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Getting to ‘Cowabunga’

Aug 06, 20033 mins
Data CenterIT Skills

* Training is the only way to get the full value out of software or surfboards

Companies are increasingly deploying enterprise software without properly training their people. In some cases, the expense of training, particularly when it involves travel, becomes a barrier to properly training more than a handful of IT staff. So IT people do what they have to do to get their jobs done.

I’m a proponent of training. It can help to mitigate frustration, increase the likelihood of success, and lead to fully utilizing the capabilities of software and hardware.

As busy as IT staffs are, without training, they will get the job done and move on to the next task. But if they aren’t given the opportunity to learn how to use the software and what it’s capable of, only a subset of the software capabilities will probably be used. In my mind, that’s not protecting the investment that has been made in the hardware and software.

Let me use a simple example to illustrate the value of training. During a recent vacation in Hawaii, my daughters wanted to learn how to surf. They had two alternatives: take a lesson (the more expensive option), or rent surfboards and try to figure it out. I suggested the first option. They took the lesson and got up on their first try.

As they continued their lesson, another family came along who had obviously chosen the second option – they were going to try and figure it out themselves.

It provided us with some entertainment as we watched them struggle to get the whole family in the water, stumbling over rocks (because they didn’t have all of the proper equipment). Then when they were in the water, several of them had difficulty just staying on the board. They paddled around a lot and none of them caught a wave during the time that we were watching. It was clear that making the initial investment in training paid off. The experience was much better, as was the result.

This simple example illustrates the value of training. In trying to save money, IT shops could be costing themselves more in the long run, or failing to get the most out of their new purchases.

On the other side of the coin, vendors must do more to make training available and affordable for IT shops. By making training more accessible, vendors increase the likelihood of their customers’ success and satisfaction – plus, they could potentially save money in support costs.

So whether you’re a vendor or an ITer, training should be a key consideration when planning a deployment or upgrade, not an afterthought or something that gets pushed aside. Would you rather be paddling around aimlessly or catching a wave?