Culture and People and Cloud, Oh My! The Hybrid Future is Here

The foundation of any IT organization is its people—especially in this era of an ever-widening technology skills gap.

In the advent of quickly evolving artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and machine learning (ML), how do you hire the talent you need, help them feel valued within your organization, and encourage them to stay and grow as your goals and needs change? These are the questions you may want to ask yourself—especially as you introduce new employees into your IT organization’s talent pool.

Looking at the millennial generation, you’ll see it’s becoming increasingly harder to retain their talent. A 2019 Gallup study shows that the majority of millennials (55%) are not engaged in their jobs. Disengagement leads to job-hopping. Millennials will leave roles in order to make lateral moves they perceive as better opportunities or potentially more meaningful. The years of sticking around just for a pension are over.

So, as new roles and skill requirements change, how do successful IT organizations hire high-performing talent, keep their existing people satisfied, and ensure these folks are agile enough to leverage emerging technologies for greater efficiencies and market expansion?

It all starts at the top.

Richard Branson, famous founder of the Virgin Group, says, “Clients do not come first, employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

When senior management makes a commitment to developing a comprehensive workforce strategy, they will be better prepared to meet ongoing challenges and changing market demands. Committing to a positive employee culture also shows that they truly value their people.

6 Steps for Building a Comprehensive Workforce Strategy

Here are six steps you can take to ensure a successful workplace transformation strategy.

1. Align internally around a collective vision. Ask yourself honestly, “What is our full potential as a team?” And then look for ways to stretch it. Successful IT organizations are continually planning for future-state. Determine what your organization’s goals are, and then make sure you communicate what you want to change, as well as, why you want to change it. Once you set a clear vision, make sure your stakeholders are aligned, and then communicate it clearly across your organization. This creates a culture where everyone is up-to-speed and sees how they can contribute.

2. Accelerate the adoption of new digital technologies. According to a 2019 report from the World Economic Forum, there are four technological advancements that will dominate and drive change over the next three years: high-speed mobile internet, AI, big data analytics and cloud technology. The more your organization embraces these technologies and finds ways to leverage them, the better prepared you’ll be for the changes that are inevitably heading your way.

3. Look for disruptors. Disruptive technologies are everywhere. You’ll need to accurately assess where you are in adapting to them right now so you can evolve your adaptation as needed. Identifying and starting to address disruptors is the beginning of a transformation.

4. Train and reskill your talent. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling. Look for ways to train and motivate your talent to best navigate the technologies that are disrupting your industry. From a cloud transformation perspective alone, there’s a great deal of unknown right now. A lot of people think that the cloud is going to replace their value in the organization. It’s leadership’s role to assure them that they are valuable—and will remain valuable—even if they shift to another role. By reframing “continuous learning” as an opportunity for growth, you allow your employees to thrive in a culture built for education and expansion.

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

5. Be more agile. As your talent shifts away from the routines and limits of today’s jobs toward new, previously unimagined futures, a mindset of agile learning is necessary. Embracing agility often means accepting uncertainty and unpredictability. To stay agile, you’ll need to use data analytics to make faster decisions and adjust to market changes more quickly. Quick adjustments can mean uncharted territory.

6. Accept failure as an option. Employees who are empowered to make decisions, take risks and try new things (i.e. innovate), will be more likely to help you maintain transformation in a non-fear-driven environment. Setting up an action-oriented culture will help you overcome inertia within the organization, and it can increase the momentum you’ll need for change.

Cloud Is King and Data Is the New Currency

Building a culture that encourages employees to grow alongside a digital transformation also means arming them with data and empowering them to use it.

Historically, organizations have had to make a lot of decisions based on data that’s six months or even a year old. The data we once had was limited, often based on financial metrics, and generated after-the-fact (i.e. quarterly or annual revenue reports).

Digital transformation is about getting to insights quickly.

Today’s data-driven approach gives you insights into areas you never thought you’d have. For instance, you could spot something going on in your manufacturing pipeline and make quicker decisions about it. With the help of AI and ML, you can also correlate with pieces of data across your organization to make smarter decisions. You may even discover counter-evidence to what you thought you would find. You can then adjust and change tactics as needed, in near real-time.

What once took months may now take hours or minutes. Today’s “instant access” to data analytics not only gives you the ability to see more, but it also allows you to do more—with greater silo breakdown and more collaboration.

As you start to rely more heavily on hybrid cloud, you will find it helpful to have a sound data strategy. Organizations are inundated with data. How can you best leverage it? And, how can you turn it into dashboards or visualizations that help your teams make more informed decisions? Finding answers to these questions for your organization will help you pivot more quickly for sustainable success.

Seeing It All Means Securing It All

Today’s threat landscape is more onerous than ever. There more data to use, more ways to access it, and more to protect.

Whether your information is on- or off-premises, it’s important to know the answers to questions such as:

  • What applications are employees accessing?
  • How are they accessing applications?
  • What should they have access to from a data perspective?

By answering these questions, you can craft a security strategy that aligns with your workforce strategy and empowers your talent. Growing your team and your environment in the new digital landscape is easier with a highly secure, efficient and scalable hybrid cloud strategy.

Bridging the Skills Gap in Hybrid Cloud

Transformation takes time and skilled cloud professionals can be hard to find. Successful companies often rely on managed services providers to bridge the chasm between IT skills and evolving technologies.

An experienced managed services provider will jump-start you to the skills you need—putting the exact right professionals in place to operationalize, secure and run it all.

This gives you time to enable and train your people internally, through online training, user group information sharing, in-house training, etc.

By freeing up your staff from the day-to-day management of “putting out fires,” you will provide them time to skill-up, to feel engaged in their role, and to add more meaningful value to the business.

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