Technical Leader, Office of the CTO, Riverbed Technology
Technical challenges aside, the personnel issue is one of the biggest fears about going to the cloud. I give a lot of presentations about how to make the move, and – while they will not publicly say this – I know that agency IT personnel do fear losing their jobs because of it.
But, the good ones should relish it. They will gain a better understanding of what the agency’s business is and they can put themselves in a position to provide greater value. Yes, it will require new skills; but, the entire history of technology advancement has restructured every form of work. It is why there are no more buggy whip manufacturers in the U.S.
There will be some changes, for sure. For example, what is the person whose primary job it is to take the server out of the box and put it in the rack going to do once the server is just a line in a script? Well, if he is really interested in advancing his career I would expect he would understand that the next logical migration for him is helping to do capacity planning, which would mean that he is working more closely with the staffing agencies who do the work.
There is a natural tension. Some people are simply not going to want to learn anything new. Others are going to jump at the chance. As difficult as it sounds, I see cloud computing as one of the things that is going to force a change in staffing as a reluctance of some people to move, but that will reward those people who are eager to make the move.