GAO finds IT training 'strategic element'

Information technology training is "a strategic element in achieving corporate objectives," not just a support function, according to a General Accounting Office study of IT training practices in leading commercial companies.

The study, published this week, included IBM, AT&T, Raytheon Co., Cisco and Science Applications International Corp.

The GAO identified 22 existing and emerging training practices in five areas:

  • Alignment of IT training with business goals

  • Identification and assessment of IT training needs

  • Allocation of IT training resources

  • Design and delivery of IT training

  • Evaluation and demonstration of the value of IT training

  • The GAO found that the companies it studied:

  • Adopted key practices to align IT training with business goals such as involving top management and end users in planning training and addressing future skill needs in planning for training.

  • Have practices in place to more effectively assess training needs rather than simply fulfilling training requests, most companies.

  • Prioritize and manage to ensure that training projects are effectively identified and implemented.

  • Use traditional, instructor-led training, but are taking advantage of technology to deliver training to students' desktops.

  • Went beyond just obtaining participant reactions in evaluating training. Some used tests or certifications to validate that the content was understood; some used evaluations that measured business results.

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