Turns out the Rolling Stones had it wrong in when they told the world to Get Off of My Cloud. Now the cloud is where everyone wants to be. The 2010 IBM Global Tech Trends Survey found that 91% of IT pros polled thought the cloud would be the primary IT delivery model by 2015. The majority of respondents to our 2012 IT and Software App Priorities Survey note that cloud storage and computing is a high to medium priority for 2012.

Leverage the Cloud

Why? Cloud computing eliminates the financial and logistical overhead associated with hosting applications and ramping up rapidly by offering a cost-efficient, secure alternative to traditional hardware infrastructures.

For example, the cost of a single dedicated computer for hosting is about $3K for three years. With cloud computing, for the same $3K you can harness the power of 1,000 computers for a single day (to handle a usage spike, for example) and then just turn it off. Outside of the cloud, this level of flexibility is impossible.

Manage the Cloud

The cloud allows enterprises to get much farther with just a few end-to-end developers. This is particularly important for startups that are moving rapidly to launch new products in less time with minimal staff. These are the new skills required to manage the cloud:

• Web analytics and statistics: Driving site traffic through search and other vehicles is essential to monetization. Advertisers want the most for their money. This means analyzing user interactions and trends, discovering patterns and identifying new needs.

• Data mining: Cloud systems can be immense, so using statistical methods to spot patterns in huge data sets. This “data mining” helps organizations gain an informational advantage over competitors.

• Business intelligence: As companies hire more data miners to sift through and organize information, they need people to interpret that data and translate it into operational goals. This requires staff with a passion for engineering and competitive intelligence who can help team members understand both cloud and customer. The overwhelming majority of respondents to our 2012 IT and Software App Priorities Survey indicate that business analytics is a high priority for 2012.

Since cloud services can be managed from anywhere, location-specific hiring is less of an issue. Nearshore outsourcing may be a viable human capital strategy for rapidly growing companies seeking top talent at reasonable rates.

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