AWS Training and Certification Blog

Why training existing staff was critical to BP’s digital transformation

BP, a global oil and gas company operating in 79 countries, has 70,100 employees and saw revenues of $278 billion in 2019. The company finds and generates oil and gas; refines, manufactures, and markets it; and then delivers the energy through its 18,900 retail sites. BP is in the process of migrating two huge on-premises data centers to the AWS Cloud.

In this podcast episode, Jake Burns, AWS Enterprise Strategist, speaks with Ollie Simpson, leader for cloud transformation and learning at BP. Their conversation focuses on how BP is responding to a need for skills and talent throughout its cloud adoption.

Simpson started his career by launching his own small business teaching people how to use personal computers and has been working for BP for seven years. During the course of his career, he has learned that digital transformation predominantly has to do with people:

“The cloud is an accelerator, but it’s not an accelerator without a change in the people who work within the organization. Leaders should see themselves as servants first and help people within the organization become more autonomous. This approach to leadership puts us in a better position to take advantage of the work acceleration that the AWS Cloud enables.”

For BP, migrating to the cloud has meant putting a strong focus on training and certifying its existing staff. The company couldn’t recruit all the software engineers it needed, so it implemented programs that would upskill staff and build a sense of community.

One of these programs, the Ninja Academy, is designed to foster learning and community, rewarding employees who have achieved AWS Certification. In the AWS Conversation with Leaders podcast, Simpson shares:

  • how the Ninja Academy motivates BP staff to be on board with the migration to the AWS Cloud and gamifies the learning experience;
  • how BP put a focus on early career talent and rebooted its graduate program to boost recruitment;
  • the value of training and why it’s so important for staff to practice what they’ve learned—and even shares how BP ensures its staff use their training daily;
  • the strategies BP uses to train quickly and make sure the right people have the right knowledge.

He also offers advice to other companies that are digitally transforming: evaluate and measure progress in whatever way possible to maintain a clear vision for the future.

Listen to the full conversation between Simpson and Burns on the AWS Conversations with Leaders podcast.