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A Guide to Smarter Year-End Spending: Choose the Right IT Training Company

April 02, 2018
Global Knowledge

It’s a sad reality: If you find yourself at the end of the fiscal year with money to spend, you'll probably cause a lot of disruption and not the good kind.

guide to year-end spending IT trainingThis is a problem because IT projects “procured in the last week of the fiscal year were between two and six times more likely to have a lower quality rating” based on an extensive study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The report entitled “Do Expiring Budgets Lead to Wasteful Year-End Spending?” studied the United States' government “Use it or Lost It” procurement practices and found that “spending in the last week of the year is 4.9 times higher than the rest-of-the-year weekly average.” Increased spending with a higher risk of a low quality purchasing is a recipe for disaster.

But who wants to slow down?

We need it now. There’s money to spend before the fiscal year ends! Yet, we need to pause. Technology is marrying itself to seemingly every facet of life, so fewer people are left unscathed when an organization suffers the consequences of an issue-ridden IT project. We have a better solution: Take that remaining cash and invest in your people.

Technology is only as powerful as the people trained to use it

A skilled workforce improves your organization’s overall performance, cuts costs, and helps leverage modern technologies to improve the internal and external customer experiences. To help reduce low quality projects from gaining traction in the eleventh hour, we’ve combined tips on how to handle year-end spending and how to choose and partner with the right IT training company.

The skills shortage is an epidemic affecting us all

Google is pledging one billion dollars in grants to help develop and train U.S. students and workers for the jobs of tomorrow. Think tank Third Way reports that “tech jobs across sectors lack qualified candidates.” Media outlets like Forbes report that companies are struggling to fill 200,000 cybersecurity related jobs because there aren’t enough people skilled or trained in the field. Our own global IT skills and salary report found that 79% of IT decision-makers said their teams face necessary skill shortages.

You’re in one of two situations: You need to spend your money now or the clock is ticking

If you need to spend your money now:
No need to panic, you can still make wise investments. Here’s what to do:

  • Invest in prepaid training packages.
    • Find a training company that offers these. Prepaid plans have the most flexibility, so if you haven’t had a chance to identify where employees need upskilling or time to develop training paths, you have a year to choose courses.
  • Look into subscription training plans.
    • Subscription plans and bundles are a growing way to organize learning. By grouping together related topics, students are able to immerse themselves into the content because they have access to a number of courses over a period of a few months or year.

If the clock is ticking, but you still have time

People responsible for developing their workforce or purchasing training will find measureable returns by identifying what issues need to be resolved. Below are four quick tips to improve your training return on investment. We also highlight one common pitfall:

  • Align skills to organizational objectives.
    • Maybe your latest deployment has been riddled with too many “gotchas” because people weren’t asking the right questions from the beginning. Was this because they didn’t have a firm grasp on the technology or did the projects keep derailing because of a lack of project management? Resolve problems plaguing the business and you’ll be the hero. The takeaway: Purchase training focused on fixing those issues.
  • Survey your management team.
    • 81% of U.S. IT decision-makers said their teams currently face skills gaps. Ask them where they need support or what new skills need to be developed.
  • Plan for the future.
    • Prepare next year’s needs now by laying the groundwork today. What big initiatives are being rolled out? For example, which workloads are moving to the cloud next? Is a key team member retiring? Successful organizations have embraced the approach that their teams need upskilling to handle new technology or fill the void after losing co-workers with decades of experience. Plan accordingly.
    • If leadership hasn’t disclosed upcoming initiatives, you can still be ready to act quickly with a prepaid training plan. It keeps this year’s money working into next year. (It’s wise to check if your internal policies require you to take the training in the same year it’s purchased.)
  • Increase your buying power.
    • Combine multiple department budgets to boost your buying power.

Avoid this training purchase pitfall

  • Buying specific courses without clearly defined organizational or individual needs.
  • There are a lot of courses out there. Some might look similar but are quite different. When in doubt, speak with a representative at the training company to help find the right course for you. Why risk wasting time and money?

