“41.6% of corporate workloads at big companies are expected to be running in the public cloud within the next five years, up from 16.2% today.”
Hey, this is no happy blog post. Techwite wants to help, Techwite wants to be positive. And Techwite also wants to speak the truth. Sometimes that means taking a look at what is happening and discussing it. If that’s not for you, skip this. I’ll have a Tip soon about iCloud Calendars. Otherwise, if you have more information or comments about this post, join in.—TW
Make no mistake, moving to “the cloud” is part of a trend to shift as much of corporate IT as possible into a commodity subscription service, like electricity. Billed monthly by volume used, managed offsite, no local server upgrades or software updates, maintained by somebody else. The WSJ article referenced here concerns itself chiefly with the effect on the investment world of mega-cloud vendors Microsoft and Amazon on their smaller rivals Oracle and IBM. But from a human standpoint, your local IT, your local data center, your local administrator, your local Help Desk, THEY (and if you are one of these people, I am talking about you)—ARE ALL GOING AWAY.
“Hybrid Cloud” and “Middleman” Hosting is a stepping stone. You’re company isn’t putting everything in the Cloud? Not yet? Accenture, IBM, Dell—somebody like that—can take care of your local IT administration requirements! They’ll manage your relationship with Microsoft, and for now you can tell everyone you are “going to Office 365” although technically, you’re not. (That would be using Microsoft totally as your host for Office…)
Your IT Infrastructure Director may optimistically tell you, “Don’t worry, we’ll need someone to engage in ‘vendor management‘, someone who understands Infrastructure…, and heck, if you get on well with them, maybe you can work for the hosting vendor!”
If you know your stuff, you can probably point out that your “hosting vendor” is missing the boat with Microsoft Exchange backups, mobile security, a proprietary and non-standard archive solution that “locks you in”, and inefficient mail routing. But how long will that save your job if you are seen as a bump in the road to “the full Cloud”? And will that endear you to your potential new employer? Remember, the CIO wants his IT Infrastructure to be as easy to manage and replace as an iPad.
Meanwhile, the data center/hosting company is getting squeezed on both ends and trying to survive a similar change. How long can they compete with their big brother—and former mentor? Does anyone need a middle man?? Your Account Manager’s boss is telling him, “Don’t worry, we’ll probably get absorbed by Microsoft. And either way, you can probably work for them!”
We are seeing a massive consolidation and centralization of data and processing, and elimination of jobs. In addition to the stripping of jobs as the infrastructure ascends to the cloud, much of the work that was outsourced to cheaper labor sources will soon be automated—think robots and “chatbots“. There are going to be fewer and fewer jobs in IT Infrastructure. (Coincidentally, last week the Verizon strike provided an example of this shift: The Verizon Strike Signals a Larger Economic Battle.)
What about the people? The overall trend is clear for companies, especially large companies, and service organizations. But what about at the individual level? The level of the gal or guy in IT today? IT is the “service economy” equivalent of the Detroit factory job in the manufacturing economy of 20 years ago. This is just the beginning. Clearly there will be some jobs in hands-on management of Cloud services, such as AWS, and there is still time and opportunity for corporations and small businesses to hang onto that shred of control. As for other opportunities in IT? Infrastructure is going to shrink drastically or disappear altogether. That leaves software development. Web development, mobile apps, databases. The skills will be needed and they are constantly churning, so those who can stay on top of the latest development trends will likely stay employed.
Many of these trends are going to affect the rest of the economy as well. The Uberization of driving jobs will soon shift to autonomous cars and robot assisted shipping. Even the old saw about finding a job “flipping burgers” will not hold true for much longer. Where will people find work? That I would like to know.
“…we have to make sure that we have the kinds of policies here at home where we provide people with the skills they need to get the jobs that are available in the economy…”
—US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, interview with Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace
Yes, Jack, we need to be sure that people are trained up for those jobs. But what are those jobs? And where are they? Where are they?