Why Education Might be Your Most Vital Software Investment

The value of “been there, done that” is rapidly becoming a conference mantra at OTTC 2011, Hyland Software’s annual training and technical conference. What that means, as we’ve related in previous posts, is harnessing the power of industry peers and technology experts – who have already experienced all the ups and downs anyone might encounter – to solve problems and create new ideas.

Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the training and education component of this conference. In fact, training and education might be the single most important software investment you can make.

Why so? Because education is a component many companies overlook, or assume comes “standard,” with any technology purchase. What they later discover is that education and training is often cloistered behind their vendor’s four walls, creating barriers to vital information.

Furthermore, access to industry peers post-implementation, if not discouraged, is at the very least neglected, leaving a company with limited choices. Create expensive-to-maintain custom-code? Increase or divert head count to tackle the problem? Abandon the software solution altogether? These are choices an organization shouldn’t have to make.

That’s why a robust training program, one that encourages customer involvement and customer connection, is vital to the longevity of any technology solution, says Mark Davis, VP, Technical Services. It also allows companies to become vendor independent – even promotes it – so that a company can attack a solution on its own with confidence and expertise.

“Adoption of any technology is a profound challenge,” says Davis. “That’s why technology companies should be actively promoting and participating in conversations with and between their end-users, so that organizations can implement technology faster and with more reliability.”

Before investing in any technology, companies should explore a vendor’s end-user community. And deeper than simply making sure the community exists. It should be easy to tap into that community, share ideas and experiences, good and bad. Then see how deep the training goes. Does the company hold regular training conferences? Offer 24/7 training online? Develop and host end-user groups?

“The very best technology vendors get this,” says Davis. “They understand that it’s all about sharing both best practices and challenges and connecting peers who can say, ‘You’re encountering this problem? This is how we overcame that.’ Or even ‘You’re finding it hard to get the budget for the implementation? Here’s how we proved ROI.’”

A-listers focus on building partnerships with their customers and helping organizations build confidence. Confidence in their investment, sure, but more than that, confidence in their ability to adopt and adapt their technology over the long-haul, and then transfer that knowledge to others in the organization.

“Great companies want rich partnerships with both sides able to contribute to the conversation, the innovation and the solution,” says Davis. “And they dedicate themselves to getting you there.”

Tom Tennant

Tom Tennant

Tom Tennant has expertise in content creation and content services and has been a contributor to the Hyland blog.

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