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IT departments - faced with staff shortages and tight deadlines - are sending staff on programming courses but are failing to equip them with the underlying skills e-commerce demands.
The result is that businesses find their e-commerce projects fall behind schedule or fail to meet quality thresholds, a white paper expected to be published by IBM today (10 May), reveals.
"There are a lot people with the minimum amount of training to do the job at hand. They create programmes that are not as robust, not as reliable, and can't easily transfer to the next skills," said the paper's author, IBM e-business principal, Mark Frank.
IBM is urging companies to train their IT staff in generic skills that can be easily adapted as technology changes, rather than relying on training in specific programming languages or applications alone.
Developers should be trained in the principles of object orientated analysis and design, not just in Java, for example.
This will enable them to learn and use new features, such as Enterprise Java Beans, much more quickly, the paper said.
Although generic training will not replace detailed product training, it is less expensive and can be easily managed through distance learning and online training packages.
It is also crucial for businesses to take advantage of the space they create by outsourcing e-commerce projects to retrain in-house staff in e-commerce skills.
"The biggest hurdle is getting the skilled people away from writing code, so they can develop their skills. They tend to be snapped-up because they are needed on projects," said Frank.
IT directors need the support from the board of directors as well if they are to develop successful e-business training strategies, the paper adds.
A good training plan should ensure that staff keep their skills up to date after reaching their initial standard of competence, either through formal education, reading, attending conferences or online discussion groups.