Editor’s Note: Banks have gotten the message that moving to the cloud is the right path forward for the industry, but that’s only the beginning of the work that needs to be done. Now the financial services sector is facing a shortage of skilled IT professionals with actual, practical cloud experience, and those that succeed will be the institutions that are able to use their existing resources more efficiently while also bringing on new employees and corporate partners to handle the expanding IT workload.
- Banks have committed to major cloud migration plans, with more than two-thirds aiming to have at least 30% of data and applications in the cloud within three years, according to Publicis Sapient and Google Cloud report that surveyed 250 senior banking leaders.
- Long-standing security concerns and an emerging talent crisis are primary roadblocks to cloud ambitions. More than one-third of respondents point to lack of technical skills as a key obstacle to cloud, while 42% cite cybersecurity.
- A concerted effort by IT teams and HR departments is required to recruit the needed talent, upskill current employees and bring in outside expertise, according to the report.
Success in migrating enterprise applications, data analytics and surrounds to the cloud has banks committed to increasing cloud investment over the next decade. But securing the IT talent needed to reach more expansive cloud migration goals, which include moving mainframe workloads to the cloud, presents a challenge for many banks.
Ambitious cloud goals have raised talent demand to similar levels as cybersecurity skills, according to research by consulting firm Accenture.
Cloud-based virtual infrastructure design skills, as well as containerization skills for efficiently migrating applications currently housed on mainframes are two talent areas that banks must cultivate, said Sid Nag, VP analyst, cloud services and technologies at Gartner.
People who have these skills are being hired by the cloud providers to build their own services. That makes it hard [for banks] to find the right kind of personnel, Nag said.
Managed service providers (MSP) and global systems integrators (GSP) are another major drain on the talent pool, according to Nag. But the expertise housed inside those firms can help banks move forward with cloud objectives while developing in-house talent.
You can’t buy yourself out of trouble. You can hire some people, but you also need to train your existing people, said Jan-Willem Weggemans, senior client partner and cloud lead at Publicis Sapient.
Vendor training and certification programs are another partial solution. People like certifications because they are like a badge, Weggemans said. “What you really need is people who have practical experience. We call it the battle scars.”
For smaller banks, outsourcing cloud talent is the most viable option. Larger banks are in a better position to invest both in hiring and in developing their own cloud teams. This is likely to lead to a bifurcated market, said Weggemans.
I think it’s important to distinguish between investment banks and retail banking. The investment banks have deep pockets. They can certainly hire people at the same wage structures as the cloud providers, Nag said.
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