The Role of the Enterprise IT Department
In the early days of information technology (IT), the IT departments of many companies were held accountable for a diverse array of business responsibilities, which required different technical skills and capabilities. It was not uncommon to see an IT department responsible for a multitude of tasks, including configuring and managing networks and servers, data backup and recovery processes, the installation and support of phone and messaging systems, security and maintaining zero downtime for mission-critical platforms and applications.
In recent years, the IT professional’s role has undergone profound change. Transformational technologies and an explosion of enterprise data have redefined how IT professionals deliver and manage their responsibilities today. Chances are that your IT team members are already training both on their own and on the job just to navigate these changes and preserve their job security — a practice that isn’t the most efficient (or the safest) way to manage digital transformation.
Competitive enterprises prioritize training and education for these professionals because they see the disadvantage of having a business without the right IT skills in place. The talent shortage many organizations are seeing in IT is impossible to overcome through hiring alone. As a training leader, you know that learning and development is important, but you also need to understand the knowledge shifts taking place in the IT department and identify the opportunities and roles that benefit most from outside training.
Your organization likely uses a variety of technologies from a variety of providers. Does your IT staff know how to manage these different technologies and platforms?
Most providers either offer their own training programs or partner with IT training providers to offer authorized training on their software or platform. These vendor-authorized courses are typically considered the gold standard, and many training providers offer certifications or digital badges upon successful completion, making them a win-win for both your organization and your IT team members.
Which technologies are the most critical for your IT team? The answer to that question depends largely on your business and the technology it uses internally and externally. However, the following topics — and corresponding technology vendors — are currently in high demand among IT staff across numerous companies:
- Hardware, computer and storage infrastructure, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud
- Virtualization, back-up and recovery applications, including VMware and Veeam
- Network access as well as wireless and internet of things (IoT) devices, including Cisco and Aruba
- Cybersecurity, data security and identity and access management, including ForgeRock
- Big data and data warehousing, including SAP Hana, IBM Netezza, IBM DB2, Oracle 12C, Cloudera and Hadoop
Working with an IT training vendor that is accredited by the companies that sell or license your organization’s technologies helps to ensure that your IT staff have the skills they need to make your business successful in the digital age.
IT Training Delivery Methods
There are a variety of delivery formats to choose from when it comes to training your IT team. The benefits of each format may vary, so it’s important to understand how each modality is used in IT training.
On-demand IT Training
With modern delivery technologies, IT professionals no longer have to leave work to access high-quality training. Many IT training vendors offer on-demand training that provides the same vendor-approved content and hands-on labs that their classroom training offers. Depending on the platform, these courses typically enable learners to start, stop, rewind and repeat content as needed and are often accessible on a variety of devices, from smartphones to desktop computers.
Instructor-led IT Training
Despite innovations in technology, instructor-led training (ILT) is still the modality of choice among learners across industries and job functions. If you don’t have sufficient in-house technical trainers to keep your IT team’s skills up to date, there are many IT training vendors that can accommodate your needs. Many even have ILT facilities across the globe, so you may be able to save training dollars when it comes to transportation.
Virtual Instructor-led IT Training
If you can’t find a vendor near you, and your budget prohibits you from paying the costs of travel for the instructor or your learners, virtual instructor-led training (VILT) may be a good option, particularly since your IT staff members are more comfortable with technology than many of your other learners. VILT enables you to upskill your IT team with high-quality trainers in real time, so they can ask questions and receive immediate support.
IT Training Subscriptions
As online learning libraries grow in popularity, it may be a good idea to purchase a subscription to online IT training content. If your learners enjoy self-paced online learning but would also like the option to ask for the support of instructors, look for a vendor that can provide both these options. Learning subscriptions are a great way to meet the ongoing learning needs of your IT team and supplement your onboarding for new staff.
IT Skills and Certifications
Certifications are popular among both IT professionals and their employers because they provide learners with the skills they need to be successful and demonstrate mastery to their organizations. IT training vendors offer certifications using three classifications:
- By role, such as network engineers and architects, systems administrators, security specialists and data architects.
- By technology, such as infrastructure, DevOps and cloud services.
- By enterprise application, such as traditional enterprise resource planning platforms, business intelligence reporting technologies and desktop services.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the jargon and acronyms that populate the IT industry. Using this article to inform your conversations with IT leaders and training vendors, you can now select and implement the training your technical teams need to propel your business toward success.