In an effort to save expenses, enterprises think they can avoid training their teams. How does skimping on training truly impact the performance of the individual and the health of the overall organization? For IT leaders, these are critical questions that they must consider. What is the cost of a team without expertise?

The answer: Turnover, lost productivity, loss of time and resources, and a decrease in organizational performance.

The reality is that IT training should not be viewed as an expense but an investment; an investment that unlocks opportunities and enables business transformation, leading to the achievement of new business outcomes and IT transformation. This investment will lead to increased productivity and organizational performance, increased success of projects, and the growth of the overall business.

The lack of IT talent becomes a major roadblock, specially when it comes to emerging technologies. In a survey conducted by TechValidate in May 2016, IT leaders were asked if their current teams have the skills needed to deploy and manage certain emerging technologies now or in the near future. 80% said they currently lack the skills to deploy and manage Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), 79% said the same for Linux containers, 65% for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and 63% for DevOps1.

This leaves IT leaders with the tough decision of finding a solution to how they are going to find IT professional capable of deploying and managing these emerging technologies: recruit or train their current staff.  

Recruitment is one option to overcome this barrier, but you are faced with an additional challenge: finding the right candidates. When it comes to emerging technology skills, it’s a seller’s market. As a recent Harvard Business Review, entitled “IT Talent Crisis”, points out, “competition for a finite pool of skilled technologists and IT leaders is sharply increasing as organizations of all types rely more heavily on digital technology”2. This conclusion is supported by the TechValidate survey where:

  • 73% of IT leaders have difficulty finding candidates with PaaS skills3
  • 66% have difficulty finding candidates with container skills3
  • 68% have difficulty finding candidates with IaaS skills3
  • 55% have difficulty finding candidates with DevOps skills3

Faced with an ever-tightening supply of qualified job applicants, organizations are finding that the costs to recruit new employees far exceeds the cost to train existing ones and that the current is more than willing to be trained. According to the TechValidate survey, 82% of IT leaders say that finding existing team members who are willing to learn new or updated technologies is not difficult4.

That said, not all training is created equal. The IT industry is littered with companies pining to offer training on the latest technologies. With budgetary limitations being a regular factor, it’s tempting to look for the cheapest option. But one of the interesting takeaways from the survey is that approximately half of the respondents didn’t know whether training they’ve been provided in the past actually helped them4. Organizations should be looking for the training option that delivers the best return on their investment (ROI).

A core part of our mission at Red Hat is to provide the best possible ROI on training to empower organizations to realize their IT goals. We do this in several ways: by offering extensive performance-based certifications for nearly every technology in the our portfolio; by relying heavily on hands-on student practice; by incorporating lessons and best practices from field personnel into our curriculum; by offering skills assessments to assist IT Managers in choosing the correct learning paths for their employees; and by offering a full array of delivery options to fit the learning style – including learning-as-a-service to facilitate continuous, on-demand learning.

We take great pride in the fact that 92% of our students say their IT projects are more likely to succeed as a result of our training5.

IT transformation requires talent transformation, and therefore training is a critical element of any company’s plan to transform and modernize IT. Organizations should view this transformation as an investment and evaluate training options based on the expected return.

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1. Source: TechValidate.
2. Source: HBR, “I.T. Talent Crisis: Proven Advice from CIOs and HRs leaders”, 2015.
3. Source: TechValidate.
4. Source: TechValidate.
5. CompTIA, “5 Reasons Why Employers Look for IT Certifications,” February 2015.

About the author

Ken Goetz is the Global Vice President of Core Services at Red Hat.

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