The cloud skill journey

To Speed Up European Cloud Adoption, Address the Cloud Skills Gap

Flemming Goldbach
© Shutterstock / Hakan Kiziltan

The cloud demands new skills as it continues to grow, but the skills gap persists. This lack of skills is often cited as one of the biggest barriers to a successful cloud adoption. One recent survey found that 86% of IT leaders think that a shortage of cloud talent will slow down cloud projects in 2020.

Cloud adoption continues to grow, driven significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic. IDC noted that as the world went on lockdown, the demand for cloud-based consumer and business services rose. This led to greater demand for the server, storage and networking infrastructure used by cloud service provider data centres. The analyst firm found that as a result, “public cloud was the only deployment segment escaping year-over-year declines in 1Q20, reaching $10.1 billion in spend on IT infrastructure at 6.4% year-over-year growth.”

Gartner concurs, noting that although the security market in general will experience slower growth this year, cloud security spending will skyrocket by 33% this year. The continued growth of the cloud requires new skills and training, especially from a security perspective. Moving to the cloud isn’t a one-time activity; even once a company has migrated to the cloud, there is still more work to be done. Training must be a continuous effort, and employers must plan accordingly.

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The cloud’s new security risks

Spending on cloud adoption has lagged in many parts of Europe compared to the U.S. While there are a variety of factors behind this, conventional wisdom has held that this has been largely due to security concerns. However, Bain & Company forecasts a 21% yearly growth rate for western Europe’s public cloud market as more cloud providers build large data centres within those countries. Yet, though data regulations like GDPR help European organizations feel more confident about the cloud, data security concerns remain.

Working with a major cloud provider like Microsoft or Google can help alleviate many organizational security concerns when it comes to things like data protection. That’s because the burden shifts to the cloud provider. Cloud providers allow customers to build their own private network environments to servers that exist offsite. With cloud computing, the providers are in charge of all storage, security, maintenance and updates.

However, that doesn’t mean there’s no longer a security responsibility on the employer’s part.

Employees have access to a lot of information, but they aren’t always equipped with the knowledge they need to understand how to keep this information safe. Many breaches come as the result of an ill-informed employee mishandling information. Consequently, employers have to make cybersecurity training a priority.

The cloud demands new skills, but the skills gap persists

As cloud adoption continues, however, organizations still face a talent shortage when it comes to all cloud-related skill sets. Legacy skill sets transfer well to many cloud technologies, a report by Forrester found, but “the cultural leap to evaluate, select, and operate for productivity, system-level efficiency, and workload-specific problem solving is proving to be a challenge.”

This lack of skills is often cited as one of the biggest barriers to a successful cloud adoption. One recent survey found that 86% of IT leaders think that a shortage of cloud talent will slow down cloud projects in 2020.

In addition to the challenge of the technical skills gap, organizations must also drive a strategic change management process that will ensure employees can more quickly adopt these new cloud technologies.

How a learning management system helps

To help bridge this skills gap and enable cloud adoption, organizations can leverage a learning management system (LMS). An LMS helps ensure that employers can get all relevant information, including best practices, to their employees quickly and easily. Doing so will greatly aid the necessary change management process that lieas at the heart of ensuring cloud adoption. The cloud journey isn’t a “one and done” situation; there are multiple steps and phases, so employees need ongoing training and access to learning. And they need it in a way that’s easy to access and can be done remotely.

A social learning LMS also allows for the exchange of ideas and information among employees so that skills can constantly be refreshed. It provides flexible access to training, with the ability to communicate and share relevant questions and information with colleagues during the learning process. This helps to build a collaborative learning culture, which can be extremely difficult to do without the right tools.

An LMS also brings the physical workspace into the online space, keeping your employees engaged, connected and empowered even while separated by long distances or time zones. Learners are able to learn, interact and help each other in one platform. An intuitive solution will help learners get up to speed quickly, avoiding the barrier of having to learn how to learn.

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Enabling the cloud skills journey

Cloud adoption is about to see a strong uptick across Europe as providers build more data centres and the pandemic increases the demand for more cloud-based services. At the same time, there’s both a cloud skills gap and a cloud security skills gap. Organizations can take the proactive step of filling those gaps themselves by providing training for their employees. Since most of the world is working remotely these days, digital learning is the most viable method for training. Using an LMS provides employees with a centralized learning portal for everything from basic cybersecurity hygiene to cloud security. It also helps them collaborate and spur each other along on their learning journeys – which will ultimately enable organizations to adopt cloud computing and all its benefits.


Flemming Goldbach

Flemming Goldbach has worked with the digitalization of work processes since 1999 and a cloud technology adoption enthusiast since 2011, focusing on helping organizations implement and take advantage of Microsoft technology in order to obtain greater productivity and better collaboration. As vice president of product at LMS365, he leads the product development of the LMS365 learning management platform, both product discovery and product delivery streams. He works closely with marketing, customer success, sales and professional services teams as well as worldwide partners to ensure business adoption with new and existing customers.

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