Cloud computing has proven to be the bedrock upon which organizations have built the foundations of digital transformation. IDG\u2019s 2020 Cloud Computing research in June indicates 92% of global organizations' IT environment is at least somewhat in the cloud today, as only 8% say their total IT environment is all on-premise. There are dollars to be spent on cloud tools as close to one-third (32%) of the total IT budget will be allocated to cloud computing within the next year.\n IDG\/CIO100 Awards & Symposium 2020\n\n\u201cAs a result of COVID-19, digital transformation strategies that were planned over quarters and years had to be rolled out in days and weeks. Cloud, therefore, became the go-to solution. And skilled employees are necessary for businesses to accomplish their goals with the cloud.\u201d\n--\u00a0Amit Mehta, Head of Business Development, India at Amazon Web Services (AWS) Training and Certification\n\n\nThe rapid adoption of cloud computing in the Indian enterprise has been further catalyzed by the sudden shift towards remote working in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. As Amit Mehta, Head of Business Development, India at Amazon Web Services (AWS) Training and Certification points out: \u201cAs a result of COVID-19, digital transformation strategies that were planned over quarters and years had to be rolled out in days and weeks. Cloud, therefore, became the go-to solution. And skilled employees are necessary for businesses to accomplish their goals with the cloud.\u201d\nAdding to Mehta\u2019s point, Anand Hadgaonkar, VP & CIO-Asia at Whirlpool India cites how the pandemic has helped in working as an accelerator. \u201cThe adoption of cloud and digital technologies have stemmed from the shift in the mindset of business leaders. Everybody was concerned about adapting to the new norm, but over time, they realized that business operations can be successfully managed remotely,\u201d he explains.\nCloud is changing the way businesses innovate\nWhile a lot of companies are now beginning to open up to a cloud-first strategy, DBS Bank has gone a step further and set sights on a cloud-only strategy. Amit Kanodia, VP at DBS Bank, says that the firm is aspiring to establish itself as a technology company and has adopted open-source, public cloud-leveraging capabilities in addition to cultivating a continuous learning mindset.\nSanjay Kotha, Group CIO at Adani Group, on the other hand, illustrates how the conglomerate has taken a step beyond the cloud-first\/cloud-only conversation: \u201cThe pandemic has fuelled our drive towards an 'innovate and disrupt\u2019 mode. We have been talking to our hyper scalers to start building edge datacentres to mitigate the problems faced by our ports due to natural calamities like cyclones,\u201d he says.\nSharing the transformation journey at Bennett, Coleman & Co., VP-IT Dilip Kukreja says that the media house leveraged cloud \u2013 both on the infrastructural side, as well as on the cognitive technology aspect. He also reveals how Bennett, Coleman & Co.\u2019s brand engagement solutions were slashed down to a fraction of the cost using serverless technologies.\nCIOs play a pivotal role in building a learning-driven organization. \nAs is the case with the majority of small and large enterprises, Philips Dayanidhi, CIO at Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions says that in the beginning, people were not ready for digital transformation. To overcome the hurdle, Robert Bosch in India started an executive digital transformation program in partnership with IIM-B in which employees above a certain level were mandated to go through the training.\n IDG\/CIO100 Awards & Symposium 2020\n\n\u201cIn addition to covering the fundamentals of digital transformation, such as cloud, mobility and security, the digital fluency initiative at our end enables employees to identify areas that can go digital within their own sphere of work. Based on this, we identify 10% of the trained workforce as digital evangelists.\u201d\nPhilips Dayanidhi, CIO, Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions\n\n\nTo make the program more effective, Robert Bosch, India has now started a digital fluency initiative that extends to all associates across the organization. \u201cIn addition to covering the fundamentals of digital transformation, such as cloud, mobility and security, the program enables employees to identify areas that can go digital within their own sphere of work,\u201d explains Philips Dayanidhi. Based on this, the company identifies 10% of the trained workforce as digital evangelists.\nBack in the day, most organizations in India drove training as an HR-mandated module. Some, to this day, haven\u2019t yet changed this approach. \u201cAt Robert Bosch, India, we removed this mandate and entrusted a certain amount of money to each employee for training. Then made available a plethora of courses from EdTech companies for our employees to choose from,\u201d shares Philips Dayanidhi.\nWhile Robert Bosch takes on a democratized approach to learning, Future Generali India Life Insurance opts to approach skill-building in three distinct factions \u2013 developing a digital mindset, driving digital skillsets, and acquiring the right digital tools to drive the change.\nCTO Byju Joseph says that the insurance major helps its employees develop a digital outlook through continuous communication and empowerment. \u201cHowever, we realized that training employees in next-gen technologies is not the complete solution \u2013 they need to adopt cohesive business technology models, which include legacy and modern technology platforms and processes, and that\u2019s the reason we\u2019ve now adopted a hybrid model of learning,\u201d he explains.\nWe realized that training employees in next-gen technologies is not the complete solution \u2013 they need to adopt cohesive business technology models, which include legacy and modern technology platforms and processes, and that\u2019s the reason we\u2019ve now adopted a hybrid model of learning.