Reskilling IT for the cloud

To succeed in transitioning to the cloud, CIOs are re-inventing their IT teams to be agile and cross-functional, equipped with new skills, new roles, and a highly adaptive mindset.

Reskilling IT for the cloud
Ivanastar / Getty Images / Sam Schooler

Paul Ryan stepped into the CTO post at OpenX in 2017 and found an IT department in need of an overhaul.

OpenX, a technology company that makes a programmatic advertising platform, was still 100 percent on-prem. It had five data centers holding 45,000 servers and an IT team organized around the legacy skills needed to maintain that conventional technology stack.

“There was a vast amount of resources keeping this physical infrastructure up to date, but in this digital age it’s not a value-add activity; there’s no value in maintaining physical servers on-prem,” Ryan says.

Ryan put together an aggressive plan to move to the cloud in 2019, opting for software-as-a-service solutions in some cases and Google Cloud Platform for the remainder. It took Ryan and his team just seven months to fully migrate to the cloud, close the data centers and sell the old servers.

That, though, was only part of the transformation, Ryan says. Moving to the cloud also meant retooling his IT department — an equally significant task that required retraining, re-organizing, reassigning and even trimming his team so that they were optimized for the new environment.

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