At a recent IDC seminar on cloud computing Chris Morris, associate vice president, cloud technologies and services with IDC Asia Pacific, gave IDC's perspective on how the growth of cloud computing would impact the skills mix in the IT departments of enterprises.
The skills mix, he said, would shift from technical experts to manage in-house IT resources to those with a stronger emphasis on management skills to handle relationships with service providers as the trend to shift IT into the domain of cloud based service providers gathers momentum.
"By 2015 the percentage of enterprise systems that will be managed by third party providers will double and the management an organisation does will be contract management, management of SLAs and the management of those vendors overall," he said.
This shift of IT into the cloud is also likely to have a profound effect on the supply chain: the market for IT hardware and software will shift from the end user organisation to the cloud service provider. An increasing percentage of the dollars will be spent by a few large service providers rather than many thousands of IT departments in end user organisations.
At an informal getting-to-know-you press briefing last week Cisco's recently appointed VP for Australia and New Zealand Richard Kitts said that Cisco was re-aligning its internal organisation to match the changes impacting its partners; namely providing fewer on-premises solutions and instead moving applications into the cloud.
When questioned he was not too keen to explore the ultimate conclusion of this re-alignment: that the vast army of channel partners that sell Cisco gear to an even greater number of end user organisations could shrink to a much smaller number of larger partners selling to a very large providers of cloud services. But this surely is the logic of the move into the cloud for Cisco, its channel partners and those of other IT vendors.
Kitts did concede that the transition was inevitable but was, not surprisingly, reluctant to suggest that it would be rapid or that it might prove traumatic for the IT channel community.