FedEx Cloud Dojo accelerates digital transformation

FedEx needed experts to build and operate a cloud platform. So CIO Rob Carter found a solution in the Cloud Dojo, a bootcamp for cloud-native engineers.

FedEx Cloud Dojo accelerates digital transformation
Magdalena Petrova

One of the nagging challenges IT leaders face is cultivating enough talent to adopt and implement cloud services, so they often resort to poaching from other companies or scouring universities for engineers schooled in modern computing skills. But that piecemeal approach can take precious years that companies can't spare.

FedEx is trying a different tack: Teaching its own engineers how to build new applications and rewrite legacy applications that run in the logistics company's hybrid cloud. This homegrown team, called Cloud Dojo, has reskilled more than 2,500 software programmers on how to work with public cloud software and several complementary technologies, says FedEx CIO Rob Carter, who initiated the effort.

The dearth in tech talent has CIOs training up existing staff to keep pace with digital disruption. Some evidence suggests they aren't doing it fast enough. While most organizations believe they are reskilling their teams, 52 percent of employees surveyed say that they need better upskilling, while 34 percent report that advances in tech call for new skills in the workplace, according to Gartner. “This leads to a loss of engagement, decline in motivation and increase in workforce attrition,” wrote Gartner analysts Kaustav Dey and John Santoro in the 2018 report. “Reskilling strategy needs to evolve.”

A call to action for the cloud

FedEx's tech reskilling effort jumped into overdrive in 2017 with the Renewal Manifesto, a document Carter wrote to convey the urgency of modernizing both the logistics company's technology and the skills required to better support customers. He shared this manifesto with key members of senior leadership, stressing that business and IT must be aligned with FedEx's IT modernization. "In the digital transformation, it was important for us to gain momentum and get more aggressive in our strategy to create a modern digital enterprise," Carter says. The manifesto included tech tenets espousing the value of "cloud-native" software, microservices and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), among other skillsets and processes.

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