AWS Public Sector Blog

Investing in continuous learning to grow your organization’s future

Many organizations invest in infrastructure for future needs but may overlook needed technical training and cloud modernization skills for people within the organization. As a result, efforts in a cloud transformation journey may falter due to missing capabilities. Amazon Web Services (AWS) helps customers adopt the necessary AWS Cloud skills to modernize workloads as their organizations grow. For example, the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (AWS CAF) provides guidance outlined in six different perspectives for an organization’s cloud transformation journey. One of these perspectives, People perspective: culture and change, addresses how to develop capabilities for the growth of people within an organization.

In this blog post, learn how developing key capabilities within the People perspective of AWS CAF can support long-term mission success.

Long-term effects of time on organizational capabilities

Figure 2. Effect of time on capabilities.

With all other things being equal, capabilities within an organization can diminish over time because of employee attrition, technology obsolescence, and macro-environment changes. As employees separate from organizations, they take with them valuable organizational knowledge acquired over time. Additionally, deployed technologies and technology methods become obsolete and depreciate over time. Lastly, changes in an organization’s macro environment, such as external competition and innovation, can render internal capabilities less useful. Organizations with diminishing capabilities may implement shortcuts to keep pace in their industry, which can create technical debt. For example, an organization that is under staffed might feel industry pressure to update its obsolete web platform. Writing the new platform updates in a coding language that performs functionally, but does not allow for future modern application design methods, is one such shortcut that can create additional technical debt. This can reduce an organization’s ability to innovate and modernize further and perpetuate the downward slope of available capabilities.

Three key “people perspective” capabilities to support long-term success in the cloud

Figure 1. The AWS CAF People perspective capabilities.

Figure 1. The AWS CAF People perspective capabilities, explained in more detail here.

The people perspective in the AWS CAF serves as a bridge between technology and business, accelerating the cloud journey to help organizations more rapidly evolve to a culture of continuous growth and learning. While the AWS CAF people perspective presents seven different capabilities, there are three capabilities that are key for an organization to grow and foster its people.

1. Culture evolution

Figure 3. Effect of culture evolution over time.

One of the largest challenges that many organizations face is in implementing long-term organizational change without disrupting shorter-term operational goals. The Culture evolution capability within AWS CAF aims to reconcile these sometimes conflicting states by acknowledging the current state and changing the culture collectively for organizational development. Culture evolution focuses on characteristics and behaviors that are aligned to innovation and modernization. Addressing the culture of the organization is fundamental to fostering success with new cloud capabilities. This acknowledges the importance of people’s values to retaining and implementing new cloud technology skills. Organizing a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) within your organization can accelerate culture evolution and empower people with change mechanisms. The CCoE is comprised of stakeholders who determine the organizational norms for what and how cloud adoption progresses. The cumulative effect of culture evolution on capabilities can mitigate other factors that drive capability loss. Plus, culture evolution helps magnify the effectiveness of other AWS CAF people perspective capabilities.

2. Transformational leadership

Figure 4. Effect of transformational leadership over time.

The success of any cloud journey depends on a plan of execution from transformational leadership. Transformational leadership requires C-level executive sponsorship and follow-through from director-level leaders to communicate the vision, priorities, and major milestones of the organization’s cloud journey. Transformational leadership changes can falter due to lack of management support or a lack of buy-in from stakeholders. AWS offers a framework of best practices for implementing these changes in the AWS Change Acceleration 6-Point Framework and Organizational Change Management Toolkit. This toolkit provides a programmatic and evidence-based organizational change adoption framework and includes a comprehensive set of templates, guidelines, and supporting artifacts, assessments, accelerators, and tools that are designed to accelerate adoption to the new ways of working when moving from the current state to a future state of cloud transformation. The framework aligns transformational leadership around six specific points of change management that can offer leaders actionable and impactful strategies for success.

3. Cloud fluency

Figure 5. Effect of cloud fluency over time.

An organization’s cloud journey on AWS requires culture evolution and transformational leadership, but also depends the acquisition of new cloud skills and fluency. Cloud fluency represents the cloud tactical capabilities and knowledge base of the people within the organization. AWS offers resources for organizations to build cloud fluency among their people. For example, AWS Skills Builder offers no cost and subscription courses covering fundamental AWS Cloud topics like: Introduction to Managing Services, Right Size Your Amazon EC2 Workload (Includes Labs), and Building Event-Driven Applications With Amazon EventBridge (Includes Labs). AWS also offers comprehensive self-paced labs in AWS Workshops and certification accreditation resources through the AWS Certification portal. Part of attaining cloud fluency is understanding an organization’s current strengths and gaps. A Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA) can help organizations evaluate their baseline cloud readiness capabilities, so organizations can make a strategic roadmap for cloud skills development.

Investing in continuous learning for your organization’s future

Without a commitment to investing in growing and fostering capabilities, an organization’s capabilities can decline over time. But increasing technical investment in people to support continuous learning can help evolve an organization’s culture. Even if your organization has neglected investment in people in the past, a new commitment to focus on the people perspective outlined in the AWS CAF—implementing culture evolution, applying transformational leadership, and acquiring cloud fluency—can help organizations counter the trend of declining capabilities. Innovation and modernization are the bi-products of this capability adoption process.

By better supporting organizational capabilities, customers can increase their capacity to use AWS Cloud services to be more efficient, resilient, and cost-effective. More importantly, organizations with increased capabilities can focus less on building and maintaining infrastructure and focus more on innovating for their mission.

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