If anything, the shortage of cloud skills has increased. It is therefore essential that IT teams within organisations are upskilled, and that the right people with the right skills are placed in the right positions within those organisations,” she continues.
“This does not mean throwing any and every kind of cloud training at all members of the IT team. It’s essential to develop a cloud strategy and roadmap that is practical and aligned to real business needs. Only then can the type of cloud training that is needed be identified.”