There’s been a ton of buzz and activity around my first report, “Mind The Cloud Skills Gap.” As such, when Shell presented at the IBM Think Digital event earlier this year about reskilling its staff, I was very keen to attend. The key takeaways from this session were:

  • Shell Chief Data and Analytics Officer Frans Klaassen discussed the company’s professional certification initiatives in architecture, platforms, and data.
  • In a five-day joint effort, IBM and Shell trained 1,000 employees. Learning was divided into five different tracks, including segment architects, solution architects, and data architects. Training took place in Houston, London, The Hague in the Netherlands, and Bangalore, India. To encourage engagement and promote some skin in the game, the program was set up with pre-coursework (roughly 30 hours) and exams during and at the end of the training. Full certification required completion of all parts, meaning that even if an attendee passed the final exam, they would have to complete the pre-coursework.
  • As an added incentive, any last-minute cancellations were reported to the appropriate levels in the organization (with employees notifying in advance). They believe this was effective, as no-shows made up only 3.5% for events in all four locations. Klaassen added that normally no-shows for events and conference are around 10% to 15%.
  • Between May and July, roughly 680 Shell employees were certified. In total, 780 were trained and certified in data analytics and engineering as part of the architecture platform and data learning exchange. Another 100 employees achieved architecture certification.

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If you’re interested in gaining more insights on remote work, Forrester clients can always submit an inquiry request to I am also currently looking to interview organizations that are going through this process, so if you’d like to tell me your story of reskilling your workforce for cloud, send me an email at