Data centre skills crisis should be channel opportunity

The growing number of firms that do not have the in-house skills to navigate through a web-based future should be targets for the channel

The looming data centre skills crisis should provide the channel with an opportunity to step in and ease customer difficulties as more users look to third-parties to plug gaps in their own knowledge.

A recent report by Gartner indicated that a lack of data centre skills will have a significant impact on around 80% of businesses looking to grow and there is evidence from the EU that there will be a skills shortage in the digital sector of up to 1.3m jobs by 2020.

Some vendors are encouraging greater automation to reduce the reliance on so many staff but there is also a realisation that the technology can only go so far and the channel will have to step in more to remedy the situation.

The challenge defined by Gartner is for firms to find enough staff with digital skills around capacity and performance management, with the majority possessing traditional approaches to organisations that will not work in the web driven world.

"These operational skills and tools are currently unique to each web-scale organisation and are not yet available in most end-user organizations," said Ian Head, research director at Gartner.

"However they will be in increasingly high demand as large organizations of all types begin to pursue the tangible business benefits of a Web-scale approach to IT infrastructure," he added.

The increasing demand should spell an opportunity for the channel, with many resellers also workiong through the changing landscape to ensure they have the in-house skills to deliver managed services, cloud and data centre support.

“IT is changing rapidly but in the data centre the pace of change is spectacular. The challenge is the pace, rather than the change itself. What will, and is causing skill shortages today is the drive for more scalable IT architectures. The move towards combinations of on- and off- premise cloud solutions as well as platform and software ‘as-a-service’ models is making data centre infrastructure more and more complex," said Dieter Lott, vice president customer, business & strategic development at Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA.

"It presents an opportunity for the channel to step in and fulfil more of these roles on behalf of their customers and also answers to a certain extent, where the value proposition in the future reseller landscape lies. In turn, this is affecting the role that, we, in the distribution business play – providing both enablement and even the skills required," he added.

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