IDC’s Enterprise survey have discovered that there is generally a 50% skills gap between where IT workers skills are today and where companies want them to be in two years. This resonated with Brightsolid’s recent ‘State of the Nation Survey that culture and skills was one of the top barriers to cloud (cost was the greatest barrier at 40%, culture and skills followed at 30%).

As with any transformative technology, adoption success is rarely wholly based on technology, the likelihood is that people are very likely to be at the heart of that success, a fear of failure very likely to be the blocker. To counteract that fear, CEO’s must increasingly concentrate on culture, as Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO puts in “The C in CEO is for curator of culture”.

Nadella championed a growth mindset in Microsoft to change the culture.  Growth mindset is a concept developed by Carol Dweck and refers to the belief that intelligence and personality traits are not set in stone but can be changed through effort and learning. Failure, of course, is often the best teacher and with a growth mindset should be appreciated for this. One of the key benefits of cloud is the ability to plan for failure and use the cost saving options to stand up, test, and tear down environments.  However, having cloud before a culture that embraces this approach is unlikely to lead to success…

Skill is also challenging. The digital world is challenging expertise; the availability and access to information has never been greater, but as argued by Tom Nichols in ‘The Death of Expertise’ this can almost reduce the need for people to learn. This is further exacerbated by rhetoric about AI replacing human intelligence and many in the political realm also devaluing intelligence. However, the need to be able to apply contextual knowledge is very likely to be the differentiator between success and failure of transformation.  A culture that celebrates learning will foster the skills to ensure successful transformations in technology.

So perhaps the first step in any cloud strategy should be culture.