IT procurement: How to go for gold (even if you’re not in Rio)

With just weeks to go until the 2016 Olympics in Rio, 10,500 athletes from 206 countries will be training to win the gold in 306 events. As the Olympics only happens every four years, athletes have to train long and hard if they want to perform to their maximum capability.

They know that if they are not ready, or get injured, they will miss the opportunity for another four years. Procuring and deploying IT infrastructure also requires long term planning and commitment and like Olympians, if you want to reach for gold in terms of success – the essential component is always effective training.

Commit to the goal

As the Olympics only occur every four years, it is a huge commitment of time and money. It’s a long-term goal, which requires a long-term plan. The same applies to IT. When the IT infrastructure needs to be updated, IT professionals are committing to the newly purchased software or hardware, for the next three to five years.

No one wants to choose the wrong tech, or realise what they have deployed will soon become obsolete. However a commitment to the purchase doesn’t end at the point of sale. Employees need to be able to use the new hardware and software efficiently and effectively to carry out their tasks. In order for this to happen, the most successful organisations always invest time and effort building a training plan for their employees within their new environment.

You wouldn’t expect your team to compete at the next Olympics without having committed to train hard, and impactful training is equally fundamental in successful IT deployments.

Reach your full potential

So, why are athletes required to train? It’s simple, to reach their full potential. Training in IT is the same. There’s no point investing thousands of pounds in a new IT infrastructure, if it’s not being used to its full potential due to untrained users. So how can it be maximised? By bridging the skills gap - train your employees to use it – make it a requirement.

Although it may seem that avoiding training might appear to be a way to reduce costs in the short term, the same organisation will actually be paying for the lack of efficiency in the long term. By making the time and effort to send your employees on training, they will be more productive, and competent using the new framework. They won’t be wasting time calling the help desk complaining X isn’t working or asking their colleagues ‘how do I do this’?

Furthermore, nowadays training doesn’t even have to mean sending your employees away with the hotel and travel costs; employees are able to train via remote, mobile learning. Remote learning via virtual classes or e-learning allows training to be cost-effective, scalable and deliverable to more employees, wherever they might be located.

Be associated with a Winner

Well-known sporting brands invest in and sponsor Olympians, because they know the power of being associated with a winner. Audiences connect the brand with the winning athlete and they buy that brand, so they too can feel like winners. In simple terms, the athlete’s success is worth the investment, and the greater the win, the higher the ROI.

Similarly, the CEO is looking for a return on his or her IT investment. If staff aren’t fully trained it might appear as if the chosen IT product is not a winner, making the IT procurement manager, by association, look less than competent. Training your staff so that the new IT’s capabilities can be fully realised (time efficiencies, savings, data protection, compliance etc.) and the CEO will see the ROI, and associate this winning tech with the person who choose it. By using vendor training to aid your employees ability to use what is often highly sophisticated technology, you empower them to be winners as well.

Show that you have a winning team

Demonstrate that your team is running to its maximum potential by validating their skill sets post training, through accreditation. Athletes receive medals if they win a podium place, you need to allow your team to validate their skills through vendor accreditation when they complete their training.

It proves their value to the team and also demonstrates the recognition of your investment in their individual professional growth. Employees who feel invested in are proven to feel more motivated and committed to their personal goals and team objectives. Put them on a development and accreditation workout plan and see how they will continue to reach new levels of productivity and add value to your business.

Gold

Training takes athletes to the next level, from being just a mere Olympic hopeful to the top podium place. It pushes you to ensure you get the most out of your physical self – whether it is nutrition, fitness, or sport specific coaching. Imagine what else your employees and your new IT infrastructure could achieve if they were being utilised to their full potential?

If training your employees increases overall company productivity, it’s a win-win situation for both the company and the individual, with time and money saved. So put in the time, the effort, the investment, and train your employees to go for gold.

Martin Hill, Director of Education Services at Commvault

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