IT Employment

Is your training staff ready for new technology?

Training issues are often at the bottom of the concerns list when a new technology product is considered. Matthew Mercurio shares the five Ps rule of new technology consideration.

It’s extremely hard to keep up with the latest and greatest in today’s constantly changing tech world. If it’s hard for the industry gurus to keep up-to-date with the new technologies, just think how the end user must feel. In their battle for the no. 1 spot, software and hardware giants have scrambled to make their products faster and better than the next guy’s. Even though this is great for progress, it’s usually the little guy or gal that gets lost and becomes overwhelmed.

Every day without fail, someone comes to my office spouting off about this new piece of software he or she has heard about. After some debate, I usually ask the user, “Is this software really worth the time and patience it takes to learn and use”? Often the answer is “no.” Even though I’m a gadget guy at heart, I have to say that once you get past the one or two new tasks that the software offers, it’s usually not worth spending the money to install, deploy, and train people to use on a company-wide level. This doesn’t mean some hot, new software or hardware can’t turn my head—there are still times when, despite the money and training, I like installing the latest techno-toy.

Following the five Ps
When I do find something I think can be useful enough to invest in, there are a couple of rules I follow. As my father used to say, “follow the five Ps.” Obscure as this may sound, the five Ps rule is simply: “Proper planning prevents poor production.” The five Ps rule has three real-world components in terms of new software purchases:
  1. Make sure your budget can handle the purchase.
  2. Be certain there’s an economical way to obtain the knowledge base for training.
  3. Verify that the product is user-friendly and that training others will be relatively simple.

Most of the time the “latest and greatest” isn’t so great after looking at the feasibility factor, doing the number crunching, and deciding for yourself whether it’s a good step to take. The questions to ask are:
  • Is the software going to create more headaches than it’s intended to fix?
  • How are you going to train and support this software for the user?
  • Is the monetary value less than or more than the practical value?

Building a foundation to support your trainers
Even when the software is worth bringing onboard at your company, it’s still vital that you get the appropriate training to ensure that the software purchase isn’t a waste of money and a drain on time.

Here at WHAS radio, we deployed a new piece of software across the network to keep our on-air studios in sync with our production studios. With the touch of a button, the on-air personality can bring up a commercial loaded from the production studio. This is a great concept and an even better reality. The cost of the software was substantial enough to make me try to barter for training. As I looked at the software package, I asked the makers of the software to provide training to my trainers. Even the most professional air personality has trouble adapting to a new piece of software. We sent the support crew to the Scott Studio training facility in Texas in a staggered fashion. One by one we all became comfortable enough to handle training the rest of the staff. Granted we aren’t knowledgeable enough to handle every situation with the new Scott Studio software, but as time goes by, we will be.

Even the best software can be a pain if you don’t take the time to prepare for its installment. Making sure that your training staff has a firm grasp on the software before you deploy it creates far fewer headaches in the end.
When your company deploys a new technology, how does it prepare for the necessary training for end users? If you would like to comment on this article, please post your comments below. If you’d like to write to Matthew or have a topic of interest that you’d like to read more about, please send us a note .
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