A New Paradigm for Cloud Training is Needed (and Other Insights We Can Democratize)

It’s no secret that cloud, its supporting technologies, and the capabilities it unlocks is disrupting IT. Whether you’re cloud-first, multi-cloud, or migrating workload by workload, every step up the ever-changing cloud capability curve depends on your people, your technology, and your business requirements.
Any new technology comes with growing pains. As cloud computing increasingly becomes an enterprise core competency, the skill demands for IT teams are both essential to digital transformation initiatives and increasingly scarce. There is broad consensus that the skills gap directly impedes the flexibility of delivery, cost savings, and scalability that companies can expect to achieve in the cloud.
Cloud teams require a range of skills and expertise to operate across a wide continuum of vendors, technologies, and business requirements. The popularity of a multi-cloud strategy places even greater requirements for the right mix of skills and experience for teams responsible for managing and securing them. Cloudify reports that the 84% of companies running multiple clouds are using up to nine vendors on up to four clouds. 

84% of companies running multiple clouds are using up to nine vendors on up to four clouds. 

For organizations trying to create value and stay competitive, the stakes are high when it comes to deciding where to invest in skills for the greatest value and fastest return. While recruiting might get you halfway there, it won’t prepare you beyond a short-term roadmap. The leading organizations have or are recognizing that building skills from within is by far the best long-term option to remain competitive.

A new paradigm for training is needed

Naturally, some companies will look to their learning and professional development departments for help. However, traditional training methods simply aren’t designed to meet both the immediate- or the long-term results that healthy businesses require. Self-guided and legacy LMS solutions are not built for today’s teams and technologies, which require training that is hands-on and interactive. In-person training doesn’t address diverse starting skill sets, is impossible to measure, and is costly. 
Companies are seeking programmatic, data-driven training solutions that will reliably keep their organizations competitive. This represents a paradigm shift for the training industry as we know it. And, indeed, a paradigm shift is exactly what’s needed.   

Treat the “cloud skills gap” as a dynamic business problem that’s here to stay.

If our work with some of the largest organizations has taught us anything, it’s that companies have to treat training and enablement like any other business initiative core to the survival of the organization. The successful organizations are the ones sizing the problem, establishing meaningful expectations around ongoing training programs, and constantly measuring progress toward ever-changing desired future states. These are the organizations that have realized that it’s not about checking static checkboxes — it’s about continuous improvement.
Here are some other insights from some of our most forward-looking customers.

Making training available is necessary, but insufficient on its own. 

Left up to good intentions, “training time” rarely happens. Without assessment, managers don’t have a good way to determine their team’s competence or measure their progress toward it. Without management, executives can’t answer a simple question like, “Are these teams on track for their training objectives?” Training should include assessment (to know where you’re starting from), management (to know where you’re going and how to get there), and measurement (to know how teams are performing) to be successful. Training Plans enable centralized control for organizations seeking a no-nonsense approach to building and maintaining a competitive edge.

Organizations benefit from training that addresses the full range of stakeholders. 

Business professionals in non-tech roles will need to be able to talk about cloud at a high level to interface with other teams or to sell solutions more effectively. Teams already working in the cloud need deeper training in the context of your stack and deep expertise to evaluate platforms and performance or to implement advanced security or cost optimization measures. 

Business professionals in non-tech roles will need to be able to talk about cloud at a high level

A recent IDC study recognized that comprehensive training leads to the greatest benefits of cloud computing. This refers to training of eight or more hours, delivered to multiple audiences, covering four topics: “cloud technologies or platforms, methodologies or processes, organizational objectives, and potential use of the cloud.” The study’s focal length is short and its breadth is limited, however, given the dynamic nature of cloud technologies, all stakeholders need continuous training plans with a periodic assessment to ensure that progress is aligning with desired future-state targets based on industry and technology to keep skills current. 

Technology- and platform-specific certifications don’t go far enough.

Vendor certifications are useful for acquiring foundational knowledge or for validating a specific skill set. On their own, they are insufficient for addressing how those skills will be applied in the context of your environment and your technology stack. Being able to lead a migration strategy or to architect security and compliance across all of your platforms are complex operations that will require more organization-specific training. Custom certification programs that align with the context of the role, the environment, the technology, and your internal processes will yield greater operational benefits, faster.

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