Take yourself back to the dark ages, before every woman and her dog was “doing” cloud computing (which, to be realistic, means less than a decade ago, but it feels prehistoric to me). Back then I frequented lots of different conferences, many of which were focused on cloud computing. At those events, I was frustrated, annoyed and somewhat incredulous at the amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) that was circulating about what cloud was, and what it wasn’t.

But rather than simply dwell on it, I decided to do something about it and pitched the idea of a vendor-neutral cloud education program to some folks at Rackspace (who was, back then, fighting to compete with Amazon Web Services in the public cloud space – I did say it was a long time ago!)

What was born was CloudU, a series of papers and webinars, an education program and a certification, and a bunch of other material (public presentations? E-books? Tee-shirts? Yes, yes, and yes). Over its lifespan, CloudU saw tens of thousands of individuals – both IT professionals and business folks – upskill themselves and better understand what cloud was all about.

The model of a vendor-neutral approach and free resources without any catches appealed and I’m super proud of what I built at CloudU.

Today’s cloudy analog

Fast forward to today and much of what frustrated me about cloud computing back then is similar to what I see around the digital transformation space. In the same way that “cloud” became a de rigeur word that everyone used but no one understood, so too is Digital Transformation (always with the capitalization) thrown around today.

So, again, I decided to do something about it and spent time talking with the fine folks over at HelloSign. I’ve been a HelloSign user for many years and have enjoyed the seemingly simple, but hugely valuable, ability to do away without physical documents and (shock, horror!) faxed or posted documents.

Welcome to the Digital Strength program

And so I’m excited to welcome the Digital Strength program to the world today. Much like CloudU, Digital Strength is a 12-course program that takes participants from the most basic definitional aspect of digital transformation and moves through to more advanced topics. Digital Strength is a 12-course educational program that provides motivated changemakers with the knowledge and resources needed to push change initiatives forward and catalyze digital transformation within their organizations. Best of all it’s totally free and it isn’t (I promise) full of vendor pitches.

My eldest son is fond of wearing a tee-shirt that I acquired for him at some long-forgotten conference. On the tee shirt is written the simple piece of advice: “Change before you have to.” It strikes me that the ever-growing number of sectors that are being disrupted through the use of digital technologies means that today, more than any time in the past, organizations have no options but to change. Right now.

So I’m excited to see how folks will use the learnings that we unlock for them with Digital Strength to help their organizations leverage all the opportunities that technology can bring. Welcome to the program!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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