Six must-haves for an excellent IT training provider

  1. Access to a wide range of IT topics, technology providers and certification bodies.
    • Who wants to spend money on a training package only to find out the provider doesn’t have the courses your organization needs? A quality IT training provider will have breadth and depth in their portfolio. Organizations are no longer just a one vendor shop. They’re working with multiple providers across many platforms.
  2. Authorized to provide training from the technology provider.
    • Companies like AWS, Cisco, Microsoft, VMware and others have authorized training providers. These authorized organizations ensure you’re receiving the most current and accurate information possible. They use official training materials and courseware. Unauthorized or “grey market providers” aren’t authorized to sell a technology provider’s training. They can’t use the companies’ books and have typically reverse-engineered the technology in order to teach.
    • If a deployment is derailed because your workforce learned the wrong steps from an unauthorized provider, who is going to get blamed? (Is your resume current?) An authorized training provider’s curriculum ensures you receive the most recent and tried-and-true best practices in the technology you’re working with. Why risk exposing your people to outdated materials and information?
  3. Consistent quality regardless of location.
    • Multi-location companies can’t always send all of its employees to one location for training. But, you want to make sure your people are receiving consistent training regardless of the training site. For example, if your team in Washington, D.C. is taught one way and your team in Dallas, Texas, is taught another way, the risk of miscommunication and inconsistent processes increases due to varied instruction. Find a provider that has a large training footprint or is capable of coming to you.
  4. Programs that scale for any size organization or government.
    • Whether you have one location or hundreds, your provider should be able to support them all. Small businesses have different needs than larger multi-national enterprises or state and federal governments.
  5. Reduces your time investment.
    • Planning, organizing and scheduling training can be a monumental task. You can’t possibly know everything everyone needs, so you’ll find success by using the resources within the training company to help guide, understand and recommend how to reduce the skills gaps and challenges you face today and tomorrow.
  6. Track record of achieving a return on investment.
    • When you take a course you’re accepting a short-term loss in productivity unless it’s an outside-of-work requirement. As a result, you need to know that you or your team’s new skills will make up for the lost time and come out ahead.

Why Global Knowledge is a top IT training provider and how we help you

There are no short cuts for properly trained IT professionals, which is why we’re relentless in delivering what organizations need to be successful.

  • You have access to the broadest IT training portfolio in the industry.
    • If you’re not sure what you require but need to invest the money, you will find success with us because of the depth and breadth of our IT and business training portfolio. If we don’t have what you need, our team of learning architects and subject matter experts can create custom IT training content specifically for your organization.
  • We are the largest authorized training provider of AWS, Cisco, Microsoft, Red Hat, VMware and more.
    • Top technology providers entrust us to develop and train users to maximize their technology. We go beyond the minimum vendor requirements. Because of our commitment to quality, we receive top learning partner awards year after year from companies like Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat and VMware.
  • Savings programs for businesses and governments.
  • Your team receives consistent quality across the globe.
    • Our flexible delivery formats provide exceptional learning experiences. Global Knowledge instructors are held to rigorous global standards and receive constant evaluations from students about effectiveness. Regardless of where your staff is located, everyone learns the same material and best practices. We offer classroom training in 11 languages and more than 100 countries and our on-demand courses are available wherever there’s an internet connection.
  • We will reduce your time investment.
    • You have access to account managers who are also training advisors experienced in delivering effective training solutions for clients ranging from local organizations to Fortune 500 companies and governments.
      We offer over 5,000 Guaranteed to Run classes throughout the year. You don’t have to worry about canceled classes and having to reschedule.
  • Our students report a positive return on our training.
    • The top four benefits to training are increased productivity, increased customer satisfaction, decreased on-the-job errors and increased employee engagement.
    • 91% of Global Knowledge students are able to apply the skills they’ve learned in our classes within four weeks
    • 98% of our students have or will use what they learned on the job.
    • 99% of our students passed their certification exam on the first or second attempt with 84% passing on the first.

Don’t rush an IT project through at the last minute; it has a higher chance for negative repercussions. When report after report is detailing the consequences of skills gaps, this is not the time to put your head in the sand—workforces are desperate for the skills to better do their jobs. Be the hero that uses year-end money to invest in your teams. By improving capabilities to work with tools and technologies that are drive business forward, there is a lower risk of an eleventh hour, low-quality project that everyone will remember, sabotaging your organization. Nobody wants to experience buyer’s remorse, especially when you have to answer to your boss or worse, his or her boss.

Get started today by speaking with a Global Knowledge training advisor at 1-877-996-0343.