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Why you should invest in training your IT team

Jonathan Hassell | July 4, 2014
"The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them." -- Zig Ziglar

Investing in training for your IT team members makes them more valuable — to the marketplace, yes, but also to your organization, which in turn increases the value and business contribution of IT to your overall corporate operation. In this economy, that's no bad thing.

Training increases the value of your technology department and its ability to respond to changing business needs. In many enterprises, IT is no longer just a cost center, a necessary expense on the way to doing business. As the Internet economy emerges, and as big data and analytics continue to transform the way business gets done today, IT needs to become a value center, if not a profit center.

IT needs to enable new technologies that can directly serve customers. Like never before, IT needs to make available data, particularly the ability to slice and dice it in order to identify patterns in customer behavior and insight into existing business processes.

These technologies require skill. Hadoop, Hive, Pig, Cassandra and HBase are all nascent technologies just entering their growth phases. Five years ago, no one was proficient in them. Now, being skilled at implementing a data mart full of unstructured records is seen as the next big thing. Empower your employees to stay on the cutting edge of new IT trends, and allow them to train in these technologies, and you directly increase the value of your IT department as it pertains to generating revenue and cutting costs.

Having an IT department make a solid impact on the bottom line is an excellent endeavor, but you can't make that happen without a commitment to consistent training.

Training Is Expensive, But It's Worth the Cost

Training comes in all shapes and sizes, too.

Trade shows. There aren't just expo floor goodie-grabbing events anymore. Many vendors offer deep technical content, experts manning technical sessions and booths on the show floor, as well as trial/not-for-resale versions of new products and technologies that can go a long way toward getting employees familiar with new things.

Yes, attendance can cost several thousand dollars, but many events last less than a week and provide a lot of exposure in a very short time. Look at vendor-specific trade shows, as they typically more technical content than larger, non-specific shows, which focus more on marketing and don't give a strong payback.

Instructor-led training courses. These, too, are expensive, and they focus narrowly on one topic, so you don't get the breadth of technical coverage that a trade show would offer. At the same time, spending three to five days learning a single technology can be quite enlightening and is money well spent if the products covered are core to your organization's mission.


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