AWS Training and Certification Blog

Planning your cloud migration? Don’t overlook cloud education

There are as many reasons to move to the cloud as there are organizations considering it. The decision to migrate depends on how much infrastructure and data needs to be moved, what needs to be re-architected in a cloud-native technology, and what skills require development. As a result, every migration is different, with unique parameters, goals, and timelines.

But one factor is proving common among enterprises: the need for concurrent cloud education. It’s well documented that globally, there’s a cloud skills gap impacting businesses’ ability to attract and retain cloud talent. In fact, according to 451 Research, 85% of organizations report deficits in cloud expertise in one or more cloud disciplines today, compared with just 50% in 2016. No matter why, how, or when you’re migrating to the cloud, your people are going to need to learn about the new tools at their disposal—and what they can do with them.

People are at the heart of a successful migration

AWS Skills Guild is a comprehensive skills enablement program designed to build cloud fluency across an organization and the team at Amazon Web Service (AWS) helps enable enterprises so they can run their own internal cloud training programs. It’s clear to the AWS Skills Guild team that when it comes to cloud education and training, engaged people are at the heart of a successful migration. Skilled employees are key in aiding a smooth migration and bolstering successful cloud adoption.

In each instance, when businesses decide to migrate to the AWS Cloud, we recommend they meticulously plan their journey with clear objectives around technology adoption, cloud skills, and ownership. Many who have implemented an internal cloud skills training program have recognized the importance of having an educated, energized staff ready to innovate with their new cloud-enabled capability.

The bottom line: your people are the real drivers of successful outcomes in any cloud migration strategy.

When’s the right time to start learning about the cloud?

Some cloud migrations take longer than others due to scale and complexity, but it’s never too early to begin the cloud education process with employees.

Certainly, the initial architecting and technical side of the migration should be handled by cloud experts. Involving cloud-fluent business professionals and operations staff in this planning will help align the effort with business objectives. Once the strategy for migration is set and the timeline is moving, it’s time to begin developing cloud skills in all your people.

AMP, an Australian-based wealth management company that was established in 1849, has undertaken a cloud migration in recent years. Its cloud strategy includes an aim of having no physical infrastructure supporting it to drive simplification of its products and services, and enhance the customer experience. To achieve this, the company is taking a measured approach to move workloads and applications while uplifting technology controls and enhancing risk frameworks.

In addition to the technical migration taking place, AMP worked with the AWS Skills Guild team to launch what they’ve named, the AMP Cloud Academy. The Academy helps employees understand not just the “what,” “when,” and “how” of cloud, but also the “why.”

In its first year, more than 500 AMP employees completed a course at the Academy. This commitment to education and skills training is just one of the ways AMP is helping its employees become future-ready, supporting the organization to drive innovation by moving from cloud-first to cloud-only. The program is also an example of AMP’s investment in cloud fluency to not only help build cloud talent internally but also attract and retain it.

“To be competitive, stay relevant, and drive the business agenda for innovation and client experiences, it’s important we invest in our people,” said Abdullah Khan, AMP Director, Group Technology.

The Academy has been impactful not only for the team handling the migration but also for the teams handling the legacy infrastructure. The physical infrastructure team began cloud training early on, well before the migration commenced. They’ve been armed with foundational knowledge of the AWS Cloud, how it works, and what can be done with it. As a result, when reviewing their applications and systems in preparation to migrate, the team can think beyond just optimizing their existing infrastructure. They’ve been able to reimagine the way they could achieve the same goals with an entirely new approach.

“Knowledge is power. Understanding what technology can do for us, and how we can implement the change with confidence, is important,” said Em Khan, AMP Platform Support Manager.

Who needs to learn about the cloud?

The first thing you need to know about supporting a cloud migration with skills is that cloud education is not just for those in technical roles. There are more people than you may first expect can benefit from cloud fluency.

For the business to be aligned and committed to the strategy, business professionals, including the C-suite, need to be able to have cloud fluent conversations with their technical counterparts. They need to be able to converse in the language of the cloud, understand what’s possible in the new paradigm, and know when to use their new capabilities to create a competitive advantage.

“We established the Academy, in partnership with AWS, to drive the next iteration and evolution of our cloud fluency across all levels of business and technology, including our executives, to ensure we, as an organization, understand what cloud is and how it can unlock business value,” said Abdullah Khan.

What does everyone need to know about cloud?

The amount of learning required for different role types will vary, especially between business and technical professionals.

We’ve already established that a broad base foundational training is proven to be highly beneficial to organizations migrating to the cloud. Beyond this, the AWS Skills Guild team works directly with enterprises to recommend a plan for intermediate and advanced cloud training. A successful transformation will require a core cohort to train further in the cloud, earn more advanced certifications, and become drivers of more ambitious and impactful cloud projects.

Cloud-thinking embraces agility and the ability to fail fast. It leads to rapid proofs of concept that quickly show whether ideas and innovations will work, without spending big time and big money. It’s a way of thinking that can fast-track innovations from conception to viability from anywhere in the business.

One of the main advantages to building cloud skills with existing technical staff is that they bring all their existing institutional knowledge—everything they know about the organization and the market in which it competes—into the new cloud-first future. When people with detailed knowledge apply new thinking to old or persistent challenges, it can be the key to unlocking a solution.

“[AMP Cloud Academy] gives me more confidence and greater efficiency in my day-to-day job,” said Aubrey Bent, AMP Platform Support Manager.

Just the beginning

Cloud education and its benefits never really end. Companies that invest in training will see the greatest opportunities emerge for their employees, who after migration, are able to turn their passion for cloud into new exploration and innovation.

Learn more about how AMP successfully implemented the Academy via AWS Skills Guild to drive digital transformation with this video.

Learn more about the AWS Skills Guild.