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Analysis: Skills change, shortage doesn't

Brian Karlovsky | July 3, 2014
The emergence of analytics is also set to create strong demand for people with the technical knowledge.

"When you look at the research output from China, it's gone up almost exponentially. We can't afford not to change with them or their change will leave us behind."

Inflection point Data#3 managing director, John Grant, said the IT industry had reached an inflection point around the eternal IT skills shortage cycle. "The skills shortage has been around forever and, at Data#3, our experience has been that there's always a shortage of the best skilled people," he said. "However, there's also no doubt that we have got an inflection point and we're positioning for the fact that our market is transitioning.

"The skills we will need tomorrow are different from the skills we have got today. The skills will be much more around the business objectives and much more with the user rather than IT groups."

Grant said from a technical skills point of view the company had made significant investments in Cloud and hybrid IT skills. "It has required us to build a lot more stuff than we would have normally done, from software development, all the way to infrastructure configuration, and integrating products that are not the normal products for us," he said.

"So really good technical people now need to change their skills sets. In the past, they might normally be around Cisco Wi-Fi, for example, but now they need to be into the integration of various products to provide a new solution for customers."

Grant said Data#3 had a hybrid Cloud, where it had taken multiple software products, put those together to provide the whole portal experience, and that the key element was in software development.

"There's no doubt about it, the future is about apps and software that integrates and there's a shortage of skills. We also just bought a share in Discovery Technology, a Wi-Fi analytics company. That's where we see the future."

Grant said there were also shortages in application development and infrastructure integration. "The deal is we all have to learn on the job," he said. "They key is technology and technology consumption are in transition and the skills are different to what they have been. If we understand that then we understand what we need to take to our customers, then we will understand what the skills are to support that and we will find ways of delivering them."

According to IDC, more than 80 per cent of "killer apps" on the Third Platform will be data-intensive by 2018, often harnessing real-time information from social networks.

It also forecasts Australia's Big Data market will grow to be worth more than $530m by 2017. The resultant growth in data traffic means IT managers will require new modes of securing and managing additional bandwidth to maintain the performance of business critical applications. "Enterprises will continue to have to throw additional bandwidth at their networks, as well as to add intelligence to these networks - to be able to handle traffic flows, complex application and quality-of-service requirements and to ensure applications align with and are responsive to future business needs," according to the report.


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