Rumor has it that the cloud will completely automate networks and data centers, completely obliterating the need for human skills and knowledge and entire IT department within companies. Writer and consultant Xath Cruz, writing for Cloud Times, would like to put that rumor to rest.

She writes that while cloud computing, as with any major technological evolution, will certainly bring both disruption and change, its emergence does not spell certain death for traditional IT. For one thing, even though she claims more than 50 percent of enterprises plan to move their IT environment to the cloud, that transition won’t happen overnight, giving traditional IT time to adapt.

And, Cruz adds, cloud computing is not necessarily fully automated; in many cases IT tasks and responsibilities – and the correlating IT jobs — are just moved to a different location. It’s that new location where, according to IDC research, IT positions will be available in abundance. Not only that, she adds, but there will also always be a need for training and support personnel, as well as systems administrators and other similar roles.

According to IDC, the cloud will free up IT managers and other IT-related personnel to start other projects or solve additional problems that can lead to even more efficiencies and new business opportunities. And isn’t that where IT Managers expertise are best used? To solve larger strategic problems and develop new systems and infrastructure, not to tackle mundane, day-to-day network maintenance or password reset requests.

There will be, of course, a need for new skill sets as cloud computing forces a shift of focus technology to people. Perhaps, Cruz points out, this is what scares IT departments – the increased emphasis on people skills which, honestly, wasn’t incredibly important in an IT department if workers possessed enough technical aptitude.

So, yes, cloud computing will make the entire IT landscape different from what IT folks are used to, but it’s not such a big departure that they won’t be able to adapt. Traditional IT professionals just need to set aside some time to learn new standards and study new IT tools, nothing that hasn’t happened before in other industries to have experienced paradigm shifts.

The real promise is comes with organizations beginning to realize the much greater value inherent in their IT department and the need to invest in making it a more strategic business unit, rather than get rid of it entirely. This way of thinking about the change and disruption introduced by cloud computing can only help IT departments, making them even more critical to a business’s success.