The IT Training Conundrum
Leveraging Online Webinars To Increase Skills
If you're like many IT staff and managers, you've got more things to do than time to get them all done. So finding the time for continuing IT education and training doesn't always make it to the top of your priority list. Training is a frequent IT conundrum.
You know you need to keep up on the industry evolvement, but there's little or no budget, a shortage of time and few opportunities in the workplace. So what's an IT manager to do?
Consider taking a new look at the wide range of IT webinars that are offered from technology vendors, their partners, professional groups and a myriad of technology publications that are all clamoring to get their brands and experts in front of you. There are many educational choices and opportunities out there even if you can't find the time or budget to get out of your office or travel to technology conferences.
Now's a good time to let the training come to you. So where can you start?
A great first place is to check the Web sites and e-mail newsletters (you are subscribing to informational newsletters from suppliers that are important to your business, aren't you?)
There's some great content out there that you can be consuming and following in your day-to-day IT activities and these newsletters often offer sign-up information for a wide variety of informative webinars on software, hardware, information security and other IT tools and processes.
Much of what's out there is free of charge, though that may mean that you have to sit through some vendor pitches or some not-so-subtle product advertising, but if you've been to IT conferences, you know that these are part of the price of admission there as well.
Perform a Web search using your favorite search engine, being as specific as possible, to locate webinars on the topics you are most interested in. Interested in finding out more about Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and where it is heading in the future? Then check out an upcoming webinar sponsored by SAP, according to the Web site, CFO.com. The site offers a whole slate of regularly-scheduled webinars on topics from IT to investors to financing.
Similarly, HealthcareInfoSecurity.com has several upcoming sessions scheduled on pandemic planning and response for healthcare professionals, including how to create business continuity plans in the event of a widespread health emergency.
The Software Best Practices Webinar Series from Computer Aid Inc. (CAI). and the IT Metrics and Productivity Institute in Allentown, Penn., offers a wide schedule of webinars on topics including software testing, software project management, legacy systems support and IT project governance.
Many of these webinar directories also offer archived and searchable historical webinars for your playback and perusal so you can catch up on sessions that you may have missed. It's like having your own video library of pertinent IT training sessions at your disposal.
FierceCIO.com has an extensive archive section, including sessions on content management, enterprise mobility, cloud computing and data storage and data mining. CRMsearch.com offers sessions on customer relationship management (CRM), social CRM (SCRM), open source CRM systems and various other CRM topics. ERPsearch.com provides webinar content on the topics of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, accounting software systems, supply chain management systems, manufacturing applications and payroll/HR systems. The information is out there, and all you need to do to find it.
Invite some of your staff into the conference room for a shared webinar session so you can all take in some new information and then expand upon it as it related to your particular organization. Sign up for some lunchtime webinars and then bring in some lunch for the staff. Let these be shared learning experiences, then continue the sessions on your own by further discussing the topics after the webinars are complete.
Tight travel budgets and schedules don't have to mean that training and continuous learning stop inside your organization. Be creative, explore the possibilities and take some time to expand the minds of your staff. Feed the hunger and thirst of knowledge and watch new ideas and creative answers begin to blossom within your team as your workers take new thinking and run with it.
Also ask your vendors and partners if they offer webinars. Check out your favorite online publications and see what they offer. There's a world of online IT educational knowledge out there that you can use to mentor and advance your staff. Now's the time to start bringing some of it in-house to help your team and your company, at your own pace and to fit your own needs.