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A New Standard for Training in the ICT Era

By Emilio Da Silva

Convergence is happening and the world is getting more connected everyday. As this happens, new challenges in the consumer and enterprise marketplace have created an upheaval in the way ICT is managed.

Through the eyes of the CIO, new roles must be defined, and new skill sets must be identified and nurtured.

ICT professionals understand that adapting to this new world of convergence and integration is key to competing successfully, both individually and corporately. Emerging technologies routinely break or blur barriers. A good example is Google; a service provider, but also a manufacturer and an open-source software provider. Or, Apple Computer; a manufacturer, but also a service provider of music, books, video, and a platform for advertising. Walmart is a brick and mortar retailer and a large on-line service provider.

ICT Convergence Brings Talent Challenges

Every industry will be touched by ICT and the Internet of Things (IoT); smart grid, intelligent transportation, digital media, and entertainment are all more complex and more interconnected than ever before.

Among the list of resources to be considered for investing in a modern ICT deployment are: cloud computing, virtual collaboration, big data, mobility, and BYOD.

Successful ICT integrations require three things: A well designed solution that leverages the combined technologies for the end-user, the appropriate equipment on which to operate the solution, and perhaps the most challenging, proper training to keep everything up and running.

Limitations of Training Certification

Revolutions in industry drive changes in knowledge and skills. Technical evolutions are propagated through industries with updated standards. The ICT industry as a whole is no different. Knowing this, is there a logical next step for changing the way that technical talent is tested and measured?

The current approach to training and certification is insufficient, and the solution requires custom, on-line courses that involve exercises with the exact equipment for which the certifications will be issued.

Vendors have little chance of their equipment being fully utilized if the technical talent charged with configuration and management are not appropriately trained or screened.

Re-thinking the Criteria for Evaluating Talent

A new way to train and measure talent must be created. It must cover the extent and depth previously mentioned, and show without doubt that an individual possesses the integrated knowledge required for proper execution on the job.

The principles for this new way of measuring talent must reflect the full convergence of the IT and communication industries: a "one platform, single-view" solution rather than today's mix of independent, isolated examinations. Maybe most critical is to train and test people on the latest equipment and technology. In a perfect world, the examinations would be customized to replicate specific enterprise environments.

A successful transition with the current "step" system of IT training will give CIOs the flexibility to determine the optimum environment for their own business needs. The goal is to make it easy to accurately measure individual skills across a wide variety of specializations.

There is never a simple answer for how to best to incentivize and retain the brightest talent. The value of nurturing diversity and minimizing turnover cannot be overstated. I feel that it is extremely important that opportunities for continued education and training are essential: diversity is highly valued by your staff, and the cost of turnover extremely high.

Retaining talent within an environment of continuous change is an everyday priority. Showing new talent that ongoing training is valued and expected creates a positive impact throughout the business culture that benefits organizations and individuals alike. Supplying test vouchers and textbooks as a component of the ICT budget goes a long way towards reinforcing this objective.

It is painful to see companies lose talent for lack of training. Positive training environments are crucial to the success of any enterprise in the ICT industry.

Increased Decision-Making Efficiency of ICT

The responsibilities of the CIO in the era of ICT are increasingly complex. In addition to having a more direct influence on the leverage of key information assets for improving customer relations and reducing costs, modern CIOs must also nurture technical talents and minimize turnover. This is best achieved through improvement in the quality of in-house training. This is particularly important in the areas where multi-disciplinary skills are critical to maintaining optimal staffing, operating from a tailored knowledge base, to meet the unique requirements for the new generation of ICT technology.

Mastering Technology

ICT convergence is here to stay, and mastering a diverse technical range is the key to our survival. As this world leaps ahead at an unprecedented rate to the point where everything is connected, it is vitally important to stay abreast of the current trends and meet the challenge head on. The world is running forward, and it is our job to keep up.

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