SMEs must deal with global digital skills gap by 2020
Advanced technology that allowed SMEs to expand rapidly is the same thing ‘stunting growth and creating a global skills gap’, according to a leading IT services provider.
Brett Moss, head of hyperscale at Ensono, says while the world’s biggest firms are able to cope, many others struggle to find the talent to fulfil their promise.
He says almost all companies must adopt some kind of public cloud hybridisation by 2020, or face being outstripped by tech-savvy competitors.
Based in Illinois, his company helps organisations utilise new technology in order to innovate and deliver better services.
“Everybody has got a different bit of a case, but that skills gap is very, very prevalent right now,” Moss said.
“Companies want to move faster, but the skills gap is forcing them to stay where they are, unless they find the right partner or skill-up really quick.
“It has been caused by a few things. One of them is the speed to market.
“AWS and public cloud providers are changing rapidly, so if you’re not on the cutting edge of what you’re doing, or you’re not with a company that is able to provide you with training to keep you advanced, you can’t keep up.
“The fact that you had a certification to be a solutions architect with AWS two years ago doesn’t mean that you’re that same guy if you’re not using the tools.”
He added: “If you look at your fortune 50 companies – large media companies like Time Warner and Disney, companies like Starbucks. They have their own dev ops shops, they have the people and they have the skills.
“A lot of them are building their technology hubs in places like Seattle or the UK, because they can attract that talent from companies like your Microsofts, or whatever it may be.
“But there are a lot of companies globally, a portion of the market worth $300m to $3bn, that I still believe need the talent."
Ensono helps businesses manage infrastructure to make sure they can compete with digital start-ups.
Moss added that equipping staff to cope with the digital skills gap is just as important as providing a good working environment, salary, or culture.
He said: “It’s really, really hard to keep up, and companies like ours are investing in our people, so a major focus with Ensono – I have to be honest with you – is how we provide training and human capital management to make them want to stay here.
“Sometimes you say there’s salary and there’s culture, and all this, but part of it is making staff feel like they are being invested in.
“That’s a huge push for us. We plan to double the amount of AWS certifications we have by the end of the year. So we can solve issues as they happen rather than sending it up to an expert every time.
“We do that through training, and the folks that are doing the training get excited, because they’re learning new technology.
"If you can do that, it really adds to the retention of your associate base.”
Bridging the skills gap will be important for the adoption of cloud technology – something Moss says will be essential within the next three years, allowing firms reduce costs, and deploy services.
“You need to bridge the skills gap to understand how to use the cloud,” he said.
“I think if you look at the market itself, by the year 2020 every single major enterprise will have some form of hybridising. Public cloud as well as some sort of traditional infrastructure.
“Having a cloud strategy has to be the number one, or in the top three to five priorities for any CIO. Cloud is a really hot and heavy word. It get people all fired up, but in reality it really comes down to defining what the business problems are that they’re trying to solve.
“For me I think it is absolutely critical for every major enterprise – any company that is $100m and above.
“A lot of these clients and companies that are smaller than that are doing it anyway.
"A lot of them are being born in the cloud, a lot of them are going that way to start with, and they’re not these giant dinosaur companies worth $100m who have been around for ten or 15 years."