Microsoft releases on average one new solution every three days. This rapid pace of innovation results in a wide portfolio of solutions that fit any strategy of any company.
Organisations are transforming, becoming ever-more driven by innovation, and seeking to establish partnerships that will boost their value proposition and optimise internal IT. In the past few years, I’ve been fascinated just how much can be done when there is a strong will to adopt new technology.
Think of the first new clearing bank in 250 years in UK – it runs exclusively in the cloud.
Think of Insurtechs like Shift Technology which helps insurance companies more effectively detect fraud. The diversity of business models that cloud solutions enable are limited only by imagination.
The first step towards bringing imagination to reality is making sure an organisation possesses relevant cloud capabilities. While technologies like AI can provide direct benefit to the customer, every organisation needs to first establish strong fundamental cloud capabilities. Only then can they build advanced, customer-centric solutions on top of them.
Strong cloud capabilities represent well-organised knowledge and skills, which create and maintain scalable, secure, and transparent infrastructure.
Achieving this requires skills in technologies such as Platform-as-a-Service, Infrastructure as Code, and API integrations, among others.
Learning new skills and engaging in meaningful training on a continuous basis is key to helping people across the organisation. Cloud competent organisations are aware of this. They realise the need for a robust process that allows them to operate with strong IT fundamentals.
BUILDING STRONG FUNDAMENTALS IN 5 STEPS
1. Assess current capability levels
If an organisation applies capability assessment frameworks, those can be inspected to evaluate current skills levels. If that’s not the case, an organisation should establish a framework to continuously monitor relevant skills levels.
It can be as simple as creating a heat map, as long as it provides a clear view that can be updated. Proposed methodologies for gathering information are online surveys and interviews for both groups and individuals.
2. Determine desired skills and knowledge
In alignment with overall business strategy, evaluate which skills your people need and, based on the capability framework, recognise where the gaps are.
When it comes to establishing cloud fundamentals, most customers focus on…
- Architecture: Networking, virtualisation, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data management, budgeting, and governance
- Administration: implement, monitor, and maintain Microsoft Azure solutions, including major services related to compute, storage, network, and security
- Security: implement security controls, maintain the security posture, manage identity and access, and protect data, applications, and networks
3. Invest in upskilling and training your teams
Everyone on the IT team needs solid understanding of what the cloud is, which are the most typical scenarios, and where its value lies. We see highest success when organising Microsoft-led workshops where IT professionals and relevant business divisions join to learn about the basics of cloud administration, architecture and security.
During these one- or two-day workshops, the key outcomes are…
- The whole IT team has the same understanding of cloud fundamentals
- Stronger relationship between IT and business
Once the basics are covered, try collaborating with Microsoft in designing learning paths in areas such as data engineering, containerisation, and DevOps. These types of training sessions should be tailored to specific groups of employees to make them relevant and actionable.
4. Reward employees that invest in learning
Learning rewards seem self-explanatory, but having appropriate rewards in place is not as easy as it might seem.
Rewards in IT departments are too often too meaningless and demotivating. As author Daniel Pink notes in the best-seller Drive, studies show that carrot and stick led rewarding system is not a good system. The correlation between financial rewards and outstanding work are not as high as most organisations think.
To achieve great results, you must satisfy the following needs…
Autonomy — The desire to be self-directed. It increases engagement over compliance.
Mastery — The urge to get better skills.
Purpose — The drive to do something that has meaning and is important. Businesses that only focus on profits without valuing purpose will end up with poor customer service and unhappy employees.
Giving employees the option to obtain a certificate is a great first step on the journey to Mastery. Next, consider rewarding your team with time-off work to focus on personal projects – this boosts Autonomy and Purpose. See how Microsoft does it with the ‘Garage‘.
5. Prioritise certification in hiring and recruiting
Certificates mean transparency within and without the organisation. In a certification-driven organisation, you’ll have a good view to which skills and knowledge are present and what impact they provide. This is a major asset when designing a new job role, prioritising candidates, and assessing their proficiency. Certifications show dedication and good pressure-handling, since obtaining a meaningful certificate should be a challenge.
In a nutshell, operating with a strong cloud capability is a necessity for any organisation that desires to lead in the modern workplace. In the long-run, the winners will not be the ones who built cloud capability, but those who maintained it.
Take advantage of the learning opportunities Microsoft offers, and help us help you set up a learning organisation that will thrive for years to come.
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About the author
Tine Petric is a Specialist in the area of Applications and Infrastructure, advising organizations within UK Financial Services Industry. He is passionate about impact that technology can make in inclusive finance, interactive learning and eliminating mundane tasks. Tine is also an avid tech blogger and guest lecturer at universities where he talks about Business Model Innovation and latest tech trends.