\n--\u00a0Byju Joseph, CTO, Future Generali India Life Insurance\nImparting theoretical knowledge is one thing, but enabling employees to acquire hands-on experience is quite another. Subramanyam Putrevu, CIO at Mindtree, was able to solve this problem by helping create a \u201cdigital orchard\u201d on the cloud. \u201cIt\u2019s not just a training platform, it also enables employees to get a hands-on experience with new tools and technologies,\u201d he says. As a result, experience and expertise on the cloud come natively as the whole training platform exists in a cloud environment.\nWhy learning and organizational culture matter?\nAmit Mehta, Head of Business Development, India for AWS Training and Certification, observes that companies that have emerged stronger are the ones with a cloud-first mindset and had a culture of innovation and a continuous learning environment.\u00a0\nMany leaders see technology as the biggest challenge for organizations aiming for the cloud, but CIOs and tech leaders have now begun to realize that the workforce and organizational culture are also prime movers of cloud adoption.\nIt\u2019s important to note that a change in organizational culture does not happen in a jiffy. \u201cYou can\u2019t have IT infra, storage, or compute specialists suddenly turn into cloud architects. The focus now should be on upskilling the workforce to fulfill the cloud agenda,\u201d explains Mehta.\nWhile organizations can initially build capability, agility and flexibility with cloud technology as the vehicle, it\u2019s people skills and culture that will be the sustainable drivers of evolution in an organization. The criticality of learning and development has driven CIOs across sectors to foster a culture of innovation to match their organizations\u2019 technological prowess.\nIDC's 2016 CloudView Survey corroborates the impact of training on cloud adoption \u2013 organizations that were "comprehensively trained" were 80% faster to adopt cloud technologies than those that were inadequately trained. The benefits of learning and development have also been observed to directly impact business goals and revenues \u2013 comprehensively trained organizations are three times more likely to meet cloud ROI requirements and are four times more likely to overcome operational concerns.\n IDG\/CIO100 Awards & Symposium 2020\n\n\u201cThe drive towards innovation cannot take place without a shift in the organizational culture as it\u2019s equally important to bring in transparency around newer technologies and get every last person in on the conversation. If we don\u2019t start right now, we will fail in our digital transformation journey as don\u2019t have the leeway to bank on five-year plans.\u201d\nSanjay Kotha, Group CIO, Adani Group\n\n\nKotha, of Adani Group, underlines the fact that the drive towards innovation cannot take place without a shift in the organizational culture. \u201cThe executives today need to have a fair bit of awareness around digital technologies irrespective of his\/her line of business as they become digital transformation leaders of tomorrow,\u201d he says.\nIn addition to awareness, he believes it\u2019s equally important to bring in transparency around newer technologies and get every last person in on the conversation. \u201cIf we don\u2019t start doing this right now, we will fail in our digital transformation journey for sure. We no longer have the leeway of banking on five-year plans,\u201d opines Kotha.\nWhile CIOs believe transparency plays a major role in getting buy-in from other lines of business in an organization, A CIO at a luxury automotive manufacturing MNC located in India explains how it\u2019s important for companies to extend transparency to their customers as well. \u201cWe believe transparency of data should be given to customers as well \u2013 right from the beginning,\u201d he shares.\nHe goes on to highlight how cloud computing plays a very important role in their organization\u2013 its connected car technology, breakdown assistance, safety measures, and predictive maintenance \u2013 all run on the cloud.\nBuilding a well-trained, innovative workforce is an all-hands effort\nWhile CIOs are fully invested in helping foster a culture of learning in their organizations, solution providers also play an equally important role in building a future-ready workforce.\nAmit Mehta of AWS echoes Byju Joseph\u2019s earlier point on taking a three-pronged approach to learning. \u201cFirst things first: aligning to business goals \u2013 you need to understand how many people you need and the skills they need to equipped with. Evangelization through informal sessions and involving everyone also goes a long way in working towards the objective.\u201d\nComing to the second part: Mehta observes that when courses are made freely available to people, the uptake is less. \u201cWhat worked very well for us was a milestone-based achievement approach. You define the learning path for an employee \u2013 from a practitioner, to associate, to professional. Linking an employee\u2019s career development to getting trained and certified has paid off in our experience,\u201d he reveals.\nFirst things first: aligning to business goals \u2013 you need to understand how many people you need and the skills they need to equipped with. Evangelization through informal sessions and involving everyone also goes a long way in working towards the objective.\n-- Amit Mehta, Head of Business Development (India), AWS Training and CertificationThe milestone-based achievement approach has proven to be effective at Mindtree as well. Putrevu shares that his company has adopted the practice of creating a career roadmap for its employees.\nAt this point, after having onboarded the right people and adequately enabling them, the next question CIOs need to answer is: how do I sustain the momentum?\nThe sustenance, in Mehta\u2019s viewpoint, can only be achieved when organizations appoint evangelists and champions. Not doing so will only result in the company training a specific group of people on a specific technology to cater to a specific digital business outcome \u2013 and that does not help create a continuous learning environment.