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Lack of appropriate training and expertise highlighted as key challenges when implementing new technologies

Global Knowledge

Two new studies have revealed the importance of managing budgets effectively to ensure staff have the required skills to get the most out of investment in new digital tools.

The first, by CWJobs suggests that increased budgets don’t necessarily guarantee success – it’s more about delivering training that is both engaging and appropriate to the right employees.

The report, ‘Tackling Tech Training’, was based on a poll of 1,000 technology workers and 500 IT decision-makers. It found that 73% of UK businesses had actually increased investment in digital tools, training and talent in 2020. In particular, two thirds (67%) had increased their technology training budget.

However, the survey also revealed that the resultant training was not delivering the hoped-for benefits. In fact, fewer than one in 10 (9%) of the companies surveyed said they had trained all necessary staff in the technology tools they had invested in during the year. The biggest gaps were in analytics tools, where less than 4% of companies had trained necessary staff, followed by software platforms (8%) and cloud (8%).

Of course, technology is only ever as effective as the employees that use it, and whilst training budgets have been rising, it’s clear that they often haven’t been spent effectively.

Furthermore, even when organisations have the budget and infrastructure in place to train staff, they were often met with resistance from the workers. Part of the problem appears to be that employers struggled to engage staff when it came to training, particularly while they were working from home. Some said training was too time consuming, whilst others said they struggled to complete the courses while working remotely.

As a result, over three in five businesses (63%) said they would be reviewing their technology training strategy in 2021. Dominic Harvey, director at CWJobs, applauded this move, saying: “It is imperative that employers find creative ways to navigate the challenges of remote training and engage their workers to avoid their investments going to waste, as well as close the technology talent gap”.

Cloud study also reveals skills and money concerns

The findings of the latest Flexera ‘State of the Cloud’ survey have also highlighted a range of skills and money concerns in many organisations.

Surveying 750 technical professionals around the globe, the study found cloud adoption was expanding rapidly even before COVID-19 and once the pandemic took hold, we saw cloud plans and adoption increasing even faster.92% of the respondents reported a strong multi-cloud presence in their organisations and 80% reported adopting hybrid cloud strategies.

However, these organisations faced a number of challenges, with a lack of expertise, security and spend cited as being the most significant.

Lack of expertise was consistently identified as one of the major challenges by organisations of all sizes. The adoption of containers is a prime example as lack of knowledge and internal resources was cited as the major concern for those organisations migrating from traditional applications to containers.

Given the growing number of workloads in the cloud, the development of hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, and the continued sophistication of hackers, it is hardly surprising that security was also identified as a top challenge.

What was perhaps more of a surprise was the revelation that ‘spend’ figured prominently in the list of challenges. This came in number of forms, for example:

  • Struggling to accurately forecast fast-growing cloud costs (with respondents reporting their public cloud spend was over budget by an average of 24%)
  • Failing to understand the cost implications of software licences
  • Wasting cloud spend, with respondents estimating that their organisations waste 30% of their cloud spend

The overall message emerging is that when it comes to addressing training requirements and a lack of expertise, it’s not just about having large budgets. It’s vital that the training should be:

  • Aligned with business need
  • Delivered at the appropriate level
  • Engaging
  • Capable of delivering value
  • Focused on appropriate applications, particularly where those applications are recently adopted or emerging, such as analytics tools, the cloud or containers
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