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In today's economy with sluggish job creation, there's much talk about the change in skills required in today's workforce. Drill down into the world of IT operations management, and there is an even greater shift happening, related not to the economy, but to cloud computing. The rapid adoption of private cloud architectures is creating ripple effects, not only on the way IT delivers services to its customers, but also on the types of skills IT requires to support these new architectures.



Cloud computing is heralding the most significant shift in IT skill sets since we displaced the armies of punch card operators with the IBM 3270. Cloud is a realization of utility computing, where shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand. As Gartner says in a recent report, private cloud services "will require a cultural and political change inside of IT to see the role of operations move to being more proactive - requiring predefined policies, service levels and automated actions to take on the runtime environment, as opposed to the manual initiation of scripts or workflows. This requires very different skills over time - a shift away from rote work toward more planning, service analysis and a better understanding of service users in order to continually improve how the service is ultimately delivered." (Source: Gartner "Key Considerations in the Development of a Private Cloud Architecture," August 23, 2010).

The key phrase used by Gartner is that IT personnel will require "a better understanding of service users," which means a better understanding the business which is what's driving the users to consume those IT services. In essence, cloud will necessitate IT to be more business focused. We have been talking about Business/IT alignment for too long now without sufficient progress; with the emergence of cloud models, this is no longer a choice - either IT upgrades to a business-centric service delivery function, or is ultimately to be replaced by outsourced cloud service providers that can provide utility computing services with greater cost efficiencies. That's why Business Transaction Management, or BTM, must be at the center of your cloud management capabilities, in order to effectively plan for and manage cloud services from a business perspective. In an upcoming blog post, we'll get the opinions from CIOs in the industry to understand their plans to address this rapidly changing environment.

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