July 24, 2012 – Cloud computing hasn’t led to mass layoffs or hiring of IT staff in its first stages of adoption, though continued investment has definitely changed roles and expectations of in-house data management, according to a new report and analysis from CompTIA.

According to the third annual “Trends in Cloud Computing” report from the IT advocacy organization, 83 percent of respondents reported implementation of a cloud or as-a-service offering in 2012. Increasingly, cloud architectures are taking a role at enterprises of all sizes, with approximately one-quarter of businesses surveyed stated 30 to 50 percent of their architecture was cloud based.

The creation or reduction of jobs connected with the boom in cloud computing – and the location of any new jobs – has raised industry speculation and debate. Draped over that discussion is the notion that savings is still the top driver for cloud adoption; the desire to cut costs and reduction of capital expenses are two of the top three reasons businesses reported having opted for a cloud solution, CompTIA found.

In its report, CompTIA noted a trend toward a more layered enterprise approach related to staffing rather than a clear, cut-and-dry answer. Twenty percent of enterprises reported a reduction in IT headcount from a transition to the cloud. Of the 32 percent of respondents that restructured their IT departments along with cloud implementations, 46 percent built new roles, like cloud architect or integration specialist, and 28 percent hired on new IT staff. Countering the stance that smaller organizations would be more likely to reduce IT staff with cloud adoption, 29 percent of businesses with fewer than 100 employees hired on staff related to a cloud deployment, with just slightly more larger enterprises (35 percent) taking on IT officers to handle new cloud initiatives.

Seth Robinson, CompTIA technology analysis director and an author on the report, says the realities of the cloud’s impact on hiring and the role of IT staff will play out over the next few years as implementations markedly develop.

“As the market matures, we see companies who have been using the cloud for two to three years or more becoming more likely to adopt more complex applications, such as CRM or ERP,” says Robinson. “Sixty-eight percent of companies who have adapted or purchased new IT monitoring tools say that it’s a requirement to simultaneously monitor both cloud and on-premise environments. This indicates that IT teams are taking a holistic view of their IT operations across both environments.”

Business-side understanding of the cloud has roundly spiked since the version of CompTIA’s report last year. Cloud comprehension has more than doubled compared with 2011 among business staff and executives, and small (78 percent) and medium (91 percent) of enterprises reported “familiarity” with the cloud, both large leaps from last year’s report and nearing the level of familiarity reported by  their larger counterparts, according to the report. There’s also the prospect of more cloud initiatives spearheaded outside of the IT department. Virtual desktops are in the plans for 25 percent of business users, as opposed to 15 percent of enterprise IT, and business users are either evaluating (44 percent) or planning (25 percent) for the cloud to handle new ERP implementations, according to CompTIA.

“Whether on premise, in the cloud or a combination of the two, there will remain a need for IT staff with a well-rounded set of skills,” says Carolyn April, CompTIA director of industry analysis. “So while newer types of IT staff will emerge to deal with cloud-specific services — especially as those become more complex — the core IT staffer or an outside firm such as a managed services provider will in all likelihood remain relevant to service and support ‘conventional’ IT.”

To access the report, visit here.

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