Cloud fluency - AWS Cloud Adoption Framework: People Perspective

Cloud fluency

Build digital acumen to confidently and effectively use cloud to accelerate business outcomes.

The requirement for an exceptional workforce goes beyond adapting to a digital environment. The greatest challenge is not the technology itself, but rather the ability to hire, develop, retain, and motivate a talented, knowledgeable, and proficient workforce capable of using technology to drive business outcomes.

Start

Assess current capabilities through a Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA). This will be at a high level and give initial areas of focus. Cloud learning and development should become a part of the existing training strategy for your technology, business, and finance workforce. Information and analysis from the MRA may be used to inform this strategy. Learning requirements should be linked to how the cloud will generate business value.

Business value should be considered across the four pillars of the Cloud Value Framework, including cost savings, staff productivity, operational resilience, and business agility. Learning needs typically focus on either staff productivity or business agility, both of which are enhanced through learning about how to get the best out of the cloud, though there are benefits that will be gained in the other areas as well.

Begin building the foundational skills to understand and use cloud. General information sessions, town halls, and lunch-and-learns should be offered widely to both business and technology stakeholders to explain the value that cloud brings. Create an information repository or self-help site on your intranet for whitepapers and articles that may be of interest. Begin exploring AWS Skill Builder for both technical and non-technical staff, or those who may already have projects running on AWS and require some formal training.

Offer informal training, such as webinars or simulators, to build interest and generate momentum for change in the existing workforce. Identify those that will become part of an initial Cloud Foundation Team and offer them formal classroom training. They will need to be “ahead of the game” when it comes to both business and technical skills. They will then be able to place cloud value in the context of the organization.

Advance

Your organization will now have some cloud knowledge, and will be able to make informed decisions around how it wants to achieve business value through cloud. It should now look to baseline its cloud skills through a more formal Learning Needs Analysis. This allows your organization to develop a targeted training strategy specifically for cloud and those who will be involved. This will be informed by your workforce transformation and your organizational design work. For more information, refer to AWS Ramp-Up Guides and the article “Is Your Under-skilled Workforce Holding You Back from Digital Transformation?

Using the output of the Learning Needs Analysis, you can now start building individualized training programs alongside your organizational design and target operating model. This will be a key responsibility of your cloud training team, focused on designing and coordinating role-based cloud training. Your cloud training team should be aware of and use courses available from AWS and third-party training providers. The training team can be part of the enterprise training function in your HR department.

Relevant OKRs may include:

  • Objective — AWS platform teams are available to sustain, optimize, and grow workloads.

  • Key result — There is a compute team, a networking team, a database team, and a security team. Each team member has obtained relevant AWS certifications.

At this stage, training should begin to cover intermediate and, in some cases, more advanced content, including specialty certifications. Use AWS Skill Builder to develop your training plans. Training should now include the following elements:

  • Classroom (virtual or in person).

  • Experiential training, such as immersion days.

  • Certifications (both technical and business).

  • Challenges.

  • Hackathons.

  • GameDays.

Excel

Just as organizations do with their technology products, they must also iterate to achieve cloud fluency. Consider implementing a skills guild. This will help maintain excitement and momentum around a continuing transformation journey. The AWS Skills Guild is a programmatic approach that helps accelerate cloud outcomes by creating excitement, creating cloud advocates, sharing knowledge and best practices, and nurturing a culture of learning for builders and innovators.

A skills guild helps form communities of practice consisting of individuals with mutual interests within your organization. These can run along functional lines such as software development, infrastructure operations, or machine learning (ML). Depending on the nature of your organization, they could also be formed around your lines of business, such as consumer packaged goods, industrials, or supply chain and logistics. A combination of both may be suitable.

These communities of cloud experts participate in activities to grow their knowledge, evangelize the capabilities and services in their domains, and support customer (both internal and external) engagements. They share best practices, case studies, and lessons learned with one another for the mutual benefit of all. Community members, as experts, collaborate with other skilled practitioners and are connected with opportunities for networking and career advancement. These communities allow for formal and informal mentoring and shadowing activities, further helping to develop your workforce.

Organizations are increasingly seeking to become data driven. This relies upon being data literate, which in turn relies upon having the right skills and capabilities within the organization. Building data literacy starts with agreeing on the level of proficiency that is needed. From there, you can develop a plan for how to upskill your workers. Technologists with AWS experience may begin working towards their Data Analytics certification. This will equip them to use platform tools to generate insights that can in turn generate business value.