Cloud changes everything.
It changes how IT is built, operated, consumed -- and ultimately governed.
New roles are required, and new skill sets.
And, today, EMC announces its initial contribution towards the goal of creating a new category of cloud-oriented IT professionals.
The Heart Of The Problem
Unpack any IT organization, and -- no surprise -- it's entirely comprised of people. The roles, skills and processes that these people embody are at the core of what makes IT organizations ultimately effective.
Here comes a big industry transition. Call it IT-as-a-service, call it cloud, call it whatever you'd like.
If you're an IT leader, you've got an interesting challenge on your hands. You most likely don't have the right portfolio of end-state roles, skills and processes. And you are probably lacking the people with skills who can lead the change from present state to future state.
If you're a career IT professional within these IT organizations, you've got a related but different challenge. You're measured by the skills you bring to the table, and the the roles you can potentially play.
If the industry is quickly shifting to a world where new skills and roles are relatively scarce (and at a premium!), you're strongly encouraged to re-evaluate your skills portfolio when there are big industry shifts afoot.
Either way, the topic of "new roles, new skills, new processes" -- and getting there! -- has quickly become the #1 topic with IT leadership that I've met in the last six months or so.
It's that simple.
What EMC Has Been Working On
Internally, we've seen this gap for over a year. We've seen it in our own IT organization as we transitioned to a private cloud model, and we've seen it in hundreds of our customers. The need is growing, and very quickly.
We decided to do something about it ourselves, rather than wait for someone else to do it. We're creating the first round of training and certification for these new roles. We're building on the vastly successful and highly regarded EMC Proven Professional program. We've added in key disciplines (virtualization, security, data protection, networking, etc.) as well as a healthy dose of process design and implementation.
And now we're ready to make our first big announcement in this important area.
A Wide Range Of Redefined Roles
Even a quick survey of IT roles (and skills) that are significantly different in this new role results in the realization that this is a Very Big Challenge, one that can't be addressed in its entirety in one fell swoop.
Take a look at this slide -- these are just a few examples of key roles that are very different in any cloud-based approach -- whether private, public or a hybrid mix.
There are others, of course, but you get an appreciation of the magnitude of the challenge facing all of us in the next few years.
We won't need just a few of these re-oriented people. As an industry, we'll likely need hundreds of thousands of these people.
Two Kinds Of Cloud Architects
This wasn't just "more certifications" -- it was the ability to use existing knowledge in entirely new ways.
Progress was made for a while, until another sobering realization became apparent: there were actually *two* key architecture roles required -- one, a sort of bottoms-up technology enabler architect, and second, a sort of tops-down process re-engineering architect.
People we were meeting in these roles tended to orient one way or another -- but rarely both. So the pragmatic decision was made to establish two distinct flavors of "cloud architects".
In retrospect, I think this was a wise and insightful choice.
EMCCA -- EMC Cloud Architect -- Virtual Infrastructure
You needed people who knew a whole lot about virtualization, and enough about other disciplines (storage, network, security, data protection, applications, etc.) to envision end-state virtual infrastructure, and manage the transition from A to B.
In one sense, these people are the "infrastructure enablers" -- they create the cloud-like environment that can support the next-gen processes and workflows that will be needed in this new environment.
Implied in this work is re-orienting traditional and specific technology-oriented disciplines (e.g. storage, server, etc.) to the new workflows and processes coming from the other side of the equation.
EMCCA -- EMC Cloud Architect
They define the sequence of service catalog offerings that will be delivered either internally to other parts of IT, or externally to the business.
They design the supporting processes that re-factor existing processes into entirely new processes designed for efficiency and robustness.
They define a sequence of new engagement models with business stakeholders to incorporate and engage with these new processes. They drive organizational changes towards the new model.
Essentially, they are leading the charge to IT becoming a service, rather than a collection of legacy disciplines and processes.
Note that the prerequisite for this certification is the previous one.
We all are acutely aware that people doing process design ought to have a good grasp of how stuff actually works :-)
Caveats And Qualifiers
Let's face it -- this is an entirely new topic in the industry. Although we at EMC feel well-qualified to use our existing capabilties and heritage to tackle this challenge, we have to frankly admit this is a very fast moving topic. We're going in eyes-open.
Most definitely not.
But for enterprise IT organizations that have decided on a private cloud approach, and have selected VMware as their initial standard, there's a lot there to offer today.
And, let's be clear, there are many other roles to address -- not only relatively new roles in this new world, but re-orienting more traditional roles to what will be required in this new world.
As an example, speaking from a storage guy's perspective, how you do storage in this world is very different indeed. So there's a lot more to go do.
That being said, I'm proud to be working for a company that recognized an industry and customer challenge, and is making active investments in re-tooling IT professionals for this new world. Find out more over at the EMC Education portal (note: Powerlink credentials might be required) or the EMC Proven Professional community.
So, what's in your skills portfolio?