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Mind the gap: why the cloud skills shortage is positive news for the channel

22 January 2018:

The rapid adoption of cloud-based services has highlighted the cloud skills gap. As organisations struggle to find the right talent, Richard Whitson, Academy Business Development Manager at Tech Data UK explores how channel partners can maximise on the opportunity by filling in the gaps 

As end-user organisations look to accelerate their transition to the cloud, it is fair to say that progress is being impeded by a lack of IT architects and engineers with the specialist skills required. The digital transformation many organisations are embarking upon relies on finding staff or solution providers with the appropriate cloud skills to successfully deliver new developments. Without skilled support the numerous business benefits of cloud-based services, such as lower total cost-of- ownership, scalability and reliability, may not be unachievable for organisations forced to delay deployments. 

UK skills gap
Faced with the challenge of having to do more with less, many organisations cannot afford to postpone projects indefinitely. Companies that cannot keep pace with technology risk being left behind as their competition moves on. However, the current UK skills gap presents a huge opportunity for the channel to fill the void. 

Microsoft recently published a report[i] into the skills gap in which 250 technical leaders in large to medium UK enterprises were surveyed. The most notable findings from the Microsoft Cloud Skills Report revealed:

  • More than 80% of respondents said that cloud skills are critical to their digital transformation
  • Over half of all respondents (53%) plan to use external partners for cloud skills in the year ahead
  • 63% state that formal cloud certifications are important when selecting partners to provide cloud-based consulting or services
  • Almost half (48%) of respondents stated that they would expect to pay a premium for working with partners that have relevant cloud certifications. The additional daily rate respondents were comfortable paying ranges from less than £100 to more than £300 for each formally certified contractor. This premium could yield significant margin for channel partners willing to invest in training and certifying their customer facing teams.

Importance of certifications
Given the challenges that UK businesses currently face in recruiting cloud talent, it is no surprise that many are turning to the channel for assistance. Organisations are looking to business partners to handle their cloud infrastructure in addition to providing training and mentoring to employees.

At a time when skills are short, end-user customers are actively encouraging internal teams to collaborate with solution providers to speed tech adoption. However, organisations are also placing a higher importance on channel partners and their individual employees holding relevant industry certifications. Therefore, it is vital that partners make an investment in formal training as confirmation of technical proficiency. 

How Tech Data can help
Not all training courses are created or delivered equally and it is vital to work with a training provider that can help channel partners to realise the full value of their investment. The Tech Data Academy is a certified Global Training Provider for IBM and an authorised training and education centre for VMWare and Veeam, In addition to being a Global Microsoft Learning Partner; Tech Data also provide certification training for provide certification training for Cisco, Citrix and AWS. We offer a full spectrum of training courses to deepen technical knowledge and broaden sales skills. 

In addition to technical certification courses, partners can attend sessions that will provide them with information to help their customers make the business case for technology investments. These commercially focused sessions explain how to present the total cost-of-ownership, in addition to the business benefits and outcomes that can be realised. 

As the gap between the number of people with cloud skills and the number of roles available continues to widen, this situation heralds a great opportunity for channel partners seeking to develop a cloud practice. With demand outstripping supply, those partners equipped with cloud skills can be confident that their talents will be required for the foreseeable future. Additionally, partners with the appropriate accreditations and employees with the latest certifications can also expect to command a financial premium for their services.

Tech Data will be running training, accreditations and commercial sessions on Microsoft solutions throughout 2018, for more information please contact the Training academy on or +44 (0) 1344 355 866.

[i]Microsoft Cloud Skills Report: closing the cloud skills chasm

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