Is your organization in the process of transitioning to a higher cloud maturity level? If so, you should be aware of the four levels of cloud competency—awareness, proficiency, leverage, and collaboration—which will help ensure that you get the most out of the cloud.

Of course, you’ll need your entire team on board, and that can be one of the trickiest parts of the journey to navigate. It’s simply not enough to adopt tools and tell your teams to start using them. However, fostering these four cloud competencies will help your team recognize new product opportunities and develop innovative solutions—increasing your ROI.

In this post, we’ll introduce the four essential cloud competencies, examine why they’re important, and share insights to help you develop them in your teams.

1. Awareness of Cloud Tools and Services

As with any journey, you can’t get anywhere until you know where you’re going. You may assume that everyone is aware of what cloud tools and services are available in their fields of expertise. While that may well be true for technical groups, like IT and development, it’s probably less so in areas that are less tied to technology, such as finance and HR.

In any case, not knowing about cloud tools and services and how they can help optimize processes may hold team members back from performing their tasks efficiently and effectively. And, of course, you need to bring leadership up to speed, too.

For example, analytics and AI are a big growth area right now, with a range of tools on offer to aid processes in almost every field. Being aware of which cloud tools are relevant to your goals will ensure that your entire organization benefits from the cloud transformation.

2. Cloud Proficiency

There are a number of reasons organizations transition to the cloud, but all of them hinge on ROI, a performance measure that evaluates how efficiently your organization is working in order to serve customers or attain other business goals, such as cutting costs. Yet you’ll only realize ROI in these areas if your team knows how to access and use cloud services properly.

It’s also important to consider that not using these services properly can result in massive security risks, such as leaving unencrypted confidential data—or even passwords and encryption keys themselves—inadvertently exposed in public repositories. 

Clearly, you’ll start seeing actual business benefits when your teams are proficient in using cloud tools and services securely, effectively, and economically. That’s why it’s essential to bring your teams up to speed as quickly as possible.

3. Ability to Leverage Cloud Tools and Services

As mentioned above, you’ll only start seeing ROI once your teams begin developing fluency in cloud tools. However, fluency merely allows team members to continue doing their jobs. With a higher cloud competency level, they’ll be able to solve business problems by applying cloud tools in creative and constructive ways.

For example, your team can leverage cloud tools to provide better customer service, thanks to flexible resource allocation, zero-downtime SLAs, faster access to the information they need, and more including reaping advantages of cloud storage.

But remember: These benefits don’t just happen automatically. Your team members need to acquire the first two competencies—awareness and proficiency—before they can start applying their knowledge creatively to improve your business.

4. Skill in Cloud Collaboration

Too often, different teams end up working in parallel—duplicating each others’ efforts; wasting time, money, and energy; and potentially introducing errors. The problem isn’t the cloud tools or services themselves; it’s a lack of collaboration. 

Collaboration brings together multiple aspects of your organization, such as IT, HR, development, operations, manufacturing, and fulfillment—the sky’s the limit. Rather than focusing on individual goals, these teams can work toward shared strategic goals, such as industry-leading innovation or superior user experience. (Don’t worry; individual departments benefit from collaboration, too!). 

With this competency, your teams will be able to identify areas of overlap so they can start introducing efficiencies. This is sometimes described as “breaking down silos,” but can be more constructively viewed as harnessing the best practices of all groups or departments.

The ability to build collaborative skills depends on organizational culture—groups or departments should never feel as though they are competing for limited resources. Instead, they should understand that they are collaborating to create a better organization and provide better service all around. This is a message which must come from above in order to help bring all teams on board.

All In It Together

Obviously, not every employee needs to be brought up to speed with every competency. Managers and technical teams, for example, will need to be more proficient in more tools and services than other employees who are simply using them. But of course, regardless of level and responsibility, every employee needs to master the tools and skills relevant to their job. And ideally, they’ll be able to work better following true cloud transformation.

Employees at all levels need to understand how cloud security concerns impact their work. And understanding how cloud tools will make their work easier, safer, and more efficient will increase buy-in. Yet, too often, getting buy-in from team members is difficult due to the massive changes that come with cloud transformation. 

To make sure nothing falls through the cracks, Cloud Academy has created a complete guide to help you plan for success at every stage of your journey to the cloud. It will show you how the four competencies we discussed in this article come together in real life by walking you step-by-step through the cloud transformation of a 10,000-person financial services company.

You’ll also explore:

  • The five stages of the cloud journey
  • Common pitfalls of cloud migration
  • Essential metrics to define and measure success
  • And much more

Cloud Academy can help you bring your employees up to speed on the competencies they need to succeed in the cloud. Download the guide to find out how. 

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