AWS Training and Certification Blog

The three pillars of a modern cloud training strategy

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Editor’s Note: This blog outlines how organization decision makers need to rethink their cloud training strategy to achieve organizational goals. We spotlight three AWS Partner organizations who have evolved their strategy around three focus areas: training, tools, and community.

As talent shortages surge and the pace of technology innovation increases, the demand for verified cloud specialists with advanced skill sets rises. Organizations are being pushed to rethink their cloud training strategies to recruit, retain, and upskill their workforce – all at once. When it comes to building a strategy, one size most likely doesn’t fit all. A tailored approach is needed to address an organization’s skills gaps and reach its goals. In this blog post, see how Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partners create cultures of continuous learning and communities of knowledge sharing as a competitive advantage.

Cloud training is changing

Every day, across the globe, customers turn to AWS Partners to help them achieve their digital transformation objectives and solve complex technical challenges. According to AWS Vice President for Worldwide Channels and Alliances, Ruba Borno, the number one barrier to growth for AWS Partners is the availability of cloud talent.

While need and competition for top cloud talent is not new, how learning and development leaders are expanding the depth of cloud talent and evolving their workforce development strategy is changing AWS Partners are at the forefront of re-envisioning what a modern cloud training strategy looks like and how it can meet the needs of both employees and customers, to become a competitive advantage.

Today there are three essential components of a successful cloud training strategy: training, tools, and community.

AWS Partners Ingram Micro, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Deloitte, and Lumen share insights on how their cloud training strategies have evolved to meet the changing needs of customers and employees.

Training: Ingram Micro personalizes training to support sellers

Global AWS Distributor Ingram Micro provides sales and technical enablement to more than 1,000 AWS Partners in the AWS Partner Network (APN) as part of their strategic value-added services to commercial and public sector partners of all types. In 2021, Ingram Micro invested in an ambitious, two-pronged training initiative to enable partner growth and APN advancement: 1/ train its own employees and 2/ onboard and upskill new AWS Partners.

The training program first focused on Ingram Micro employees, the internal AWS experts who support distribution sellers with solution design services for cloud adoption and migration, and perform Well-Architected reviews. The sequencing of training programs is strategic to partner success. Starting with employee upskilling allowed Ingram Micro to validate the effectiveness of the prescriptive, role-based training journey. It also enabled the Ingram Micro team to credibly communicate to partners how they will benefit from the training.

“Our robust enablement methodology and supporting programs are a crucial part of delivering more as a service,” shares Tim Fitzgerald, Vice President, Global Cloud Channel Technical & Services at Ingram Micro. “Providing personalized attention, technical expertise, and go-to-market resources helps partners accelerate growth and increase profitability.”

Second, Ingram Micro’s cloud training strategy includes onboarding and upskilling new AWS Partners. A four-week pilot program was designed to demystify the AWS Certification process and help partners achieve AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification to work towards APN tier promotion. They launched a regional bootcamp program featuring robust multi-modal learning – a combination of flexible self-paced digital training, a one-day virtual instructor lead course, office hours, and custom content reviews hosted by Ingram Micro solutions architects. The first, one-month partner bootcamp saw 85% of participants succeed in becoming an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioners.

The Ingram Micro program is unique in validating the training with their own teams before extending to partners, and by measuring both quantitative and qualitative downstream impact post training. Because of participation in the trainings, partners report increased confidence and competence in architecting cloud solutions for customers. Ingram Micro’s commitment to partner success also includes providing AWS exam vouchers to bootcamp participants, making the program available to partners of all sizes. In the last year, the program has trained 400+ new AWS Partners, and counting.

As news of partner success spreads, the enablement program has now expanded worldwide with quarterly cohorts in North America, LATAM, EMEA, and APAC, and will soon offer an advanced learning plan for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Associate Certification. Ingram Micro’s cloud training strategy will continue to deliver a competitive advantage for distribution sellers as partners ramp-up to meet customer needs in public sector and commercial demand for migrating Microsoft workloads.

Tools: Hewlett Packard Enterprise expands training to enable edge-to-cloud customer strategy

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is engaging with AWS to drive an edge-to-cloud strategy across its organization. Faced with the rapid digital transformation of its customers, HPE needed to respond to the growing need for deeper cloud expertise. They decided to focus on upskilling their employees, deepening their knowledge, and growing their skill sets.

With the help of AWS Training and Certification, HPE was able to identify the existing skills gaps and launch an organization-wide AWS Training program. After the first year of cloud training, HPE employees earned more than 2000 AWS Partner Accreditations and added 500 AWS Certifications. As Alexia Clements, VP of Worldwide Sales and GTM at HPE GreenLake Cloud Services, HPE puts it: “Being able to train our HPE delivery professionals with AWS Certifications is a key part of our cloud everywhere strategy … We’re really looking forward to more trainings in the next year, and really driving that expertise that our clients are looking for.”

By engaging in AWS Training and Certification, HPE is not only able to grow and develop their AWS Cloud experts’ team, but most importantly, they’re able to assist their customers in strengthening their cloud strategies for the present and the future.

Community: Deloitte develops community and camaraderie in transforming cloud workforce

After years of attempting to resolve the cloud talent crisis, Deloitte discovered a new, dynamic, and collaborative approach to training and upskilling their cloud workforce. In partnership with AWS Training and Certification, Deloitte invested in creating an environment that empowered staff to take their cloud knowledge to the next level: the Deloitte Cloud Guild (DCG). The DCG is a community, learning, and certification program that aims to bring Deloitte employees together and equip them with the cloud computing knowledge they need to succeed today and in the future through continuous learning. Through this, Deloitte is creating tech-savvy cloud computing champions.

Deloitte’s continuous learning philosophy provides exposure to new cloud skills and knowledge-building throughout employees’ careers. This encourages Deloitte cloud professionals to invest in their own futures by advancing their learning each year. The community-centered approach to training allows for people to collaborate, connect, and grow together, empowering problem-solving and driving innovation.

Zach Levy, AWS Deloitte Australia AWS Alliance lead, underscored the business value of its learning strategy: “Clients rely on us for our expertise, [so] it is critical for our people to be up to speed with the latest technology. Cloud is an enabling technology that underpins so many business transformations today.”

Building a business case for a certification program at Lumen

Securing internal, executive support for modernizing your training programs requires a data-driven business case. After all, before you can implement an effective cloud training strategy, you need to know your organization’s ‘as-is state’ and how evolving your training strategy aligns with your corporate growth. For help conducting a quantitative evaluation of employee cloud skills to identify gaps, many organizations use the free, AWS Learning Needs Analysis to identify gaps and accelerate delivery of personalized training plans.

Rachael Lethbridge Smythe, senior alliance manager EMEA, Lumen, explains, “As an AWS Partner, the Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) allowed us to quantitatively evaluate our skills gaps and develop targeted learning plans aligned to Lumen’s business goals across the region. The LNA enables our employees to define what their learning goals are, that these are aligned to business goals, and that any certification or training completed would be valuable and relevant to both. This keeps teams highly engaged and motivated, with personalized training to help them succeed in their sales, pre-sales and technical roles.”

Lethbridge Smyth cites quick success, sharing that Lumen’s skills development—focused on migration, architecture, and strategic sales—is on track with 122 employees trained across EMEA to date. Additionally, for all employees who have been trained, 45% have achieved AWS Certification, compared to a market average of 8%.

Jump start modernizing your cloud training strategy today

Explore additional resources dive deeper into trends impacting cloud talent, elements of successful cloud training strategy, and proven ways to implement training that attracts, retains and motivates talent – with more exclusive insights from AWS Partner leaders.