Staffing Challenges Offer Opportunity for Channel

More than 65 percent of organizations surveyed by 451 Research said that recruiting for roles across both traditional servers and converged infrastructure is increasingly difficult.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

August 21, 2017

3 Min Read

A new global survey by 451 Research shows a continuing strong opportunity for channel partners to guide their customers along their paths of compute transformation.

451’s latest Voice of the Enterprise: Servers and Converged Infrastructure study finds that as the rise of IT generalists continues, the lack of specialist server skills grows. It represents about 525 completed surveys and 19 hour-long interviews from pre-qualified IT decision-makers primarily based in North America, Europe and Asia.


451 Research’s Christian Perry

Christian Perry, research manager for Voice of the Enterprise at 451 Research, tells Channel Partners public cloud adoption is inevitable, and organizations continue to investigate those services for any and all potential workload migration.

“But they are increasingly doing so in realistic fashion, meaning they’re eyeing those public cloud costs and comparing them as best as possible against on-premises resources,” he said. “That’s where channel partners can step in and help customers identify the correct balance of on-and off-premises resources, and follow through with services that help enable an optimal hybrid environment.”

More than 65 percent of organizations said that recruiting for roles across both traditional servers and converged infrastructure is increasingly difficult. This comes at a time when organizations are looking to hire more server-based IT staff rather than reduce it in light of continued public cloud migration.

The key driver for increasing server-related employees in the next 12 months was overall business growth at 67.7 percent, followed by IT organizational changes at 42.4 percent. The survey found that concerns continue over the long-term costs of using public cloud, spurring some IT managers to preserve or even expand their on-premises servers and converged infrastructure to support certain requirements.

“That server staffing isn’t declining, even in the face of continued cloud migration, is at once surprising and promising,” Perry said. “To us, it reflects not only real concerns about the costs of long-term public cloud adoption, but also the preservation of on-premises server infrastructure.”

With the rise of cloud migration, 451 expects the global pool of available full-time employees dedicated to server administration will decline. When asked about hiring difficulties, almost 70 percent of respondents said that current candidates …

… lack skills and experience. Also, a lack of candidates by region and high salaries points to a shrinking set of available talent.

The evolving makeup of IT teams also is impacting the availability of server personnel. When asked to identify which best characterizes the layout of their IT technical teams, respondents were split nearly evenly between two key IT archetypes, with two in five (40 percent) choosing IT specialists and another two in five (39 percent) choosing IT generalists. During the last two years, 451 Research has reported a trend veering toward generalists, particularly as automation, orchestration and software-defined technologies take hold.

“It’s difficult to overcome cloud-first initiatives currently under way in many organizations, where any workload introduction or expansion is considered first in public cloud environments,” Perry said. “Channel partners face the same challenge that direct-sell vendors do — sales engagements are increasingly successful when the business demands are understood and taken into account. IT does not always have good visibility into business strategy, and they don’t always need to, but purchases of servers and converged infrastructure are ultimately more likely and potentially larger when they align well with business plans. This means the channel must work to either speak to business leaders, along with IT, or help IT effectively connect with business leaders to understand their requirements and preferences.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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