"The CIOs who will fail will do so because they've forced the cloud issue with a less than holistic view of their entire organization," says Thiele. "They will end up investing millions of dollars to put something in [at the behest of their CEOs] that becomes an anchor or an eyesore for the IT organization. There's no way to underestimate the potential for that risk."
Thiele says he has observed that nightmare scenario play out inside several big financial services companies that he says spent millions of dollars to build their own private clouds only to have them fail completely.
"Without those skills, you'll be wasting your time," warns Thiele. "It'll be like having a Ferrari engine without any Ferrari mechanics around to service it."
How CIOs Should Address the Cloud Computing Skills Shortage
If Grunzweig's experience is any indicator, CIOs will not be able to rely exclusively on professional services firms to take the lead on cloud deployments. A year ago, he couldn't find any consulting firms in his budget with any knowledge of BPOS. Nor could he identify third-parties that could help him do data replication and back-up in his company's private cloud, another project he was pursuing at the time (and continues to pursue).
A year later, Grunzweig says he has a handful of consulting companies in the Los Angeles area that he can call who have a better understanding of how to back-up data in his company's private cloud. But, he is quick to add, "there is still a void of information."
Even consultants agree that CIOs will have to focus on shoring up their internal staffs' cloud computing know-how.
"By 2016, there will be more deployments of software in the cloud than on premise," says TriBridge's Pierce. "If that holds true, then right now you can't afford not to build those skills in your organization. The best way to build talent is to start doing cloud deployments and learn as you go."
David Nichols, CIO Services Leader for Ernst & Young, agrees. "The vast majority of these skills will have to be rebadged," he says. "CIOs will have to take a component of their workforces and get them skilled and up to speed. A lot of this will be trial by fire."
As Majestic Realty's experience shows, the "learn as you go" approach to cloud deployments is fraught with lessons learned, but right now it's the company's only viable option. Despite the difficulties Majestic Realty faced getting answers to their BPOS questions, Grunzweig's staff still managed to complete the project on schedule, migrating the whole company in groups over a six-week period.