Guys, I've been assisting clients with feasibility and integration of cloud based services for over 4 years. When does cloud start to become a service offering? I am not quite sure anymore if this is a niche. After I did my first cloud transition for a large Uni, I was doing a lot of consulting with other universities as it was a bit of a bleeding edge project.
IMHO feasibility and integration are two important areas to assess and address within the consultancy and assisting your client with the decision making process if a cloud based platform/service/storage/application is the best solution for their business problem. Here is what I have seen in the past 4 years - a view of cloud from a migration perspective only leads to failed projects. There are significant business issues to address before one can make the decision, risk assessment is an area that must be in the consultants tool set. I also think that it is important to know the players and their services in and out and keep yourself abreast of the market. Some of the Tier 1's such as HP are offering Cloud but it is really a rebadged centralised computing platform.
Typically, I would take a client right back to a business case stage and explore the options based on economic, cultural, ongoing support, integration and technical criteria and I would include an exit strategy and the ability to separate data from application tiers in hat assessment.
From a training perspective, I would recommend Michael may need to get the skills to undertake a feasibility study and the development of a business case, I would also recommend that some form of enterprise architecture is desirable. Cloud has some interesting aspects in the data and privacy space and you need to understand the legislative framework of your country at a high level - and understand the Patriot, Safe Harbour and other data protection acts that go beyond borders.
If you look at a Salesforce for example, the way requirements are done is a bit different than the way we did it in ye good olde days and Salesforce provide training how to do that. Not every project is suitable for a Salesforce app and you need to understand how you can assess that pretty quickly. I am being a bit specific, but it is to illustrate a point.
Integration is a key component of implementing cloud based services, and I have done some training on data modelling, applications architecture and all that good stuff. I guess any cloud based migration requires a transition to an operational mode, whereby the support and service delivery frameworks are almost like an outsourced structure, so if you want to do some end to end consulting from feasibility through to implementation migration and transition, I would also suggest ITIL foundation is a good training.
A lot of the cloud providers (wether it be for collaboration, storage, application or any other service in the cloud) work with integrators, I guess you could choose to get on board with one of those companies for a bit before you venture out on your own. Having said that, I jumped in a project that implemented a cloud based environment with a different set of eyes and somehow ended up as an "expert" - which still makes me laugh but it also keeps me in contracts.
Technically? APIs, Python, migration tools, data conversion, .NET, third party controls. I guess has all come in handy for me but the technology side is not my forte - feasibility, project planning, risk management, exit strategy and integration has been feeding my desire for wine and cheese for quite a while.
Sheesh I am always wordy, I don't get out much . Chip and Glen are right, if you apply broader high level skills that I have mentioned to Cloud, even when Cloud becomes Rain or Thunder, you can continue to work.
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