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Why IT Leaders Should Make Cloud Training a Top Priority

Adam Burden, North America technology lead for business and technology advisory firm Accenture, has a firm opinion on cloud training. "All leaders should make cloud training a priority—it's a technology that's fundamentally reshaping every industry and [is] the main ingredient for digital businesses," he stated. In IT specifically, cloud fluency will be needed to deliver on the promise of digital transformation. "More broadly, being conversant in cloud technology will be needed to recognize opportunities and stimulate innovation across the enterprise," Burden added.

Burden noted that IT leaders shouldn't count on being able to hire their way out of the challenge of building a cloud-savvy organization. "Success will mean transforming the talent you have into the talent you need, and that happens through a comprehensive learning program that considers the learning profiles, point skills, certifications, and the enterprise-specific details that a digital enterprise requires."

For organizations of all types and sizes, cloud computing is fueling business differentiation in ultra-competitive markets while helping to accelerate the delivery of innovative customer-centric solutions. "If you're not making cloud training a priority already, you’re lagging and will find it hard to catch up," warned Angela Moynahan, director of technology learning for Liberty Mutual Insurance.

A Dramatic Shift

The cloud represents the most dramatic shift for IT organizations in a generation, observed Myke Miller, managing director and dean of Deloitte Consulting's Deloitte Cloud Institute. "The cloud is ... about a shift in innovation, speed, agility, and resilience, and if IT leaders believe cloud training is only for staff, they are likely missing the most important shift," he noted.

In fact, both IT and business teams need, at the very least, a fundamental understanding of cloud technologies and uses. The cloud is now affecting virtually every part of every business, said Gaëlle Bristiel, head of technology, Americas, at Amadeus, a travel industry technology provider. "It helps improve operational efficiency, it can positively impact the bottom line, and it enables companies to service customers more quickly and innovate in a variety of ways," she explained.

Building a Program

Building a cloud skills development program is like embarking on any learning journey: identify the learning objectives and roles, then develop and fine tune the curriculum based on desired outcomes and observed/measured results over time. "There's an abundance of cloud training material available in the market for IT leaders to tap into," Miller said. "Our experience with the Deloitte Cloud Institute is that it's critical to have a continuous improvement mindset and committed and engaged support from leadership."

Incentives can also be useful training tools, said Eric Newcomer, CTO at open-source technology provider WSO2, and former head of global IT architecture at Citibank. He suggested developing "a pyramid of expertise," an approach that allows individuals looking to ascend the career ladder to measure their progress against colleagues. A custom-designed training program targeting top developers and distinguished engineers is another way to encourage top talent to refine their cloud expertise, Newcomer added.

Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek