Without a doubt, the shift to the cloud is having a powerful impact on organizations as a whole. But -- and this is something that not many companies entirely realize -- it has  also dramatically affected the role of IT admin -- to the point where the daily grind in this unit is almost completely unrecognizable.

So says David Politis, CEO and founder of BetterCloud. If anyone would know it would be someone like him.

BetterCloud has been conducting surveys of companies moving the cloud, either in a hybrid fashion or full press on (read this earlier article for more information about the surprising growth spurt of the latter). The company has also been delving into which platform — Google or Microsoft — companies opt for as they take this journey.

So What About the Cloud?

In this latest survey, BetterCloud has taken a look at how cloud adoption changes the role of the actual people who have to mange it.

Short answer: a lot.

It also examined how these changes have affected IT operations as a whole.

Short answer: it has freed up enough time for IT to take up strategic project.

Here's what it didn’t get into that much: how is the C-suite managing this shift within IT? The reason for that Politis told CMSWire is that this shift is only just beginning and executives are not completely aware of its ramifications.

Google Apps Admins vs. Office 365

As usual, there were surprises were among the findings. For example, BetterCloud expected Google Apps admins to have fewer years of experience than Office 365 admins, mainly because Google Apps organizations are generally smaller and founded more recently. Yet regardless of several variables, such as size of the organization, organization age, position on the cloud adoption curve, Google Apps and Office 365 admins have nearly identical years of experience.

"This goes to show that even though the tools and methods are changing, IT professionals aren't changing careers or losing their jobs, in fact they are likely more important now than ever," Politis said. "The same people that helped install an on-premises server will be the same ones to lead the shift to the cloud."

Adieu to Maintenance

That finding, however, was a side note to the report. Its main takeaway was that cloud adoption frees up significant time and resources within IT admin -- time that once was spent on routine maintenance.

The survey found that a "staggering" 94 percent of admins that use cloud office systems and currently run all of their IT in the cloud agree they are saving time on everyday IT tasks. Meanwhile a majority, 78 percent of admins at companies that are taking a slower path to full cloud adoption say the same.

On average, the quickest cloud adopters are:

  • Spending 25 percent less time on scheduled maintenance tasks
  • Spending 23 percent less time on unscheduled maintenance tasks
  • Spending 20 percent less time on storage and quota management
  • Spending 27 percent less time on data recovery
  • Spending 21 percent less time on upgrades.

Now, with these tasks largely automated,  IT admins are investing their time in such strategic projects as collaboration and end-user training, application integration and development, infrastructure improvements and security enhancements, reporting, data analysis and professional development.

These are still early days, though, for IT admins as they remake their schedules, Politis said.

"I think what we’re seeing is that this shift to non-routine, more strategic is still a relatively new phenomenon within the IT professional community," he said.

As for the C-suite, recognition is dawning as well about what the shift to cloud can mean for internal resource — but that recognition is lagging behind IT professionals as they come to their "aha" moment of the time savings offered by the cloud, he continued.

Title image by Mikael Kristenson.