Month: September 2016

Businesses turning to IT services providers as skills shortages continue to deepen

36 per cent of third party IT deployments driven by a shortage of in-house skills, finds Claranet

Research from Claranet has found that a shortage of in-house skills and internal IT resources are two of the most popular reasons businesses give for using IT services providers (ITSPs). For Claranet, the results confirm that ITSPs are playing a key role in plugging the technology skills gap, though the company has warned that businesses will need to select their partners carefully to achieve the desired results.

Vanson Bourne surveyed 900 IT leaders and decision makers across the six countries in which Claranet operates – the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Benelux. The research found that 36 per cent of European IT leaders choose to use Service Providers to access skills that are not available in-house. Over a third (36 per cent) also said that a shortage of in-house resources – likely linked to the shortage of in-house skills – was a factor in engaging third-party ITSPs.

The digital skills gap has become a cause for increasing concern amongst IT decision-makers over the last few years. In a recent survey, Harvey Nash talked to 3,352 CIOs and technology leaders across 82 countries, and found that 65 per cent of these were suffering from a technology skills shortage – the highest proportion since the recession, almost a decade ago. This figure is six per cent higher than in 2015, further revealing a deepening of the digital skills gap.

The quickening pace of technology makes it difficult to cultivate the in-house expertise needed to get ahead of the game. Claranet is seeing this play out with public cloud; while acceptance of public cloud is at an all-time high, businesses often lack the skills required to manage it, making the role of IT services providers critical.

Andy Wilton, CIO at Claranet, comments:

The deficit in IT skills means that businesses must be more selective about the types of skills they employ in-house and those that they choose to outsource. Organisations are competing for a small pool of IT talent, which requires making tough decisions about which exact skillsets are required within the organisation. Public cloud is particularly specialised and it can be hard to find an in-house generalist who possesses the advanced skillsets to deliver the required capabilities with confidence. But there’s a strong case to suggest that internal IT teams shouldn’t be managing servers or any sort of infrastructure at all, and instead they should plough their energies into app development. Those businesses that are winning in their markets are those that have amazing applications, so that’s where the focus needs to be.”

“The future of any European organisation that wants to insulate itself from the growing skills shortage and compete at the forefront of digital transformation lies in the ability to work with an IT services provider who can provide the pivotal IT skills needed. By doing so, companies will be able to access individuals with specialised skills on-demand and at a cheaper price.”

“However, it’s essential for organisations to find the right fit when it comes to their outsourcing arrangement. To an unprecedented degree, this choice and relationship will become critical to the healthy posture of any business. Ultimately, you need experts to help you architect the best possible solution for your applications. This will add more value to the business and mitigate technological stumbling blocks,” Wilton concluded.

Is the sysadmin dead?

With cloud-based systems and modern Linux system administration tools, developers can launch a new server (or many) with a click and call themselves DevOps.

Some systems management tools such as Red Hat Satellite Server, Nagios and Puppet simplify server configuration. For most organisations, the days of hand configuration for each server for a specific role are past.

Claranet achieves AWS Premier Consulting Partner status

Achieving the highest level of AWS partnership recognises Claranet’s depth of experience on AWS and ability to help customers transform

European managed services provider Claranet has been awarded Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premier Consulting Partner status, in recognition of the strength of its AWS practice. Claranet becomes the first provider from Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Managed Hybrid Cloud Hosting, Europe 2016, and one of only ten services providers in Europe, to have achieved the distinction to date. The AWS Partner Network (APN) is a tiered programme designed to help partners build a successful AWS stream for their business.

The criteria for achieving Premier Partner status encompass technical expertise, and successful AWS business practices and proven deployments. Premier Consulting Partners must have a strong roster of certified and trained technical consultants, an APN DevOps Competency and at least one other APN Competency. Premier Partners must also have a healthy, revenue-generating business on AWS, underpinned by significant investment in their AWS practice and a track-record of success in deploying customer solutions on AWS.

Claranet offers a holistic hybrid IT approach and is making strategic investments to build a European-wide centre of excellence for delivering managed services on third-party cloud platforms. To this end, the company acquired AWS-specialist IT services providers in Spain (Celingest) and France (Morea) in 2015 and in the UK (Bashton) in early 2016. Its AWS clients today include BBC Worldwide, Dassault, ITV, Liverpool Football Club, Orange, Superdry, and Virgin Holidays.

Olivier Beaudet, CMO of Claranet, said:

Achieving Premier Partner status is an important development for Claranet, and one that reflects the investments we have made thus far in AWS over the past few years. We see AWS as a true enabler of business agility and it forms a critical part of our product roadmap and corporate strategy. Being a Premier Partner means that we will be able to work much more closely with AWS to help our customers take advantage of the platform and transform their businesses.

There is a huge appetite for AWS in the market, but many businesses – particularly those in the mid-market – have historically been locked out of taking advantage of the enormous benefits because they lack the necessary skills. Partner programmes enable organisations to take advantage of the highly innovative infrastructure offered by AWS, but with additional services and support.”

The Premier Consulting Partner status enables Claranet access to a variety of special partner privileges. These include attendance at rigorous AWS Professional Service Boot Camp Training sessions, Customer Facing Joint Webinars with AWS, and the employee status of AWS Partner Account Manager and AWS Solution Architect.

5 ways to architect your application to maximise the value of the cloud

“All value of the field of IT is associated with applications” – Bernard Golden.

So you need to make the most of them. And there’s a lot of hype around the public cloud as a home for your applications. And its justified: whichever angle you take – cost, ease of access, maintenance, scalability, elasticity, versatility – the cloud is better than on-premises. The effect of which is that you can accelerate your application lifecycle, build better apps, faster, and beat your competition.

On paper at least.

The unsung hero of ecommerce: the humble database

On October 1st, 1962, Vassili Arkhipov – a Russian submarine commander – saved the world.

Two of his fellow commanding officers, having been out of contact with Moscow for a number of days, thought that war had broken out above the waves and gave the green light to launch a nuclear torpedo in response to American depth charges. A move which would have guaranteed nuclear war.

In a move of spectacular bravery, Vassili, whose agreement was needed to authorize the launch, refused to consent and persuaded the other two to surface and await orders.

Fear and loathing in IT: how to transform your teams’ communications

Ever known someone who just sucks at communicating? Who can’t be honest about how they feel?

“I love you.”

“Er, cool.”


That person is fooling no one. Except perhaps their partner. Unnecessary pain ensues.

Take-away: communicating openly with other human beings reduces suffering. But it’s very hard to do – which is precisely why it’s so valuable.

The straight-up, no-nonsense business value of AWS

How much of a threat are your competition?

Perhaps you work in an industry that has enormous barriers to entry and is full of old-school techies who are quite happy to bob along with the status quo. If so you can stop reading here, kick back, light up an enormous Cuban cigar, and chuckle quietly to yourself.

The likelihood is, however, that your competition is pretty tech-savvy and reasonably on-the-ball when it comes to getting innovative new products and services to market sooner rather than later.