For many organizations, adopting cloud computing is as much about accelerating innovation as fostering cultural change. With the paradigms of innovation shifting from waterfall and iterative methodologies towards a more dynamic approach, how do organizations move forward without alienating their employees?
Pravin Raj, Global Head of Practice Development at Amazon Web Services, faces questions around these challenges all the time. In his session at AWS Summit New York 2018, Raj acknowledged that pressing issues such as skills gaps, security concerns, and workload migration priorities still matter, but what executives really worry about are how their teams will respond to cultural change. Many of the worries that keep executives up at night stem not from choosing the wrong cloud platform, but from how these issues may impact employees.
Even with the worries of upheaval, Raj says that “the team you have today is largely the team you will have tomorrow” because even with the arrival of new technologies, there will still be a need for staff. At his session, he provided five best practices to help teams prepare.
5 best practices for preparing your team for cloud transformation
- Acknowledge Transformation is Happening: To start, leaders must acknowledge that change is actually happening and communicate the potential ups and downs of the organization. The graphic below, adapted from the Kübler Ross Model, illustrates how to communicate to employees along each area of the change curve. No matter where employees might be, leadership must show a continued commitment towards a successful outcome.
- Invest in Training: AWS CEO Andy Jassy is known for saying that “there is no compression algorithm for experience.” While dabbling in the theoretical is great for learning the fundamentals, there is no substitute for hands-on experience, which can include creating and experimenting with various cloud solutions in a closed sandbox. Once employees undergo training, they can understand where their skills fit and where they can contribute.
- Ship Something of Importance: While leveraging internal consulting firms to assist in go-to-market is an option, Raj believes that the ultimate goal is self-sufficiency. Thus, the greatest thing an organization can do to demonstrate their competency is to build and ship a product. One way to begin is by creating a Cloud Center of Excellence (CoE), a cross-functional group within your organization that brings together product managers and engineers to devise best practices.
- Start the Path to Certification: The next step to drive transformation is through technical and business certification. Getting certified not only proves competence, but also inspires others in the organization to pursue certification too, leading to greater adoption. As a best practice, Raj believes organizational leaders should pursue certifications to lead by example.
- Transition Job Titles and Roles: With cloud transformation finally complete, it’s also time to create new job titles commensurate with the work being done. Raj shared this slide to show how roles can evolve.
Inspire Your Team to Cloud Transformation
The move to the cloud is a long but rewarding journey. Successful migration hinges not only on selecting the right cloud solutions but also on your ability to develop a collaborative and open culture.
As a leader in the enterprise training space, we understand what’s at stake in cloud transformation and have developed a comprehensive platform to help organizations take their teams to the next level. Learn how we can help your teams succeed with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and more at cloudacademy.com.
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