There’s no longer any question about whether organizations should invest in their cloud capabilities. To put it bluntly, their future success depends on it. And few would disagree: A recent study by Accenture suggests that a full 90 percent of global companies have at least part of their operations in the cloud.

But how much value are the 90 percent actually getting from their investment? That’s where we find a significant disconnect. According to Accenture, “Most enterprises have, on average, only about 20-40 percent of their workloads in the cloud, most of which are the easier, less complex ones. And nearly two-thirds have said they haven’t achieved the results expected of their cloud initiatives to date.”

Cloud Solutions

Whatever ambivalence enterprises might have felt about committing fully to the cloud, that uncertainty was cured by the upheavals of 2020. As tech strategist Larry English writes in Forbes, “The Covid-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented wave of tech adoption for businesses across all industries — as companies learned to work remotely and connect with customers virtually, they essentially crammed a decade’s worth of tech adoption and digital transformation into a single whirlwind year.”

One result of all this: The cloud skills shortage we’ve been hearing about for the past decade has now become an existential crisis for organizations everywhere. It’s escalated the global war for talent — and the war is an expensive one. As Larry English notes, “Companies are up against wage inflation and a competitive field that includes not just their own backyard but the entire world. This makes the talent squeeze especially difficult for medium and small businesses.”

Most organizations can’t afford to solve their talent shortages through bidding wars. And logically, any victories won that way are likely to be short-lived, since candidates who are wooed by money will eventually be susceptible to someone else’s better offer.

Training for the Cloud

Fortunately, there’s an easier and more cost-effective solution to the cloud skills crisis: Investing in training to build the competency of the loyal people you already have on staff. Apart from solving your immediate skills shortage, training allows you to pre-emptively address the costly problem of employee turnover. In an analysis of 234,000 exit interviews by the Work Institute, a lack of growth opportunities was the top reason cited by respondents for leaving their jobs.

Creating a culture of ongoing learning signals your respect for your personnel and your commitment to their professional development. And as the cloud continues to grow in complexity and sophistication, those personnel will be ever more crucial to your success. By optimizing the abilities of your people, you will be optimizing your likelihood of a successful migration to the cloud. You will be increasing the performance and efficiency of both your employees and your technology. And you will be moving closer to the goal that still eludes so many organizations: You will be achieving the business agility that is central to your competitiveness in the digital age.

Not so long ago, training was something that got scheduled only occasionally, and only in response to an obvious need. But in the era of the cloud, and with more companies taking a multi-cloud approach, the obvious need is ongoing and endless. As the capabilities and dominance of the cloud keep expanding, your investment in a culture of non-stop learning will be your best assurance of continued viability and success.