A mismatch between services provider needs – particularly around online – and the skilled individuals available to fill them is holding back the market, according to analyst firm Quocirca.
Quocirca has just completed a report for Citrix that suggests the appropriate "service provider culture" is emerging in Northern Europe – but 39 per cent of the 301 IT directors and managers surveyed indicated they find it difficult to get people with the right skills, particularly for "always-on" network configuration and management of application delivery.
Damian Saunders, director of cloud networking in Norther Europe at Citrix, said organisations are transitioning towards having a "24/7 online culture".
A range of industries in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland was surveyed.
An additional 26 per cent said they struggle to retain workers with the right skill sets once they had hired them.
"An enterprise network is becoming more than just infrastructure, it is evolving into a far more adaptable asset. However, businesses need to firstly address the talent issue before harnessing the network's potential with more flexible and scalable technology," Saunders said in a PR statement.
At the same time, 35 per cent of IT decision makers surveyed stated that "no one touches our network without the relevant accreditations".
Bob Tarzey, analyst and director at Quocirca, said so-called on-demand applications have become important for many businesses, and obviously the relevant skills are required.
"To provision and maintain these platforms they need to attract staff with the relevant skills," he said.
According to Saunders, there is a "significant disconnect" between the service provider culture and the availability of skills. Two-thirds of respondents indicated their organisations identified as an "online service provider".
Fifty-three per cent offer B2B services online, 42 per cent serve customers directly, 38 per cent serve partners, and 20 per cent provide online services to all three of those groups.
However, 57 per cent of those surveyed claimed they would pay more for prospective recruits with "advanced networking skills". For the subset that offers technology and communications services in particular, 68 per cent said they would pay a premium.
"Supplier accreditations are seen as a valid way of measuring the skill levels of individual engineers and many will pay a premium for them," confirmed Quocirca's Tarzey (pictured, right).
"For those pursuing a career in IT, it is not just the prospect of a higher salary that should be attractive, but the chance to be part of the future of IT delivery rather than its past."
Businesses' primary concern, according to the 301 people polled, was uptime. Ninety per cent said continuous uptime to users was important or essential. User access management and usability also rated high on the list of priorities, according to the PR statement.
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