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3 Valuable IT Skills new IT Professionals Should have in IT as a Service

What are the skills needed by the new IT professional who helps the organisation transition to IT-as-a-Service ? In order to lead their organisations to the cloud, IT professionals must focus on three fundamental areas:

Core Virtualisation Skill Sets. IT professionals must think and operate in the virtual world. No longer can they be tied to the old paradigm of physical assets dedicated to specific users or applications. They must think in terms of “services” riding on top of a fully virtualized infrastructure, and how applications will take advantage of shared resources with both servers and storage. This requires comprehensive skills in both server and storage virtualization technology, and enough experience as a practitioner to understand the intricacies and critical elements of managing virtual platforms.

Rules of Old IT and New IT:
Cross-training Competency. Leaders of IT innovation cannot be completely siloed and hyper-focused. Although there will still be a need for deep domain expertise, the architects who lead the transition must have broad skills. They must understand enough about security, networking, storage, servers, databases, and applications to develop a vision and look at infrastructure holistically. As infrastructure is deployed and managed, these lead architects will then consult with, and rely on domain experts. To broaden their skills, it will be necessary for IT professionals to invest time in acquiring skills in fields adjacent to their own.

Business Skills. IT professionals will take on the role of business advisors and, in some ways, “brokers” of services. They must collaborate with line-of-business and application owners, guiding the discussion to answer the questions “Where should this workload run?” “Cloud or dedicated?” “Public? Private? Hybrid?” The new architect will be part technologist, part product manager, and part salesperson, helping assess needs and guiding end-users to the appropriate technology solution for a set of business requirements. The requirements include not only communication and customer service skills, but also business analytics and finance, in order to align the right solution to end-user budgets.

With these skills serving as the foundation for cloud computing leadership, it is more critical than ever that companies hire this talent or invest the time and money to develop it internally. However, organizational changes will be just as critical as evolving the skills within the IT organization.

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