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December 14, 2021

Attracting Talent Means Taking a Dynamic Approach to Infrastructure

Amy Fowler

The rise in modern applications has set the growth rate of unstructured data on fire, and handling all of that data can be tough. Businesses not only want to do more with it, they know that they must in order to compete. Yet many are struggling because the people inside their organizations who need to do the work often are trapped working in legacy infrastructure systems.

Not only do legacy approaches diminish business growth and the pace of innovation – they also put organizations at a disadvantage in the war for talent. In a recent CNBC poll, nearly half of respondents said that finding enough talent is one of the biggest risks they face. The World Economic Forum has been focused on the skills gap and the need for companies to recognize human capital investment as an asset. And our own customers tell us that often technology is not their biggest challenge – it is people.

In the quest to build data-driven teams, companies need critical thinkers from a diverse background, a company culture that encourages silo-breaking and critical “question-asking,” and platforms and infrastructure that support dynamic, data-driven analyses from across the business.

As the next generation of IT enters the workforce, they’re not looking to build the bridge between modern and legacy applications, they want to walk into a unified infrastructure with scale-out architecture so they’re freed up to innovate at a higher speed.

There are three key considerations as you think about the infrastructure new entrants to the workforce want. 1) To maximize familiarity, build atop cloud or cloud-like platforms. 2) Deliver as-a-service agility for infrastructure. 3) Build a performant platform so data engineers, analysts, and architects can focus on their domain problems and not “why is my query running slow?”

Without modern storage, it is complex and time-consuming to attempt adapting to modern cloud architectures and scale for multiple workloads and variable data patterns. This can ultimately diminish ROI on your valuable data assets, crippling investments in cloud capabilities that are critical to innovation, and frustrating talent at every level of your organization.

Being able to work with simple, stable, scalable infrastructure is increasingly an expectation for computer science and engineering grads, and for developers working on cloud native applications. They’ve already been working and learning in environments like AWS‘s Amazon S3, which provides object storage through a Web service interface.  Yet the reality is that most enterprises are going to have a mix of cloud-based and on-prem infrastructure. Make sure your on-prem infrastructure has many of the same attributes of the environment someone has learned on. Optimized efficiency is not only good for employees, but also for the business overall.

Grads today are looking for infrastructure that is dynamic, that can be self-service, and which doesn’t require a huge learning curve–infrastructure that you can get up and running in minutes, versus depending upon an old school IT team that you have to call and request a ticket. Nobody wants to have to stop and ask when they need a volume provisioned. Devs, engineers and data scientists want to be able to dynamically say “I need a bucket with 10 terabytes.”

Engineers are going to get frustrated if it takes too long to run a test job. And data scientists trying to build AI models or set up complex queries are not fans of having to kill 20 minutes at the coffee bar before they can come back and see the results. That’s lost productivity for the company, and a quality of life and work satisfaction issue for those folks as well.

The bottom line: People are no longer graduating college and saying “I want to be a storage admin.” It’s not a modern career path. Leaning into automation can free employees up for the higher-level contributions they want to build a career on.

In addition to having the latest work benefits and flexible policies, having a modern infrastructure is essential to attract top tech talent in today’s competitive environment. And it is that talent that will create the products and services that will be the differentiator for your organization.

About the author: Amy Fowler is Pure Storage‘s VP of FlashBlade Strategy & Operations. Amy is a global business leader with 20 years of experience building and running cross-functional teams across a number of facets of an organization, including sales and sales operations, product marketing and solutions, and go-to-market strategy and operations.

This article originally appeared in Datanami.

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