IT people don’t always follow a structured approach to diagnosis like other professionals. If you go to a new doctor, the nurse typically gathers a whole bunch of information, then the physician briefly reads, greets and asks you additional questions. Eventually the doctor will drill down until there is enough information to come up with an action plan. But in the world of technology, many IT people who consider themselves technologists have a limited number of tools in their tool belt and they tend to assume it is the same or last issue, again. Sometimes they recommend a solution before they truly understand what ails you (usually by not asking any questions or checking any logs). This falls in line with the old saying “if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail”. Before you race ahead in technology decisions we highly recommend some basic lines of questioning related to what you’re trying to achieve.
While there are many great things being said about cloud technology today, “cloud” technology is not really anything technically innovative. However, the great thing about shared resource technologies is they allow a small business (or businesses of any size) to carve out small pieces of large infrastructure that they can call their own (well, rent).Having access to best in class technologies like hosted Exchange Servers, virtual servers, hosted email filtering, cloud file sync and other technologies is a great equalizer. We offer these solutions because it absolutely makes sense for our clients. In the world of business, a very small organization can have technology as good as a much larger organization, but without the responsibility and costs of infrastructure. We have embraced a hybrid approach to delivering consistent application-as-a-service to ourselves and our clients. This means the use of cloud technology or the implementation of on-site technology where it makes sense.
As our organization has grown we’ve been fortunate in finding some great team members. But we’ve also learned the importance of complementing a great team with member training. Each new team member goes through an onboarding process where we discuss and train on all our tools and technology. We even felt it helpful to come back and train our team on how to use the telephone system. It may seem obvious that everyone should know how to use the telephone but there is great value in understanding all the features and the right ways to do things, to make it easier on every other person around you.We highly recommend to our clients that they consider the importance of end-user training in the daily use of their line of business applications, as well as learning the most efficient use of things like the Microsoft Office suite. Sometimes more important than investing in a new technology option, it’s a better investment to train your team on best use of your current technology. We have also been known to bring in vendor’s trainers to provide customer service education and other more technical training to complement our internal train-the-trainer efforts.
As a partner with top tier technology vendors such as Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, VMware, Veeam, IBM, Digium, Symantec and others, we have been fortunate enough to earn access to online training, webinars, local training and other resources for our team. We still purchase $60,000 to $90,000 per year in paid training but our vendor support probably cuts that cost in half. In our reception area we created a “wall of fame” to highlight all in our group who have earned one or more certifications. We like to think the only thing worse than training up a team member and having them leave, is to provide no training and having them stay. Training helps us to do things the right way as administrators, and as end-users, training helps ensure you are investing in your team.
Use this new employee training checklist to make sure your team knows the basics of day-to-day technology usage.
As your business grows, it becomes more important to make the time to document your system. Fill out the form below to learn why.