Point of View

Providers must shore up cloud talent in a $305+ billion market opportunity

July 30, 2020

Cloud computing enabled businesses across the globe to rapidly switch to remote and decentralized operating models. While the switch was easier for some than others, the transition has settled a major enterprise conundrum: to migrate or not to migrate? The reality for many enterprises is the answer has become more of a foregone conclusion over the last six months, fueling a major war for talent and capability as businesses race to the cloud, particularly the public cloud. For service providers, this talent war—if they can get ahead of it—heralds the promise of biting a big chunk out of a cloud services market soon worth hundreds of billions.

In a recent report, we discussed how enterprises and service providers anticipate increased spending on cloud computing, potential migration, and re-platforming opportunities in post-pandemic environments. While many organizations anticipate deploying private clouds to expand their capacity and improve security, a greater number are looking toward hybrid and multi-cloud models, where the hyperscale, public-cloud giants are a vital building block of their strategies. Service providers must arm themselves to support the massive demand for cloud adoption or get ready to lose their share of global cloud services market, which we anticipate will reach $305+ billion revenue by 2021.

In recent conversations with industry leaders as part of our ongoing hyper-scale public cloud services study, we saw the confirmation of cloud computing’s rapid adoption. Further, we observed that cloud providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud) are pushing hiring programs harder as they try to bring on cloud engineers to support engagements, and they are pushing service providers to pick up the pace of their cloud training programs. In short, all of these factors are fueling one of the largest talent wars the industry has ever seen.

2020: The year cloud computing vacancies surged to punishing levels

As cloud computing demand finds a new peak, the industry bears witness to an enormous spike in cloud vacancies. As per the recent data from IT jobs watch, AWS’s and Azure’s job opportunities trending ever upwards in the UK—an increasingly important market for cloud services. In total, 28,930 permanent cloud computing job openings were posted as of June 22, 2020. For the talent pool, this heralds good news. While the industry announces layoffs and hiring freezes across the board, the cloud talent pool is exceptionally buoyant—providers are hiring to align with the rising demand.

Similarly, both the demand for services and the corresponding pull of talented cloud professionals are impacting the US market. A study from Burning Glass on skills shows that, skills related to cloud computing jobs witnessed one of the highest demand spikes in recent history. Some factors unique to the circumstances of the COVID-19 virus have fueled growth in specific cloud-based technology, including communication platforms, virtual machine access, and SaaS-based applications that help enterprises run their business and remain connected with their clients, employees, and partners without any interruptions. Some enterprises and industries rely entirely on cloud services to operate in remote environments, such as gaming and e-commerce, fueling ever-greater demand for top talent.

For most enterprises, the cloud offers significant opportunities. While the technology has swiftly become the savior of enterprise operations throughout the pandemic, as the business environment returns to normal, we’ll see pandemic-based requirements such as increased use of conferencing solutions subside. Then the real work begins, with many enterprises left sorely exposed to traditional models and business platforms that will be hard to ignore once the crisis is over. A recent survey of business leaders revealed that more than 50% of the respondents plan to shift more applications to the cloud, while a more bullish 39% say they expect to move to the cloud entirely.

The Bottom Line: Smart providers will build their talent pools to service the immediate demand for cloud services and the inevitable rush for business re-platforming in the future

The COVID-19 pandemic created a unique environment for cloud services, where even the most skeptical leaders had to choose between migrating and being left out in the cold. The smart providers will be building talent pools to handle current increased workloads, but they also have an eye to the future. As we find the new normal, the cloud will undoubtedly be a major part of every enterprise’s infrastructure strategy. Many enterprise leaders say that they are already analyzing how they can bolster their cloud strategy and find the right partners to meet the next generation of cloud services. Providers must seize this significant opportunity by building out capabilities with right cloud partners, investments, tools, accelerators, and a fresh go-to-market strategy to ensure enterprises know they have the arsenal to help them re-platform.


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