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The pressure to find skilled staff is set to remain a major challenge this year with the channel expecting the war on talent to continue.
With a fresh year kicking off there is an opportunity to gauge opinions about some of the issues that are likely to dominate the next 12 months. Some are still pondering over the recent warning from the World Economic Forum in its Future of Jobs study that the world of employment is being fundamentally changed by "the fourth industrial revolution" and it will be a challenge for both existing roles and those yet to emerge.
“The speed of change is phenomenal within our industry, and for technologists, remaining relevant will be the key digital skill," said Packt Publishing CEO and founder Dave Maclean.
"We cannot be complacent, lifelong professional learning is a cultural norm we must embrace, otherwise professionals risk being left behind. One only need look at the speed with which AI is embracing all arenas. Those professionals that meet that change, and upskill accordingly, will be the tech leaders of the future. Conversely, companies and professionals that don’t evolve face a far tougher future," he added.
With the growth of services like AI, micro services and data analytics there will be a need for a greater depth of skills over the course of 2019.
"The war on talent will continue into 2019 and the channel will experience a major skills shortage. From blockchain to quantum computing, AI, digital twins and enhanced data analytics, the appropriate talent to meet the demand of new innovation and changing channel business models are in short supply," said Giovanni Di Filippo, vp channels EMEA for Riverbed Technology.
"While poaching is common practice among the channel, businesses are competing within a restricted and bespoke talent pool. Over the next twelve months, channel chiefs will look to universities to source new talent and acquisitions in order to fill the skills gap. Furthermore, channel businesses will invest heavily in skills to develop and grow talent from within their organisations and provide the consultancy that customers crave," he added.
The emergence of micro services, with customers looking to pay only for the tools and applications they use rather than a suite, could also pose some problems.
Mike Guggemos, CIO at Insight, is expecting micro services will increase and as a result so will the complexity for those providing those applications.
"The rise of unbundled micro-services will put a premium on IT talent. The deployment of multiple micro-services will make security and architecture into key issues. Critical data will move between multiple providers, with varied architectures, and disparate security agreements," he said.
"Moreover, it will add complexity to cost structures as unbundling creates the potential for overall costs to go up. Demand for IT talent with technical skills, broad business expertise, and processes knowledge to manage portfolios of tools and applications will continue to increase as will salaries," he added.