How to re-shape the skills and profiles of your IT management engineering teams

In the latest instalments of this blog series around how the infrastructure world is turning into a software engineering business, I have explored the changing face of infrastructure and why software-based control is essential. In this final article, I share tips and recommendations on how your IT management engineering teams can brace themselves for this change by reshaping their skillsets.

Looking for the right expertise

A DevOps operating model brings the obvious benefit of bringing development closer to the heart of operations, bridging the application and infrastructure cultures and blending team members’ skill sets. However, if an organization is to successfully drive the infrastructure management business, it must embrace a new level of standards in software engineering — a level very similar to today’s pure application software engineering techniques.

This shift will require future infrastructure management IT engineers to adapt and acquire a new skill profile, including disciplines that aren’t currently thought of as traditional for infrastructure management engineers. The ideal skill profile will include experience in:

  • Software programming in medium to large software projects
  • Structured, modern languages such as C#, Swift, Java, Python and Go
  • Use and creation of packages, Pod, or Nuggets and understanding the concept of a library of reusable assets and software code
  • Use and understanding of object-oriented programming, fully versed in concepts like inheritance, polymorphism, interfaces, protocols, abstraction and encapsulation
  • The do not repeat yourself (DRY) concept
    Software architecture patterns ensuring separation of concerns, like model view controller (MVC) or MVVM
  • Test-driven development (TDD) practices, automated testing, mock library and unit testing as part of a continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline
  • Leveraging source code control systems and CI/CD for any development project
  • Code validation concepts and formalisms, invariants in algorithms, proofs, state tables and Petri nets

Mapping the future of your infrastructure management business

The evolution of technology has pushed infrastructure management services to a level where it needs to address the faster speed and timing of events and higher volumes of managed assets by at least two orders of magnitude.

In previous articles, we observed how the evolution of tooling is taking a very concrete turn toward managing infrastructure. Software controlling other software and using technologies like descriptive landscapes, CI/CD and other proven software engineering techniques is becoming necessary to manage infrastructure cost-effectively, predictively and safely.

I also explained the quality liability exposure and demonstrated why rigorously managing software quality and complexity will be fundamental.

Above, we have proposed a set of software engineering skills that we believe will become standard for IT service management engineers. The onus now lies with the key stakeholders in the IT industry and the software industry to jointly become a digital services industry — and enable our businesses to become future-proof and competitive in this new world.

The workforce has to have the skills to write professional world-class robust software.

Here’s how they can do this:

  • Automating at scale, using sophisticated software engineering techniques to manage an increasingly complex digital landscape at scale and with high quality
  • Proactively preparing the workforce with skillsets that include the established professional software engineering practices necessary to develop the sophisticated controls that enterprises require

On the other hand, they can find an experienced partner to help them execute this transition.

At Atos, we have realized this shift to software engineering technologies in the world of managed IT services. With our Atos OneCloud strategic initiative, clients can avail adoption support consulting, landscape migration and ongoing management with automated techniques and APIs to drive service requests. With Google Bare Metal as a service, our BullSequana data centre servers run preinstalled commodities and applications in privileged data centers. The service effortlessly runs in the cloud and is similar to executing an API. As managed infrastructure becomes software objects, they can be ordered and managed as APIs, easily integrated in higher level controlling software.

Let's expect more to come.

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About Alexis Mermet-Grandfille
Atos Group CTO Strategic Technology Advisor Distinguished Expert of the Atos Expert Community and member of the Scientific Community
Alexis has a software engineering background with over 30 years of experience in bringing technology and innovation to the business of customers. As an ENSIMAG engineer, he has international experience in product and service-oriented businesses in a global context. After experiences at Network General corp (CA, U.S.A) and 13 years at Hewlett Packard in various architect and management positions in the Network and Global PC Business division, he joined Atos in 2013 where he has held management positions as Director of IT Service Management Development organization, Global Technical Services Architecture and CTO of the Atos/Google Alliance. He is now the Strategic Technical Advisor for the Atos Group CTO. Alexis is a member of Atos Expert Community as a Distinguished Expert.

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