3 cloud-driven trends that will change the IT skills you need by 2020

September 18, 2015 bentannahill

The cloud facilitates speed, focus and efficiency whilst allowing greater collaboration and flexibility between teams.

These ultimately work together to bring one major advantage to business: accelerated innovation.

In the context of this fast-paced innovation, the skills, qualifications and attitudes you need to survive and thrive in the industry are changing quickly and radically.

Claranet recently undertook an extensive survey (Innovation in European IT) of over 900 IT decision-makers from across Europe, to get the most up-to-date insights from within the industry itself on how it will change in the run up to 2020.

We’ve picked out three cloud-driven trends that are changing the IT skills that will be most desired by 2020.

1) The rise in third parties providers

Already 15 per cent of the UK's business IT infrastructure is being managed by third parties.

This is only going to increase. Our respondents anticipated this number to rise to 22 per cent by 2020. Across Europe the use of IT services providers is expected to climb by 33 per cent.

Clearly businesses are starting to see the value of working with dedicated experts, a move that will leave more IT decision makers to focus on strategically aligning IT with the business.

What does this mean for your employees?

This migration to cloud-based services means there will be fewer internal IT systems that require constant maintenance, updates and support, allowing IT teams to spend less time and resources on the management of internal infrastructure, applications and data.

There will be a shift away from the reactive, responsive techie of today – the stereotypical "guy behind the support desk" – as managed infrastructure increasingly becomes the norm and many everyday responsibilities are either automated or handed over to third parties. Overall, senior IT personnel will move to take a more active, strategic role with the organisation’s core.

2) Drop in in-house development and deployment

At the same time, SaaS solutions like Salesforce are reducing reliance on in-house application development and deployment.

How will this affect you?

While internal application development skills will remain important for businesses where the number of employees and the nature of the business requires extensive application customisation, smaller businesses particularly will increasingly rely on off-the-shelf SaaS solutions and external development support.

Shadow IT is also a factor. This is where employees use convenient, but unsanctioned software such as DropBox or Netsuite to fill the gaps in their company's official internal portfolio, reducing the need for in-house software.

These trends have consequences for corporate IT roles: the desirability of application development skills in-house is estimated to drop 12 per cent by 2020, according to our mid-market focused report.

3) Collaboration becomes the norm

Another result of the move toward third party IT support is an increasingly collaborative approach with a division of duties between internal and external teams. Internal IT staff often find themselves working in tandem with third party providers to deliver IT services to employees and customers, in the process fostering collaborative skills.

As a result the skills associated with the traditional, reactive IT department and support-orientated roles – support desk, project management, and security – are set to decline in importance internally by 2020 (by 21 per cent, 13 per cent, and 9 per cent, respectively).

What to expect in 2020

The cloud is facilitating a move towards speed, agility and flexibility across the IT department and increasingly, through shadow IT, throughout the business.

Accordingly, the role of the IT professional is changing: they can no longer operate in siloed isolation, and instead must embrace collaboration (internally and externally), innovative new practices and a strategic approach to IT that enables their business.

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