Facts and Figures from Research Reports
There are many studies on the value of training, not just IT training and I don’t intend to summarise or make a conclusion in this blog. However I did like a 2009 research report by Beth Vanni (then Director of Market Intelligence for Amazon Consulting) and a few points that sprang out included:
♦ the majority of customers indicated they trusted a certified partner more
♦ customers involve certified partners to a greater degree in future decision making
♦ certified providers gain more repeat business and sell more services beyond product purchases
The research indicated that having certified staff does not mean you can increase your prices; nor will your certifications rank highly in your customers’ criteria for choosing a partner. Customers want strong relationships, high service levels and complete solutions. It seems to be expected that the staff know their stuff just as it is expected that the staff will act professionally and not spend all day browsing Facebook. Certifications are important but they are a mere fact of due diligence.
Of course if you are hiring new staff, you need a benchmark on which to judge their skills. 90% of the respondents to a McKinsey Quarterly survey (“Building organizational capabilities: McKinsey Global Survey results,” March 2010) said that building capabilities was a top-ten priority for their organisations. Standards for both academic and technical qualifications are important here.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
A cliché, I admit. I know I don’t know much about Quantum Physics but it’s a cool job title. I’ve been dealing with Microsoft products for 25 years but I still gain a lot from watching other people use Microsoft Office. Attending a training course helps widen your knowledge and experience and often demonstrates best practices, tools or methodologies that even experienced IT Pros may not have come across in their day-to-day work. Training courses help you explore areas of the products and technologies that you may not have used in the past, in a guided and safe way (without risking production environments). There’s also the networking opportunities. I like meeting fellow course delegates; IT can be quite a small world and some of my best contacts have been gained from training courses.