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The business benefits of refresher IT training

September 03, 2013

Few would argue against the claim that information technology is among the most important aspects of virtually every business. Technology has become so ingrained into every component of organizations that workers are now almost entirely dependent on these solutions. If a firm's IT services are not performing adequately, then neither will its workers or the business as a whole.

With all of this in mind, it is obvious that companies have tremendous motivation to optimize their IT support services in every capacity. Yet this is easier said than done. Choosing the right services and tools, while essential, is not enough. For any IT solutions to provide their maximum value, it is also imperative that these resources are utilized to their full potential.

To this end, IT training is an extremely valuable, and often underutilized, resource. Specifically, firms should consider giving refresher IT training classes to both their IT support professionals and general employees on a regular or semi-regular basis.

Training the pros
At first glance, it may seem silly or at least counter-intuitive, to focus on providing IT training to a company's IT professionals. After all, these are the individuals who are presumably the most well-informed when it comes to existing and upcoming IT services, and consequently should be least in need of refresher courses on IT services, right?

Not exactly. In reality, there are a number of significant, compelling reasons for firms to offer and encourage their IT professionals to attend such classes.

First and foremost is the simple fact that technology is constantly changing. New developments, both major and minor, are an undeniable component of the IT landscape. Consequently, it can be difficult for IT professionals to maintain accurate knowledge of all relevant IT trends and changes, considering that they must dedicate a tremendous amount of their time and effort toward maintaining existing IT infrastructures and services.

Refresher IT training courses can therefore serve as an excellent means of helping these personnel remain up-to-date and fully informed. They will then be able to leverage this training to optimize the company's existing solutions and, critically, to develop plans for implementing as-of-yet unutilized IT services. If the company does not provide these personnel with the time and education needed to fully understand emerging technologies, then its IT support staff will be unable to make informed decisions concerning the business's IT future.

Lastly, refresher IT training for IT support staff can help the company by improving these individuals' abilities to educate other employees on the use of various IT technologies. The more robust a given IT support professional's understanding of a particular technology is, the better he or she will be able to oversee its use within the organization. Other employees will inevitably have questions concerning any new IT offering, and the IT department will be expected to provide answers. These courses can help ensure that this is not a problem for a firm's IT professionals.

Training for all
Additionally, companies in every sector would be wise to offer IT training to their general employees on a recurring basis. This is especially true if the organization is regularly upgrading its IT services and adding new ones, as is often the case. Employees who do not have a background in IT may otherwise struggle to understand and utilize the available IT resources. Obviously, as mentioned above, the IT department can and should provide a significant degree of support and guidance in this regard. But there are limits to how effective such ad hoc assistance can be. More comprehensive training for all affected employees can be both more effective and more efficient.

Say, for example, that a company recently switched to a largely cloud-based infrastructure. Presumably, some initial efforts would be made to inform employees of the significance of this initiative and how it will affect their work lives. But the only real way to truly guarantee that workers receive the information and guidance they need is with a dedicated IT training course.

But that's not all. Inevitably, a company that has recently adopted cloud solutions will continually strive to take advantage of this resource in new, advanced ways. This means that the tools available to workers will evolve over time. Yet businesses will only see the benefits from these upgrades if employees are aware of the new options and know how to use them.

Regular IT training can prove invaluable for achieving this end result. By providing refresher IT training classes for employees, businesses can make sure that all of their IT investments are understood by the employees that they are intended to benefit. And as a result, the company as a whole is likely to see greater productivity, efficiency and even worker satisfaction.

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