According to the Microsoft cloud skills report, “3,500 organisations in the UK will be hamstrung by a lack of cloud-skilled staff” in the near future, and it’s not surprising if, reading this, you’re worried you might end up one of them.
This can feel like a big barrier if you’re thinking of moving to cloud hosting, especially if you want to simultaneously save money on infrastructure, or, at the very least, make it as cost-effective as possible.
One of your concerns along the way may be whether there are any hidden costs – such as whether you need to hire new staff to manage your cloud. This could be very expensive, especially in the context of the cloud skills gap, where the shortage of expertise means expected salaries are much higher.
Assuming you have some degree of technical knowledge outside of the cloud, your need for new staff will hinge on the following factors:
Choice of platform
The platform you choose will affect whether you’ll need to hire new people. They all offer different management tools and features, and some are easier to use than others.
AWS, for example, is favoured by many bigger companies for its extensive and versatile feature set, but this can be a double-edged sword – some consider it much too complex for smaller businesses without internal cloud experts. For these companies, VMware may be a better option, users of which benefit from access to a wealth of first-party, partner and community-based support.
It’s therefore important that you do your research and work out what fits your business need and current skillset.
Support level from provider
The level of support you receive from your provider will greatly impact your need to hire new people. This is where you should choose carefully – the better and more cost-effective the support, the less likely you’ll need to invest in additional staff.
In initial meetings, look out for a provider who has a strong on-boarding process (e.g. what kind of training and orientation support will be supplied as standard) and can demonstrate expertise along with an understanding and interest in your business goals – this is a big indicator that they’re not going to suddenly abandon you after you sign on the dotted line. However, you should also look out for hidden costs by keeping an eye on how much support will be, and don’t be afraid to ask too many questions about their pricing model.
Complexity of the migration
Something that we would advise against is jumping headfirst into a huge migration project with neither internal expertise nor decent external support at hand – you stand to expose yourself to a host of potential problems. You should assess (possibly with the help of your provider) the complexity of your migration, by accounting for every stage of the process – right through from planning, to staging, to hitting the button and going live.
Carrying out a detailed exercise at this early stage of your migration will help you to establish whether your in-house team will be able to manage the process on their own, or with varying levels of assistance (from a little provider help, in-house training or bringing in specialist staff).
A simpler or smaller-scale migration project may be more achievable. However, you’ll want to avoid hidden costs like paying for resources you don’t use, or having to pay extra for support when something goes wrong during obscure hours.