IT training can make the difference between a software system that delivers and one that disappoints

By Susan Merriman

WW Leader of Emerging Technologies, HPSW Education

After starting her career in higher education administration, Susan has devoted the last 15 years to software education.  Ranging from ERP to IT, Susan has designed and provided learning programs to organizations of all sizes and industries.  In her current role at HP Software, Susan is responsible for creating solutions that help customers maximize their use of software in order to meet their business objectives.

 

As a progressive CIO, you’re always looking for new ways to give your company the competitive edge to thrive. Technology can play a key role in realizing that goal. But once you’ve convinced your organization to invest in an new IT system, the pressure is on to make sure the deployment is a success.

 

38.PNGSystem failure

But the problem is that all too often software deployments fall short of expectations, failing to achieve the dramatic results CIOs promised. Why? Because while companies usually put every available resource into designing, configuring and installing a new software system, they often neglect to train the people who will be using it on a daily basis.

 

Even the most impressive systems are only as efficient as the staff operating them – and numerous studies show that most employees don’t use existing applications to their full potential. In fact, recent research by Vanson Bourne reveals that 38 percent of IT departments either underuse or never use the software they’ve purchased. It’s always going to be difficult to convince your company of a system’s merits if the workforce can’t use it properly.

 

Learn from others’ mistakes

Employees don’t miraculously become experts in software systems ­and a lack of training can lead to serious problems. I’ve seen a company-wide software implementation abandoned at colossal cost because staff proficiency never reached sufficient levels. And I’ve witnessed a business miss its quarterly numbers – not to mention abandon a planned multi-national expansion – because its staff did not know how to process orders on a new system.

 

Early education saves time and money

Properly planned and budgeted training can make the difference between a software implementation being a success or a failure. A few hours of training in advance of the deployment can save you days of productive time once the system goes live.

 

classroom.PNGEducated employees are more effective employees

Industry studies reveal that professionally trained staff make half the number of errors and spend more time on crucial tasks than poorly educated users. Staff will also reach proficiency much quicker, and your organization will see the return on its investment much faster, if users are properly trained.

 

More than half of the decision makers surveyed for Vanson Bourne’s white paper said that introducing a structured training program for end users is the single biggest thing they could do to improve their company’s ability to successful deploy software.

 

Empower your workforce

It’s tough out there these days. Economic conditions are harsh and the market is ever more competitive – businesses are being forced to cut costs and more is expected of employees. You’re already given your company the tools it needs to become more productive and more efficient – now prepare your team to optimize your software’s full potential.

What’s your organization’s approach to IT training? What tips would you give to fellow CIOs about to embark on a new software deployment?

 

Related links:

HP Software Education

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