At Inawisdom, we are continually investing in our people and in our partnership with AWS. Both provide the foundation on how we engage with our customers and are at the heart of our culture.
As part of this, we ran an exciting initiative during Q2 & Q3 2022 – a new training offering for AWS Partners called AWS Jetpack. In this blog, I will cover what the training entails and how Inawisdom integrated it into one of our wider initiatives.
What is AWS Jetpack?
AWS Jetpack is a new training offering for AWS Partners that focuses on customer obsession. The AWS Jetpack initiative was originally created in the APAC region and is a condensed version of the introduction that AWS give their Solution Architects in first 3 months of joining. This meant that Inawisdom (alongside Contino) were the first AWS Partners outside of APAC to participate.
Building AWS JetPack into our wider talent development initiatives
While AWS JetPack training can be conducted as a standalone event, we decided to build it into our new Architecture Growth Programme. This programme was designed to give Inawisdom consultants an opportunity for growth and set them on track to become principal consultants. The programme consisted of three key elements:
- Each consultant would be fast-tracked to being a certified AWS Solution Architect Professional
- Each consultant was required to complete an AWS Well Architected bootcamp and thus be able to conduct Well Architected Reviews
- Each consultant would attend an AWS Jetpack event to understand how AWS enable their Solution Architects with skills to engage with customers
Inawisdom’s Talent Management team, our Partner Solution Architecture (PSA) team from AWS, and a few internal Inawisdom sponsors (including myself) worked closely together to create and run the programme.
The programme included daily scrums for the participants, where they could share any useful training materials, videos, or blogs they had found.
The bulk of the training was conducted online, giving participants the flexibility to fit their study around other tasks. We made good use of the online training platforms available to us, including A Cloud Guru, Udemy for Business, and the new AWS Skill Builder platform.
To cap off the programme, we set up a two-day, in-person workshop to conduct the first ever AWS Jetpack event in the EMEA region, with support from our AWS PSA team. We also invited our friends at Contino (a fellow Cognizant company) to attend alongside us.
A Closer Look
The AWS Jetpack programme was split over two days. Day One was mainly training-focused and covered topics designed to grow consultants’ understanding of the Solution Architect function and improve their skills in engaging with customers.
Here are just a few of the sessions from the programme:
- The Solution Architect Function: An explanation of how AWS see the Solution Architect role – the key message is customer trust and long-term support.
- Conducting Effective Customer Meetings: How to run customer meetings, including preparation, timing, knowing your audience and listening to the customer.
- Scoping Questions: How to structure questions to capture what the customer wants and how to refine what they want into requirements.
- Objection Handling: How to handle customers’ concerns, particularly in critical areas like security, cost and sustainability.
- Intro to Whiteboarding (with WAFR): How to run a whiteboarding session and extract key information from a customer, including the current technology in play and where the data is located.
- Conducting Effective Presentations: How to turn presentations into stories and engage an audience. (Although I was one of the sponsors of the event, I found this topic incredibly useful. In my AWS Ambassador and Community roles, I take a lot of this for granted but I guess I learned it the hard way! 😉)
- Build a successful AWS SA+PDM relationship: Inawisdom is very proud of our relationship with AWS; both sides have invested a lot over the past 6 years. It’s key to us that no one person owns the relationship; instead, we all do, from top to bottom. This session was aimed at helping our consultants understand and contribute to the relationship.
Day Two of the event had a mainly practical focus, consisting of several ‘Capstone’ sessions. In these sessions, participants were presented with a fictional scenario close to a typical use case we see at Inawisdom. Working in teams, they used the knowledge gained from the previous day’s training to roleplay a customer engagement – conducting a whiteboarding session, developing a solution and proposal, and then presenting this back to the customer.
Our scenario was set around an established high-street fashion store that had rapidly moved their legacy e-commerce offering to the cloud to cope with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants were told that the business was seeking insights into the resulting changes in their customers’ behaviour and buying habits, as well as issues in their supply chain.
For each of the ‘customer-facing’ sessions, myself and fellow sponsors, as well as attendees from our AWS PSA team, role-played as various members of the fictional client’s technical team. Each session lasted about 30 minutes, with 15 minutes of critique afterwards to help each group improve.
The AWS Jetpack has been a great success and we have already seen an increased amount of confidence from the cohort of consultants in how they engage with clients and help shape engagement. It will definitely remain an essential part of the wider Architecture Growth Programme. I’m really pleased we have access to training like this through AWS; it’s a great opportunity to invest in our consultants, and we’ve had very positive feedback from the participants.
I would finally like to thank everyone in the AWS PSA and Inawisdom teams that made this possible, and for their investment. I would also like to thank all the consultants in the cohort for their willingness to learn new things, put lots of effort into the whole initiative, and invest in their own growth. I wish you all every success in using your what you have learnt, you are going to nail it.