As a purpose-led, global business and technology consulting company, Slalom helps customers build practical, end-to-end solutions that drive meaningful impact. The cloud is a key driver of its business, in no small part because of its work with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is one of Slalom’s largest partners globally.
When Slalom wanted to strengthen its team members’ cloud skills so they could continue to deliver powerful solutions, it turned to AWS Partner Training and Certification, which equips organizations with the practical cloud skills and industry-recognized credentials necessary to succeed in the cloud.
Together, Slalom and AWS Training and Certification built a large-scale AWS training program. This initiative has equipped team members from diverse technical backgrounds with a deeper understanding of AWS—which has supported the growth of customer projects and employee careers.
Opportunity | Working with AWS Training and Certification to Drive Business Growth for Slalom
Founded in 2001 and member of the AWS Partner Network since 2010, Slalom has a significant history with AWS. It has been an AWS Partner since 2012, and it holds 17 AWS Competencies along with 10 AWS Service Validations. “Our customers’ demand to migrate and modernize on AWS remains a key business driver,” says Jeff Pearson, managing director of Slalom’s AWS business. “The breadth and depth of our AWS knowledge are critical, so we can use the right set of services to achieve our customers’ business objectives.”
To build and strengthen employees’ cloud skills, Slalom collaborated with experts from AWS Training and Certification to develop a robust, human-centered training program. “We are very people focused,” says Linnea Johnson, senior manager of tech expert development at Slalom. “We designed a program that is centered on the development of our people but also aims to bring innovative and differentiated solutions to our clients.”
Solution | Achieving Over 2,800 AWS Certifications across 1,700 Individuals Using AWS Training
Slalom launched its AWS training program in 2016. The program uses a mix of gamified learning, hands-on experiences, and lab environments. Team members can take different courses, explore career pathways, and earn an AWS Certification, which validate technical skills and cloud expertise. Slalom has designed three learning experiences to support the AWS training program: Slalom Cloud Residency, Project Ada, and learning cohorts.
Slalom Cloud Residency was launched in 2021 to help early- and new-career talent develop cloud technical consulting experience. Participants acquire skills in emerging cloud technologies and agile methodologies while earning AWS Certifications. “During the first couple of months, we focused on acquainting ourselves with the cloud and started working on AWS Certifications. You don’t get this at any other company,” says Kellie Laflin, Cloud Residency participant at Slalom. “Most employees are expected to work toward certifications on their own time. Getting dedicated training time early gives you an advantage. Slalom is a great place to start your career.”
After a few months dedicated to learning and focused training, participants build real client products using their new skills, with the support of a cohort and mentors. “I enjoy seeing the light bulb go on when I’m teaching someone something and they see it in a different light,” says Kesha Williams, senior principal and Cloud Residency mentor at Slalom. “It builds their self-confidence.”
In 2020, Slalom launched Project Ada. Named for Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, the program addresses the fact that women-identifying consultants have historically held fewer AWS Certifications than their men-identifying peers. By the end of Project Ada in 2021, Slalom’s total population of women with AWS Certifications increased from 3 percent to 35 percent. “Project Ada gave me the support and confidence to learn new technology that I previously thought was out of my league,” says Nicole Egan, senior delivery principal at Slalom and Project Ada participant. “The certifications I earned have been a game changer for my career development.”
Team members also participated in learning cohorts, which target specific AWS Certifications to pursue based on Slalom’s business objectives. “The program provides support, encouragement, and most importantly, a cohort of others who are in the same boat and share their knowledge and wealth of experience,” says Fai Fu, principal consultant at Slalom. In alignment with its data and analytics investment strategy, Slalom recently helped 74 participants earn their AWS Certified Machine Learning - Specialty certifications, which validate expertise in building and deploying machine learning models on AWS.
By the end of 2022, over 800 Slalom professionals had engaged in learning cohorts. Additionally, 1,700 employees achieved AWS Certifications, bringing Slalom’s total number of AWS Certifications to more than 2,800. “Working with AWS Training and Certification empowers our team members to learn new, valuable skills that can help them grow and advance their career journeys,” says Pearson. “We try to align the needs of our consultants with where our customers’ strategic objectives are headed.”
Outcome | Stimulating Business Growth and Advancement
Slalom’s AWS training program has advanced its consultants’ professional development and growth, which has also driven sales. In the 6 months after one learning cohort concluded in 2022, 50 percent of participants drove more sales than they did in the 6 months before. In 2022, Slalom also completed more than 1,300 customer projects using AWS. Ultimately, Slalom wants everyone who works on an AWS engagement to hold an active AWS Certification.
“Slalom wants to develop top talent, not just hire top talent. Our collaboration with AWS Training and Certification has made a significant impact,” says Tony Ko, managing director of global data, analytics, and artificial intelligence at Slalom. “Structured programs with certification accelerators and custom training content help us prioritize learning at the highest levels. We can also draw tighter connections between training and delivering impact for our customers.”
Slalom is a two-time recipient of the AWS Partner of the Year award for systems integrators, earning the award in 2021 and 2022. To add to these honors, Slalom was recognized as the global AWS Education Partner of the Year for 2022.
At the end of 2022, Slalom announced a multiyear extension to its AWS Strategic Collaboration Agreement that supports global expansion, strengthens its collaboration with AWS Professional Services, and positions both companies to deliver innovative technology and industry-specific solutions to additional joint customers.
“Our AWS agreement is our largest, most strategic, and most impactful collaboration,” says Dave Cutler, general manager at Slalom. “We will continue to focus and grow this partnership because we can see the impact that it has on our customers and our team members.”
Slalom is a purpose-led, global business and technology consulting company. In 8 countries and 45 markets, it delivers practical, end-to-end solutions that drive meaningful impact for its customers.