The cloud changes IT culture, demands new tech skills

Business is now pushing IT to get over its job fears and go all-in on the cloud

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Most of the changes the tech workers had to go through were at least eventually met with acceptance and sometimes excitement. Fewer than 10 of their IT people left the company because of the changes they were asked to make.

"Most folks, once they get past that, get excited about the change," said Williams. "Some folks get frustrated and move on and that's obviously unfortunate."

Business dragging IT to the cloud

Another trend: There has been a switch-up in who actually is pushing for companies to move to the cloud.

In the past, many IT managers wanted to try the cloud with specific apps or services. At the same time, CEOs were hesitant to jump in, largely worried about security, accessibility and reliability issues.

Now, however, many business executives have gotten over those worries but IT workers have developed their own set of concerns about changing their skills and their jobs.

"Now that the cloud isn't so new and scary, IT still wants to poke around but business is saying, 'Now! Stop screwing around and get on the cloud!' " said Mahowald. "IT still wants to piecemeal it. They're not taking the big step to build cloud-first, think cloud-first and build databases in the cloud. They're still thinking about Band-Aids."

He added that much of IT's hesitance is increasingly political. It's not about whether the tech will work or if it will benefit the company. It's about the fear that the cloud is taking their jobs away.

That, according to Mahowald, is frustrating business executives.

At The Weather Company, Williams definitely has seen that switch. Luckily for him, he was already pushing hard toward the cloud so business and tech have been moving in the same direction.

"In our first two years, anytime we had conversations, the enterprise was saying, 'No, no. I get it but I've got records and complex applications and we're always going to run those on our own data centers,' " said Williams. "Then about a year ago, I started seeing the flip, where people weren't telling me I'm crazy anymore. I was like, 'It's about time...' Suddenly they were saying, 'Let's go all in.' "

IT leaders say to help convince tech workers to move toward the cloud with more speed and less resistance, they need to talk openly with them about the new skills they'll be gaining, the broader jobs they'll be able to take on and the projects they'll be able to do that they never had time for before.

"This is the history of IT," said Chapple. "If you're going to be in IT, you need to know you're in a field that's constantly changing. We've always had new tools at our disposal. The cloud is a larger scale change than we've experience in a number of years but it's natural. You keep your skills current."

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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