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Transitioning to the cloud is only the beginning because a whole lot of factors are involved, and one of the most important ones is the knowledge level of your employees. Moving to the cloud calls for different sets of technologies and practices, and companies try to make the best of cloud through infrastructure, code, DevOps, automated security and compliance, thereby stressing the need for different mindsets.

By looking at the current employee portfolio, the enterprise executives might feel that the current employees are lacking in these skills. Hence, it is vital that you take a proactive and ongoing approach towards training your employees.

Unfortunately, many companies fail to realize the full potential of devoting proper resources to employee training, and then later realize that the projects they had deployed do not have the required stability or performance.

Every organization makes their unique journey to the cloud once they decide to migrate. A successful cloud migration depends a lot on the capabilities of the staff. It is important to develop a structured approach to make sure the employees are ready for the cloud.

In reality, too many companies find that their efforts fall short. After devoting time and money to employee training, the organization fails to develop a critical mass of cloud knowledge.

In turn, this causes many problems for employees and their projects.

Employees lack critical skills, and their projects deployed into cloud environments fall short of expectations in terms of performance and stability. As part of the cloud-based training, the employees must have an entry-level certification, for example, an AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification for new employees. This course contains in-depth details about the move to AWS and could prove useful for employees who need to learn about the cloud basics.

Cloud Practitioner Learning Path

Image Credit: AWS

Once this basic certification is completed, you can motivate your employees to take follow up courses that give them professional-level competence on cloud transitions. If you’re taking up Azure cloud transitions, there are similar courses for Azure too.

An example of Santa Clara, a company in California is worth mentioning here. The company needed a platform that develops quickly, deploy very fast and iterate without delays. They hired a veteran technology and operations executive to oversee the transition. Today, the company is a huge success and they have hundreds of customers who use their services. Similarly, there are many success stories that companies would tell you to emphasize the importance of educating their employees on the cloud.

So what should you do to make sure your employees are ready for the cloud. Check out these tips:

1. Give them small but meaningful milestones

Your employees would benefit from a smaller project before they proceed to the big ones. Once their training is completed, they can test it on a simple website, a mobile app, or a file backup program. The first projects may not be something big to write home about, but it would definitely teach them the ropes of the trade effectively. Your team will quickly grasp the practical applications of cloud technologies that way.

2. Make sure you are educating them in the right way

Rather than sending your employees to generic cloud-based courses, it would be wiser and more useful if you could go for the curriculum-based approach. Based on the skills possessed by the employees, you can choose a curriculum that’s progressive, starting at the surface, and then going in-depth and detailed.

Training is the most important thing in cloud transition, but only when it is done in the right way. Vendors with reputation provide training tracks structured by roles they play in an organization, for example, developers, operations, systems, etc. Choose a vendor that has a specific curriculum for each requirement with neutral courses, depending on the role of the employee.

3. They might be resistant to change, so be prepared for that scenario

Moving to the cloud is a major organizational change that is likely to trigger resistance from employees. This could be because they feel that a change could threaten their job security, or perhaps because they are wary of surprise and fear the unknown. Moving to the cloud is a bold action, so you cannot blame them. It is not possible to close your eyes to their opinions, so you have to maintain a good level of communication with them. And apart from the training, it would also be helpful if you can reward them because implementing a reward system will definitely be a good motivation for them. Understand the depth of their resistance and why they feel opposed to it. Addressing this problem from the start will definitely make the transition smoother.

4. Are you giving them time to experiment?

The cloud journey has no magic formula for success, you have to create a culture of experimentation. Innovation and learning happen only when there is motivation, and thanks to the nature of the cloud, you don’t have to invest in material resources or other infrastructure to experiment. Motivate and encourage your team to experiment, and your team will be sure to create the next disruptive product in the industry.

The project managers must also recognize the habit of the employee experimentation, and reward them (not just mere “that was a good job”, or on the spot bonuses), but something that motivates them to experiment more. Praise them during brainstorming sessions so their contributions are noted. Once your employees are trained on using the cloud, their willingness to experiment would really take your business goals to the next level.

5. Make sure your staff are endowed with the right skills

Once you have staff with the right skills, getting them trained would be faster. Depending on the size and scope of the project, the technical aptitude of the staff will also have to be upgraded. As explained earlier, if the employees lack critical skills, the project falls short and productivity takes a hit. Vendor-specific training would help to a certain degree, but not always. For example, if you train them on Agile DevOps skills, then they can learn about today’s application development, irrespective of which vendor you decide to adopt. Skills that are not focused on any individual cloud provider would be helpful.

6. Employees can learn a lot from attending summits and conferences

Encourage employees to attend industry events, AWS summits and similar technology events. Learning from the success and failure of others would be a very effective “training” and “learning” session for them. But then, attending these summits is not always about the technology they can learn, it is also about the culture.

Employees cannot grow if they are merely working out of offices and cubicles, and they definitely will not learn about agility and collaboration if they are going to work individually. If you are looking to tap into the agility and efficiency of cloud computing, then employees have to develop collaboration and communication skills as well.

7. Growth assignments would help monitor their skill level

Consider giving them growth assignments that push them to come out of their comfort zone. Employees can grow only when they are given challenging tasks, and when they have new information to absorb and new skills to develop. Some employees embrace challenges, and expand their skills, while others would have to be moved to other projects, just like a plant that outgrows the pot will have to be replanted. Those who cannot, will have to leave or retire. Cloud computing is changing the way we are dealing with employees. And with the pace at which innovations are happening, you need to restructure your IT processes to ensure only the educated and skilled employees fit in.

Conclusion

Almost every IT organization has a positive approach towards the cloud, and a good number of them have either adopted it already or are in the process of doing so. Training employees the right way would help your company sail the transition process without any hitches. While you train your employees, ensure they are trained on recognizing cyber attacks as well, because cyber crimes are on the rise, and that could impede the progress. Hence, make sure all channels are covered when you transition.

Need help getting your organization on board with cloud technology? We can help.

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