For years every technologist has been talking about how cloud-based virtualization is the way to do business. Instead of building a data center, customers can pay a few pennies per hour per virtual machine or even physical hardware and have exactly what resources they need for exactly the right amount of time.
With additional features such as auto-scaling and automatic shutoff, customers don’t need to worry about running up against resource limitations that could hamstring their application performance. The old days of building a high fixed-cost data center and then waiting for the business to arrive are over. Now, you sign up with one of many cloud providers and be up and running by the afternoon, doing investor demos by tomorrow morning.
The future of IT staffing will be no different. For a lot of small companies, it makes very little sense to interview, hire, and train someone, only to have them leave to go work somewhere else. There is no way to obligate someone contractually to work for you, no matter how much you pay them.
The solution to this conundrum will look something like the cloud-based virtualization model, but with people. Instead of hiring a team of people and having them sit idle, the future of IT will involve project management software that automatically interfaces to outsourcing sites such as oDesk or Guru through some kind of API and automatically places a job description, takes bids based on some kind of evaluation heuristic, and automatically extends contracts to people who fit the acceptable parameters.
Though a feedback loop much like cloud-based monitoring, individuals will join and depart as they are needed. The end result will be better usage of talent, and fewer labor market inefficiencies. Best of all, small one and two person firms will be able to lay claim to a whole virtual board room of executive talent even if they only pay them a fraction of their salary.