Betfair CIO: Shortage of VMware skills meant we had to cross-train staff

MichaelBischoffThe CIO of online gambling website Betfair, Michael Bischoff, has suggested that there is a shortage of VMware skills on the market, which led the firm to train its existing staff.

In an interview with Computing, Bischoff explained that one of the biggest challenges in moving to VMware’s hybrid cloud environment, dubbed vCloud Hybrid Services was to ensure that its staff had the requisite skill set to operate the technology.

Initially Betfair had signed a deal with now defunct systems integrator 2e2, and after 2e2 became bankrupt, the gambling firm decided to complete the majority of work in-house, with the help of VMware.

“We made a very conscious decision after 2e2 went bankrupt, that this is important enough for us to do [ourselves], having said that this is not an area where there are lots and lots of skills in the market, we see it improving but it is a relatively difficult skill to find,” he said.

In order to ensure Betfair’s staff had the skillset required, Bischoff said it cross-trained some of its staff, and recruited additional technical capabilities.

“These are technically complex skills in using VMware’s technologies and are relatively scarce, although it was certainly worse 18 months ago. We’ve grown our own staff into these roles and we’ve moved people from adjacencies like storage, compute and networking into this space because they have the understanding of our environment and we’ve augmented those with some skills from the market as well,” Bischoff said.

“We feel like this is an area where we should have some core competency,” he added.

Bischoff stated that there had also been a cultural shift which affected Betfair personnel.

“What had historically been manual steps are now done through API’s or workflow processes [which are automated], meaning there is less manual labour done in order to get an activity completed like a deployment of software or provisioning of environment. So people are spending more time on the value-add of developing new applications for our customers than they are on managing infrastructure,” he explained.

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