Some industries remain constant and have very limited changes in how things are done for decades at a time, and then there is IT. By the time I finish writing this post there will likely be another technological innovation that could potentially change the way businesses operate or people communicate. New software is coded every day and new hardware is released constantly.
Moore’s Law was proposed in 1965 by Intel Co-Founder Gordon Moore, and it has often been cited in explaining the consistent advancements in the development of technology. The basic premise behind Moore’s Law is that technology will double in capabilities every year, leading to exponential gains in its development and capabilities. With the constant evolution and innovation within the technology industry, it makes it difficult to decide where and when to invest.
In my previous blog post, “When is the Right Time?” I discussed some of the questions that should be answered to help eliminate some of the risks associated with being a first mover. Equally important for your organization or business, is the consideration of how to invest in training resources.
Here are a few pointers on helping to decide how to invest your IT training resources:
1) What’s the value added by the tool vs. the cost for training?
At its core, the reason why your organization will be using any IT tools will be to help increase your employees’ efficiency and your overall profitability. Examining how much the tool costs versus the value added by added training within the organization will help to provide a quick analysis of the benefits.
2) Who needs to be trained?
This seems like a very simple question, but it’s oftentimes not answered prior to organizations opening up their checkbooks. If there is a large group that needs to be trained, sometimes it may be more cost efficient to have one person attend training and then have them disseminate the information to a larger group. They can essentially become a trainer for your organization at a much cheaper rate.
3) Is there free training available?
There are many great free training resources online. Microsoft has a great learning site for all of their product offerings. This includes certification paths as well as links to the Microsoft knowledge base: Technet. Another great resource which has recently become available is offered through MIT. They have provided course content and lectures for almost all of the courses and this is available completely free online at the MIT Open Courseware site.
4) Is your employee someone you should invest in?
This is one of the tough questions that should be asked, but it isn’t nearly enough. What is your employee’s long term career plan and will this be a career for them or just another stepping stone for another position? It is important to invest in those who will be able to add value, and it can be seriously detrimental to have only one person who has knowledge of a critical system. Always make sure there is no single point of failure within your organization!
5) What is the release version of the tool?
Many of the larger software tools that are being released will have a new version release cycle of between 2 – 4 years. It is important to plan for any future releases and have a defined upgrade path within your organization. Avoiding upgrading can and will increase your support costs, and it will focus the training budget for the organization on a legacy application.
Training is critical for an organization and their employees. Building technical expertise can be incredibly advantageous for an organization. Following the tips above should help to maximize the dollars that you invest in training your employees.
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