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How To Transform Talent To Support Cloud Migration

Global cloud provider AWS offers a 10-step action plan for talent transformation to support your company’s cloud migration.

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According to IDC’s latest Middle East CIO survey, some 73% of organisations across the region are currently undergoing a formal digital transformation effort whereas remaining 24% of the organisations are either about to start or planning to initiate their digital transformation journey.

To realise digital transformation for your organisation, you’re thinking about migrating to the cloud but wonder if your existing teams can make it happen. The answer is simple: yes, they can—with the right training. In fact, it’s less expensive to reskill and scale up current staff than it is to hire new teams. Not only that, organisations that are comprehensively trained adopt cloud 80% faster on average, according to  a report carried out by IDC and AWS – Train To Accelerate Your Cloud Strategy, October 2017.

Here is a 10-step action plan from AWS for talent transformation to support your company’s cloud migration:

  1. Prep your team

Before starting a cloud migration, prepare your team for the journey ahead. Anticipate frustrations and share strategies to help boost morale. Create alignment, overcommunicate, spark motivation, develop capacity and share knowledge. Clear, empathic communication is key to managing excitement and uncertainty among staff.

  1. Learn the fundamentals

Start with introductory courses at companies such as AWS. This will provide broad exposure to the terminology and concepts related to cloud and of the company, including core services, management and security.

  1. Play in a sandbox

Give your team a safe space to experiment with the technology to better familiarise themselves with the tools by continuously testing them out. Practice, practice, practice.

  1. Assemble your two-pizza team

In other words, it’s best to keep your cloud team relatively small, ideally 8–10 people. A team this size creates speed and agility, while retaining reporting structures. Your team should include the following roles: Product manager, Lead architect, Infrastructure engineer, Security engineer, Operations engineer, and Application engineer.

  1. Bring in cloud experts as needed

For initial guidance, work with cloud experts and experienced professionals in order to do things you can’t (or don’t want to) do, while aiming for self-sufficiency. For example, the AWS Partner Network is a global program that can help organisations like yours by providing business, technical, marketing and go to market support.

  1. Make it real

Get started by developing something on cloud that matters to your business but allows you to develop your new cloud abilities in a safe way. Use your 2-pizza team to build and ship it in less than 12 weeks to gain much-needed experience. Complete a retrospective to solidify learnings for bigger projects going forward.

  1. Scale the learning

As your use of the cloud expands, don’t make the initial team bigger; instead, break it apart into additional teams that combine experts and novices to scale the learning. The two-pizza team should evolve into two functional area teams: Cloud Business Office (business-facing) and Cloud Engineering (technical product delivery/development).

  1. Reap all the benefits of certifications

Keep completing certifications until you reach a critical mass of at least 10% certified staff. Researchers have found that when just 10% of a population holds an unshakable belief, the belief will be adopted by the majority. This will be a tipping point for your organisation.

  1. Recognise and reward expertise

Your team worked hard to get here. Leadership should recognise the incredible achievements of developers, engineers and managers. Feel free to gamify this process — you could make a leaderboard to show who’s passed the most exams and offer small prizes. It’s also good inspiration and encouragement for those who haven’t been certified. A Gallup study shows that an employee’s manager is the #1 most memorable source of recognition.

  1. Build a new job-family portfolio

With new skills and responsibilities, employees often need their job titles revisited. Your original team, that may have consisted of Database Administrators (DBAs), Server Administrators, Hardware Support Technicians or Infrastructure Managers, has evolved. New titles may include: Technical Program Manager (TPM), Infrastructure Engineer (IE), Software Quality Engineer (SQE), Software Development Engineer (SDE), Security Engineer and Engineering Manager.

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