By Mike Golz, CIO SAP Americas
As companies move to the cloud, the roles and skills in the IT organization will change. With the new delivery model being more off-the-shelf, there will naturally be less configuration and less IT work to do. There will be fewer requirements for employees who can write blueprints or specifications for business applications and not as much need for technical configuration or application development skills.
However, a key skill set is emerging as even more important for IT: the ability to integrate solutions. Companies will need employees who understand how to integrate cloud with on premise or other cloud solutions at the process and data level. This is not always simple depending on the combination of solutions to be integrated – it requires the ability to map different solutions against the same set of master data and transactions in other systems. These integrators are the foundation of cloud IT.
SAP solutions are designed to be integrated. For instance, customers can integrate SuccessFactors with their on-premise HCM, or Ariba with their ERP or SRM solution. However, in a more heterogeneous environment customers need to be aware that media breaks can occur – and they need to have their integrators in place to ensure that solutions are harmonized from the outset.
Companies using cloud solutions will need people who understand IT needs and capabilities, but who can also look at business processes and make quick assessments. These are people who can make intelligent judgment calls – can we solve this on the basis of a straightforward solution or do we need deeper configuration and specialization? They will find that their IT folks need to have stronger business analyst and project management skill sets.
Skills in demand at SAP
From an SAP perspective, that is, companies that provide IT solutions and services, we have a strong need for implementation, coding and operational skills to build cloud solutions for our customers. We also have to develop the skill set of supporting new solutions – as SAP did after buying SuccessFactors and Ariba, for example. As SAP integrated SaaS companies, we had to find people who could do integration work, as well as those with infrastructure skills. We have learned to staff our teams for the requirements of the cloud age.
Skills in demand at SAP Customers
In terms of managed cloud, the necessary skills on the customer side are defined by which solutions customers buy. If they purchase infrastructure as a service, they need fewer infrastructure skills in their own IT shop but retain the majority of the other IT roles and skill sets. If they consume HANA Platform as a service, they won’t need to have database and platform layer experts in IT. And if they use applications as a service, they can let SAP run their entire application environment for them.
Without doubt, the cloud is changing how we work in IT. In my discussions with customers, with CIOs and IT departments, it’s becoming clear that companies who use cloud services extensively need fewer people with a deep technical skill set and more people with broad technology, business process and integration skill sets. And it is these broader skills that will help us integrate the world of cloud with the world of on-premise solutions.
For more on how the cloud is changing careers, see the blog post How is the Cloud Affecting Sales Careers in the IT Industry
For more opinions on how Cloud Computing may affect your Industry and/or Line of Business (LoB) – and thus your career, read here: