Cloud can really be a disruptive model for the workforce. Other than the common benefits (and pitfalls) generally being discussed – such as cost savings, time-to-value, security, quality of service, and so on – one of the biggest shakeups because of the cloud will be with the workforce.
There has not been much chatter, at least until now, about workforce disruption.
To put it simply, more cloud usage equates to fewer data centers needed, and that equates to fewer infrastructure IT people needed to manage. Virtualization, consolidation, and standardization can easily lead to a much leaner workforce. In some ways, much of the apprehension with IT folks in larger companies to embrace cloud offerings is that very fear, and understandably so.
The virtual development and delivery model also calls for virtual workforce. The “crowd,” also known as the “human cloud,” can really change the way we think of resource scaling in a traditional sense, and the cloud capability is an enabler to this phenomenon.
For commoditized components and easily definable components, enterprises will simply not care who provides them with these assets (of course conforming to their quality and governance standards). Project owners can simply create a temporary development/test instance on the cloud, and can let participants from the crowd to work on components for a fraction of cost they would otherwise incur through traditional labor.
Using the crowd through cloud to scale or speed up value to market will be a huge opportunity for business owners to tap into.
What does it mean to the IT workforce? The question is a hard one to answer. Clearly there are areas as such IT architecture, IT security, and analytics that will see a demand surge in the next couple of years. Cloud computing consultancy as a new practice area is already ramping up.
The crowd model will open up plenty of freelance opportunities for practitioners with the right skills.
The workforce will simply need to retool, and do so quickly!