Investing in staff training now will save time and money later

By Susan Merriman 

WW Leader of Emerging Technologies, HPSW Education


I’ve seen it happen more times than you’d credit: a multi-national spends millions on a state-of-the-art IT system but fails to train its staff in how to use it.  There are a number of reasons why this can happen:

 

  • Learning on the job: I come across an assumption that people will just figure out how to use new software themselves; but 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.
  • Budgets: Training is an ‘easy’ line item to cut if budgets are under pressure.
  • Evolution: Software is a living, breathing thing; as it is upgraded and new users come on board, additional training needs are often overlooked.

But here’s the thing: employees don’t miraculously become experts in software systems ­and a lack of training can lead to serious problems.

 

How a of lack of training can affect your bottom line

For example, I’ve seen a company-wide SW 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.

 

Capture.PNGReluctance to invest in training and education is nothing new; I’ve seen it slip down the priority list amid the excitement of a new software implementation. But investing in IT training and education in the early stages of a project can save you a whole lot of time and money down the line. More than half of the decision makers surveyed for Vanson Bourne’s white paper said that introducing a structured training programme for end users is the single biggest thing they could do to improve their company’s ability to successful deploy software. Thankfully, more and more organizations realise this.

 

Proficient employees are productive employees

It takes an employee several hours longer to be figure out how to use new software and become productive during an actual implementation than during a training session. Industry studies reveal that professionally trained staff make half the number of errors and spend more time on crucial tasks than poorly educated users. It makes sense that an organization will see the return on investment much faster when users are trained and proficient in the new software.

 

The fact is that your IT system is only as good as the people using it; invest in staff training and software education and you’re investing in your future. 

 

So what’s your organization’s approach to IT training? Do you think your employees are getting the most out of their software applications?   

 

To find out how training can help your business realize its full potential check out HP's latest video on software education.

 

 

Related links:

HP Software Education

Training Needs Assessment

White paper:  IT training efficiency

Comments
morganmatthews(anon) | ‎03-22-2012 06:33 AM

I agree with this and think it is often overlooked within IT maybe more than other industries.  Imagine bringing a new steel making machine to a foundry and not spending enough time to train the workers in using it! I suspect in IT we often assume the solutions are intuitive or easy to understand/use. 

 

However, it is not just the "how to use the solution that is all important".   I recall in one company how the call centre agents often ticked the "other" flag in the reason for the customer call in a new CRM system  - this was relatively quick for them to do and move on to the next call. The real requirement was that in the training programme there was a need to explain both "how to use the system" but also "why and the impacts/benefits of adoption". The management information from such a CRM system would enable great customer analysis and sales/cost improvements if the data in was accurate, but not overly so when the noted customer call reasons are "other".

 

 I believe education and the methods people learn is an extremely important aspect of IT solutions. After all, a business case for any new investment, be it software or not, is often predicated on people changing from an existing way of working to becoming competent in a new way of working to drive some operational effectiveness and/or efficiency improvement and if the people don't know and use the new best practices then the business case should fall short. 

Susan_Merriman | ‎03-26-2012 09:48 PM

Thank you for your comments, which I found to be very insightful.   Your CRM example is spot-on; if an organization doesn’t do a good job explaining the purpose and benefits through use case scenarios, they cannot expect to achieve their desired business outcomes.  I am glad that you found the post to be thought provoking and look forward to more thoughts from you in the future.

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