Three people-focused steps for adopting cloud at scale 

By Darryl Govender, Head of Cloud Services, Synthesis Software Technology

Larry Bossidy, the former Chairman and CEO of Honeywell International Inc., captured what it takes to successfully execute strategy when he said, “Execution is the ability to mesh strategy with reality, align people with goals, and achieve the promised results.” He emphasised the critical role of people, as they are the enablers and implementors of strategy and this is true of a successful cloud enablement strategy. Training and enablement of existing staff are critical components of any successful cloud strategy. Trained and, therefore, empowered people are critical for success.  At Synthesis Software Technology, we highlight the importance of creating focused training and enablement paths for existing organisational staff. But, how does this translate into your organisation? Let’s examine a working example of how to achieve this with three steps.

1. Create communal language with primer training 

Training material from AWS, Azure or GCP should ideally be used to provide the critical building blocks for leveraging cloud within your organisation. Whether classroom or self-paced, they more than provide the prerequisite primer on getting everyone on the same page and speaking the same language, and are usually offered in a role-based approach, i.e. following a developer, architect or business path.

2. Implement laser-focused training paths

With this high-level understanding in hand from the primer training, we can  build laser-focused training paths to pragmatically harness the value of cloud, a concept we like to call “From Zero-to – Production”, i.e. what is the shortest, yet most effective role-based path for anyone in the organisation to go from zero (or near zero) knowledge to a full-on production application deployment that adheres to industry and organisational best practice while conforming to the five pillars of Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency and Cost Optimisation as described in AWS’ Well-Architected Framework.

As an example, a typical developer path may provide modules on how to create a three-tier app using Infrastructure as code, leveraging the organisation-approved CIS hardened machine image for virtual machines and a disaster recovery pattern suited to the application’s recovery point and time objectives, while a more general access module may provide learning on how to onboard onto the organisation’s chosen cloud platform or how to tackle cloud economics on greenfield initiatives.

Chopping and changing these modules between developer, architect or business tracks ensures that learning is purpose-fit to best realise the organisational value of adopting the cloud, encourages institutional learning (as more tracks and modules are added or evolved) and importantly cuts through the fluff with regards to cloud training.

3. Utilise available resources

By using an infrastructure code library as part of the learning paths (Gruntwork.io provides a great base), technical staff in particular can gain the hands-on experience required to truly unlock the benefits of cloud, creating the opportunity to fully develop, automate and operate their own environments so that the focus can shift to innovation rather than merely operating cloud environments due to lack of skills (see Rackspace’s Cost of Cloud Expertise Report for more).

At Synthesis, we believe that this approach empowers individuals to contribute to impactful change and further solidifies the encompassing truth: that the right people largely exist in any adopting organisation today! They just need to be enabled.

 

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