Users are displacing IT training staff

Daniel Thomas

IT managers have been warned that they risk losing control of their systems to "super users" who take responsibility for...

Daniel Thomas

IT managers have been warned that they risk losing control of their systems to "super users" who take responsibility for IT training.

The National Computing Centre (NCC), in its latest Guideline for IT Management, said that as business processes become increasingly dependent on IT, responsibility for training is falling between IT and human resources departments, wasting valuable company resources.

As a result, willing staff members - so called "super users" - often fill the gap with informal training.

"The growing demand for IT-literacy in the workforce is clear, but the responsibility for training end-users has never been more confused," said David Masding, NCC's director of operations.

"Unfortunately, super users are teaching colleagues both the right and wrong way of undertaking tasks, damaging software roll-outs, costing the organisation through wasted resources and ultimately threatening the work of IT departments," he said.

The NCC said IT professionals must work with management and human resources to plan the content of training courses alongside staff development programmes aimed at enhancing the stock of corporate skills.

"The issue of training end-users is unlikely to go away as business processes are changing quicker, running deeper and will only come to light at a crisis point like the introduction of new systems," said Masding.

"It is vital training is built into these situations because the days of an expert from the IT department explaining the features of a software package to a couple of bored employees are a thing of the past."

The NCC's nine-point plan for IT training

  • Construct a skills inventory to identify gaps and weak points

  • Establish attainable training goals

  • Target training and recruitment to fill skill gaps and strengthen weaknesses

  • Identify the most frequently used functions of software in training programme

  • Determine how critical these functions are to the organisation

  • Identify training suppliers according to accreditation, expertise and service

  • Draw up a service level agreement

  • Use standard definitions to test competence of employees

  • Establish a measure of benefits achieved after training

  • Read more on IT jobs and recruitment

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