There is no question that the advent of virtualized data centers is prompting an evolution in the way that companies approach IT. From the ground up, demands are changing, expectations are shifting, and the very infrastructure — once a hardware-based environment of in-house servers — is now a complex and interconnected network of internal and external components.
From concept to hardware, the implementation of cloud is everywhere, and it's bringing with it a new set of changes and demands. Traditional thinking about information technology is being put to the test.
But key to the reality of the changing data centers is also the wide-reaching effects of recession and the influence it's had upon business leaders' notions of appropriate and prudent growth. You can't just throw money at the growing IT team; it's going to take internal resolve and creativity to meet 2013's needs.
Let's take a look at some of the ways that can be done.
The Staffing Shortlist: Tactics to Build a Virtualized Team
Thirty-five percent of companies polled in a recent InformationWeek study indicated no change in IT staff levels in 2012, compared with 2011. And for those that did grow, new team members came on in modest numbers: a 5% or less increase in staff was what the majority of the surveyed IT departments said.
Meanwhile, InformationWeek reports that, of the companies planning to put their focus on data centers and staffing, 52% said the resources they foresaw tapping in the next two years would be a mix of existent staff and recent hires. This is the perfect time to pay fresh attention to a department's extant team!
Kurt Marko, author of the study, broke out some strategies for new adaptation.
Tech Familiarity: The virtualized data-center staff, in 2013, is a tech-savvy staff. From virtual networks to task automation, the idea here is that an essential team player is one that knows more than a single platform. Broaden the horizons in other ways, too. No longer is it sufficient to simply understand the care and feeding of the servers. Virtualized center staffs need to work with storage and apps in the virtual environment as well.
Cloud Convergence: Staff should acquire expertise with all of the ways that private, public, and hybrid clouds interface. It's not enough to say you know, team leaders will want to see that you're certified. So, get certified.
Education as a Policy: IT team leaders should put high performers into new scenarios, training them to fill the positions that the business would otherwise have to hire from outside. Not only is that getting harder, according to Marko's report, it's expensive in ways that an internal promotion or reassignment is typically not.
Bottom line: IT departments may not be getting a great deal bigger, but as they come into the virtualized data-center environment, they're going to have to be staffed a whole lot smarter.
The good news for on-the-ground IT professionals: given some attention to skill sets, individuals already conversant with company systems could be the workforce of choice.