One of the most compelling ways to lower costs is to transition to cloud and virtualization, as well as to adopt bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives. However, the skills necessary to pursue these opportunities may or may not be part of your IT department today. What's more, it is possible that with options like cloud, many of the administrative and support functions will no longer be required. A cloud systems administrator may require a whole new skill set than a classic Windows system administrator.
How IT directors can adapt
As organizations continue to look for ways to maximize IT investments in their quest to move to virtualization and cloud, it is imperative to look at ways to either retrain/retool existing IT resources or start looking for ways to attract talent more relevant to the "target architecture."
For example, adoption of virtualization technologies like VDI can possibly contribute toward lowering operational costs. With VDI, an IT department may not require a team of desktop administrators whose sole purpose is to keep the images on all laptops/desktops updated.
As a result, an IT department could conceivably reduce headcount after deploying VDI. However, day-to-day administration in a VDI environment is very different than a traditional desktop/laptop environment.. The management of a VDI infrastructure requires a skill set that encompasses desktops, virtualization, server, storage, BYOD ... the list goes on. Therefore, the remaining resources will have to have different skill sets; either retrained existing resources, or net new hires.
CIOs and IT managers are left with the decision as to whether team members can quickly adapt, or whether to hire a new person that comes with the requisite cross functional lines.
What can a CIO or IT director do today? Encourage more cross-silo projects that force teams to work together. Look for the natural leaders that rise to the top, that you want to invest in, and who can lead the team to future technologies. Now is the time to create and execute on your team's development plans. The last thing you want is for your IT staff to become obsolete!