Lack of training warrants a heavy sigh

There's this world-weary sigh my mother use to do to show her disapproval. It was actually a mix of disapproval and tired resignation.

She would watch the 6pm TV news and sigh, or walk into my untidy bedroom and sigh. This sigh could be applied to a range of different situations, but you get the picture. Well you can imagine my horror when I recently found myself doing the very same sigh.

Even worse, was the drivel falling from my mouth. I was moaning about the age we live-in (a sure sign of getting old). Complaining about this generation and how technology has facilitated the 24-hour telephone dob-in line, how there is CCTV everywhere and far too much 'reality' TV. It is also the age where we are all expected to have some intuitive understanding of IT.

We are thrown in front of a computer and expected to know how to use the software, like we are all born with a natural understanding of technology.

It is a bit like the belief that all women are naturally maternal; all humans just know computers.

If we don't, we are made to feel stupid. Maybe that's why so many organizations are loathe to provide end-user training.

Companies spend billions each year on IT investments but provide little or no training. How can that be productive? (insert sigh here).

It is incredibly short-sighted at a time when IT is being driven mad with the ROI mantra.

If you work in medicine it's all about the patients and if you're a stage performer it's all about the applause. But if you work in IT right now it's all about cost cutting and more cost cutting. So why take such a cavalier approach to training at a time when organizations are squeezing every last dollar they can from every IT asset?

I read research the other day that said up to 90 cents of every dollar spent on software is wasted because of a lack of training.

Sure there is a hint of hyperbole in this estimate, but I don't think it's too far off the mark.

When budgets are slashed training is often the first thing to go. There is no technology investment that will yield productivity without some learning.

And we all know what happens if you leave end users to their own devices. They will have the software doing things it wasn't supposed to do. They will discover nuances in your deployment you hadn't imagined in your wildest dreams.

Not to mention the time wasted when users engage in a little self-teaching, and that's time you are paying for.

Users only need the basics, a simple tutorial. Nobody is ever going to use all of the 20 million features in Microsoft.

Your pristine upgrade just won't be complete without some training. And dare I say it, we live in an age where technology can actually facilitate this process.

That's right e-learning. Support your technology investments, allow them to reach their full potential with more training.

Are you getting the most from your new stuff? Feedback sandra_rossi@idg.com.au

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