With the number of workloads moving to the cloud continuing to grow at double-digit rates through the rest of the decade, the cloud professional services market is now expected to top $59 billion in revenue by 2019.
But, according to Technology Business Research (TBR), demand for cloud professional services has yet to significantly alter the competitive IT services landscape, with Accenture, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard continuing to dominate. In fact, the leading providers of IT services are already responding aggressively to increased demand for cloud computing expertise. For example, in addition to launching a dedicated business group to service customers moving workloads to the Amazon Web Services cloud, Accenture this week announced it has completed the acquisition of Cloud Sherpas, one of the early pioneers of cloud professional services.
Extreme measures to find more talent
Additional mergers and acquisitions are likely to follow as IT services firms scramble to find talent to service growing demand for cloud expertise, which is increasingly hard to find. Already, TBR notes that the top 14 systems integrators they track have increased headcount 5.5 percent year over year in the second quarter of 2015.
Without the ability to grow enough of that expertise inside their own ranks, the only viable alternative for many IT services firms will be to pay a premium to acquire talent via the acquisition of smaller IT services firm that are “born of the cloud,” like Cloud Sherpas. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume the rate at which those deals get done should increase in the months ahead.
When it comes to cloud computing, the IT talent pool should remain fairly constrained for several more years. While many IT processes are becoming automated, the vast majority of them still require a good amount of manual intervention to implement, and it's expected to stay that way at least through 2017. As a result, IT services providers simply need more people with cloud computing expertise in order to scale their businesses.
Impact of cloud disruption
The good news is that as cloud computing continues to become a mainstream element of enterprise IT, more and more IT professionals will get exposed to it. So, it’s conceivable that the majority of IT professionals could have some level of cloud computing proficiency by the end of 2016, especially if IT services firm decide to focus more energy on training their own talent.
But between now and then, there are billions of dollars in IT services opportunities covering everything from application workloads that run entirely on a public cloud to ones that span hybrid cloud computing environments. Given the fact that hybrid clouds will soon be the de facto computing model in enterprise environments, IT services firms will be hard pressed to keep up with demand for expertise in both on-premise and public cloud computing deployments.
It remains to be seen which IT services firms will rise and fall in the years ahead, but massive disruptions on this level of scale usually shake at least one incumbent to its foundations. In fact, in terms of the delivery of IT services, it’s hard to think of anything more disruptive in scope and impact than the rise of cloud computing.