Assembling a Cloud-Savvy IT Dream Team: Top 5 Skills to Look for

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

We all know we’re on the cusp of a cloud computing revolution and, while we can’t be sure of exactly where the cloud will take us, we need to hire the best team today to gain a competitive foothold in the cloud of tomorrow. Whether you’re already filling positions with cloud-specific titles or general IT personnel who will ultimately work with the cloud anyway, you’ll want to keep an eye out for talent with the following combination of soft and hard skills. 5. Foresight (strategic and risk management) As your enterprise grows, you’ll need IT who can anticipate and work with cloud systems that are flexible enough to grow with you, whether that growth entails adding an exponential number of end-users or integrating a growing number of SaaS products. Look for employees who have demonstrated experience with implementing and managing scalable systems. In terms of risk management, you’ll need employees with the foresight to vet different cloud providers based on their risks and whether they meet compliance regulations for data management that apply to your industry. 4. Cloud-ready app engineering When it comes to the hard skills needed to excel in a cloud environment, look for IT who have demonstrated software engineering skills with developing open standard, cloud-ready apps. (HP defines cloud-ready apps by the four standards of performance, elasticity, resilience, and security) Look specifically for an employee who has working knowledge of security in addition to network development and monitoring. 3. Vendor negotiation Be sure to ask potential hires about what specific questions they would ask a cloud provider in order to determine if they’re the right fit for your enterprise. Look for an employee who is prepared to push for your organization’s best interests, especially in the areas of uptime/downtime, service interruptions, data ownership, and IP, as well as compensation for data loss. Also look for someone who has experience with ad hoc reporting on vendor pricing, contract terms, and general compliance. 2. Architectural design During the interview phase, present a hypothetical architecture scenario to the candidate (i.e. an enterprise that uses an on-premise server for certain data, has multiple SaaS products purchased with different accounts, and faces various compliance regulations due to the nature of the data.) Find out how the candidate would restructure and integrate these systems to ensure optimal efficiency and compliance. 1. Business communication Whether it’s planning a cloud systems budget with finance, reviewing SLAs with legal, or providing SaaS support to an end-user, new hires need to know how to communicate with employees from all levels of the enterprise as well as with vendors and end-users. Perhaps most importantly, they need to be able to effectively communicate the cloud’s ROI to your organization’s decision-makers in order to get the go-ahead to implement cloud systems and align them with corporate strategy.

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