Customer Stories / Professional Services / United States

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IBM Consulting Earns Over 22,000 AWS Certifications to Deliver More Value to Clients

Learn how IBM Consulting is building cloud expertise with AWS Training and Certification to support its clients’ cloud transformations.

100% increase

in active AWS Certifications in 17 months

Improved quality

of solutions built on AWS

Over 5,600 unique attendees

for AWS Elevate Days 2023

Deepened understanding

of AWS services


As companies embrace a hybrid cloud approach, IBM Consulting is a trusted adviser to help them modernize and advance their business transformation journeys. To support its clients’ wherever they might be on their journey, the company has focused on growing its partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). As a result, IBM Consulting rapidly increased its AWS Certifications.

Working with AWS Partner Training and Certification, which equips AWS Partners with the practical cloud skills and industry-recognized credentials necessary to innovate on AWS, IBM Consulting helped employees earn over 22,000 active AWS Certifications. This has improved the breadth and depth of its joint offerings, providing more capabilities to clients. Line-of-business employees, such as those in sales and marketing roles, are more confident when advising clients about AWS.

Opportunity | Achieving AWS Certification across IBM to Serve Customers Better

Founded in 1991, IBM Consulting is the professional services and consulting business unit of the multinational technology corporation IBM. “In 2020, our CEO, Arvind Krishna, shifted our strategy to focus on hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence,” says Mahmoud Elmashni, global managing partner of AWS at IBM Consulting. “He emphasized the importance of meeting clients’ needs by working with other companies in the industry. We recognized AWS as a strategic ally early on in this shift.”

With a hybrid cloud strategy, IBM clients can implement on-premises and cloud technologies to suit their business needs. With IBM Consulting’s expertise, clients can scale those solutions across their enterprises. “Our clients want to make sure that we have the depth and breadth of skills necessary to facilitate their hybrid cloud journeys, and oftentimes that means also having to help them navigate multicloud environments,” says Elmashni. “Obtaining industry-recognized AWS Certifications is the most straightforward way to validate our capabilities on a global scale.”


We have organically enhanced our entire team’s AWS expertise. In turn, we can better support our clients’ digital transformations."

Mahmoud Elmashni
Global Managing Partner of AWS, IBM Consulting

Solution | Upskilling Technical and Line-of-Business Employees

IBM Consulting offers a range of AWS Training and Certification programs and resources. Employees participate in AWS GameDay events, which test AWS skills in a gamified, risk-free environment, and AWS Solutions-Focused Immersion Days, which educate learners about AWS services. To help participants earn an AWS Certification, the company hosts certification accelerators. “These are 6–8-week programs that provide an intense deep dive to help employees pass their AWS Certification exams,” says David Whirlow, data and technology transformation talent leader for IBM Consulting. “Our employees can review and ask questions to AWS subject matter experts who are familiar with the content.”

IBM Consulting has systematically introduced the program to its technical community, including the teams that deliver client services and develop new offerings. It has also encouraged account influencers, lead client partners, and other line-of-business employees to earn an AWS Certification. “If you don’t have fundamental cloud knowledge, it’s hard to consult effectively,” says Whirlow. “We want our consultants to have a deep understanding of cloud technology and speak our clients’ language. We examine our customers’ business needs and identify the necessary Foundational, Associate-level, and Professional-level certifications.” Line-of-business employees can take several courses to grow their cloud expertise, including AWS Partner: Sales Accreditation (Business), which teaches best practices for coselling with AWS, including a framework, tools, and funding benefits.

Outcome | Earning Over 22,000 Active AWS Certifications and Counting

To date, IBM Consulting employees have earned over 22,000 AWS Certifications, including AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, which validates a foundational understanding of AWS Cloud concepts, services, and terminology, and AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate, which showcases knowledge and skills in AWS technology across a wide range of AWS services. In 17 months, IBM Consulting increased active AWS Certifications by 100 percent.

“Everyone, from our partners to our technical architects, has worked with these programs to become certified,” says Elmashni. “This adds credibility in our conversations, in our solutions, and in guiding our clients through their journeys.”

To align with its clients’ growing emphasis on cloud security, machine learning (ML), and data analytics, IBM Consulting also encouraged employees to earn certifications such as AWS Certified Security - Specialty, which affirms expertise in creating security solutions on AWS; AWS Certified Machine Learning - Specialty, which validates proficiency in building and deploying ML models on AWS; and AWS Certified Data Analytics - Specialty, which demonstrates knowledge of AWS data lakes and analytics services.

In 2022 alone, almost 9,000 employees were certified. “Now, our people speak the same language,” says Carroll. “They understand how AWS works, and they know the basic services. They can speak to clients about the opportunities to modernize on the cloud.”

After associate partner Bridget Deary earned her AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification, her team streamlined a government agency’s benefits automation system, which hosts sensitive data and regulated workloads on AWS. “We reduced the time it took to provide benefits from months to minutes and supported 24-7 service availability,” says Deary. “By taking this training, I deepened my understanding of AWS, so I could engage in much more meaningful conversations, both internally and with our client.”

Since 2020, IBM Consulting has accelerated its acquisition investments—bolstering its artificial intelligence and hybrid cloud capabilities and adding new skilled experts. “These new IBMers can take advantage of the training programs, continue their career growth and aspirations, and hone their AWS offerings to better serve our clients,” says Elmashni.

By providing opportunities for employees to validate their AWS knowledge, IBM Consulting has created a flywheel of professional development. It will continue to work with AWS Training and Certification to drive future growth. “It’s really led to a number of improvements across everything that we provide to our clients. We have organically enhanced our entire team’s AWS expertise,” says Elmashni. “In turn, we can better support our clients’ digital transformations.”

About IBM Consulting

IBM Consulting is the professional services and consulting division of multinational technology corporation IBM. Previously known as IBM Global Business Services, the consulting unit serves businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and more.

AWS Services Used

AWS Partner Training and Certification

Whether you are starting your cloud journey or sharpening your cloud skills, AWS Partner Training and Certification enables you to learn new cloud skills, better serve your customers and advance your career.

Learn more »

AWS Certification

AWS Certification validates cloud expertise to help professionals highlight in-demand skills and organizations build effective, innovative teams for cloud initiatives using AWS.

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AWS GameDay

AWS GameDay is a gamified learning event that challenges participants to use AWS solutions to solve real-world technical problems in a team-based setting. GameDays give participants the freedom to explore and think outside the box.

Learn more »

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