4 Solutions to the Azure talent gap
Business transformation and optimization are major drivers behind cloud adoption today. Azure, Microsoft's public cloud, is the fastest growing public cloud platform in the world. Azure has emerged as a leader in the public cloud space given its emphasis on innovation, enterprise scalability, and security.
As Azure adoption increases among large enterprises, the question becomes what is the optimal framework to deploy this cloud technology solution? Talent gaps are a problem for any new technology. Given the sheer scale of Azure and the rapid rate of adoption, this has produced a massive talent gap that has left hiring managers fighting and scraping for every last resume. Below are four possible solutions to overcome an Azure talent shortage in your organization:
1. Hiring a permanent full-time Azure resource
The default option for most organizations and often the most cost-effective is to hire a permanent, full-time employee. Recognizing the rarity of hands-on Azure experience, organizations are often required to shell out top dollar ($120-$150k) to lure an Azure Architect away from their existing place of employment. This calls for your Human Resources team to become a head-hunting unit with clever ways to source premium talent. Unfortunately, once they're found, there is little guarantee they'll possess the wide range of Azure skills that your team needs. It's also imperative you move quick against fierce competition. Merely having "Azure" on your resume can create a bidding war among dozens of companies.
2. Staffing augmentation via Azure contract resources
As companies struggle to find permanent talent, the common reaction is to flip the requirement to an approved vendor list and solicit staff-aug help in finding the right cloud talent. The scarcity and availability of these staff-aug Azure resources are just as unpredictable as filling a permanent position. Specialized staffing vendors have greater success in recruiting a repeatable core skill-set. While there are some brilliant staff-aug Azure Architects in the market, few have read the entire book on Azure—much less the entire library of books.
3. Azure consultant from a Microsoft Partner
It's important to make the distinction between an Azure staff-aug contractor vs. a true Azure Consultant. On the surface they may seem the same but the approach and value-add are fundamentally different. The difference is a true Azure Consultant delivers tightly scoped project-based engagements (6 weeks instead of 6 months). Project-based work backed by a guarantee and a set of deliverables scoped in advance during a strategic Cloud Discovery Session.
Beyond Impact, as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, has the ability to leverage the latest cloud best-practices, Azure reference architecture(s), Microsoft resources, Azure programs, and Microsoft project funding. During these short, agile projects, our Azure consultants achieve set deliverables & milestones and will engage in co-development mentoring so your teams learn along the way.
4. Azure Managed Services
What skills does the perfect Azure Architect possess? It's fine to dream, but it's virtually impossible to find a single Azure Architect that possesses experience spanning Azure Security, Azure Storage, Azure IaaS/PaaS, Azure DR, Azure Dev/Test, Azure Data Services, Azure IoT, Azure Cognitive Services, 0365 and Azure Machine Learning. This likely would require 4+ Architects to ensure you have expertise in these core areas.
When faced with Azure needs spread across a wide range of projects—organizations must decide if it's smarter to reallocate the $10-$15/k per month that they'd spend on an Azure full-time employee for a managed services provider. What is the cost-benefit analysis of investing in one resource or a trusted Azure Managed Services partner—featuring a team of battle-tested architects with expertise in various Azure platforms and skills?
Every company's situation is unique. Acknowledging the talent gap for Azure Architects and educating your team on these four options empowers your organization to select an optimal approach to guide your cloud journey.
Robert Gerads is Director of Business Development at Beyond Impact,
a Microsoft Gold Partner and consulting firm focused on Cloud, Data,
and Analytics. Beyond Impact is based in Minneapolis, MN.