Digital transformation training boosts productivity and efficiency for DevOps and IT infrastructure teams

January 27, 2021

Originally published on Tech Republic.

A new report from IDC and Red Hat found a 365% three-year ROI for organizations that invested in training and continuous study of tech.

If a company wants its new digital transformation tools to operate at peak capacity, its employees must be well versed in how those tools work for maximum efficiency. Make budget cuts if you must, but when it comes to training, an increase in budget will bring greater returns on investment, according to IDC’s “Cloud-Based Enterprise Application Performance Survey.”

The abilities tech affords the industry is ever evolving, and rapidly improving. Tech tools may be the most in danger of quickly becoming obsolete, than any other relied-upon services imperative to daily productivity and marked annual success. That is why training has become invaluable.

The survey found a 365% three-year ROI (return on investment), 44% higher DevOps team productivity, 34% more efficient IT infrastructure teams, 59% faster to deploy new IT resources, 76% faster to full productivity with already-trained new hires, and 10x increase in staff competency (with Red Hat OpenShift). 

IDC’s “Cloud-based enterprise application performance survey” of more than 1,000 IT leaders worldwide found that “well-trained” cloud migration teams meet nearly 90% of their businesses’ milestones compared to 50% by teams with only an “average skill level.” Development teams can more rapidly deliver new software and features faster in IT services supporting business operations.

The respondents in the above 90% group were “satisfied” of “very satisfied” with their well-trained staff’s ability to monitor, forecast and optimize server, storage, and network resources.

Four-fifths of organizations with sufficient skills in automation and orchestration tools noted they were “satisfied” or even “very satisfied” with the business impact of the move to the cloud.

The IDC survey was incorporated into a recent whitepaper from IDC and sponsored by Red Hat, “The business value of Red Hat training.”

Red Hat training courses are offered through the Red Hat Training and Certification program, which can be customized to an organization’s needs. Training is both synchronous and asynchronous, said Ken Goetz, vice president of training and certification at Red Hat. “Thousands” of companies have opted to use Red Hat’s subscription services, he added. 

Assessments cover more than 20 skills and tools such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux System Administration, Advanced Automation: Ansible Best Practices, Red Hat OpenStack Platform Administration, Red Hat OpenShift, and Container-Native Application Development. The courses focus on three areas: Application development, management, and systems administration and security.

Because “the change of pace” in tech “is very fast,” Goetz said, “it’s a lot harder to constantly procure a new class” and have in-company training as “ad hoc,” whereas with a constantly updated  subscription, companies can avail of both free and paid services, conducted by field experts, when needed.

Red Hat began its subscription service six years ago. “Consultants are migrating, configuring, installing, implementing, managing systems at scale, in real real production environments and supporting real workloads.”

The Linux and OpenShift courses are currently the most popular, Goetz said. “OpenShift has seen phenomenal growth. The demand for skills in hybrid cloud and container native development is enormous. The demand for skills in Kubernetes is enormous.” OpenShift, he added “has really just gone way up, the growth is very significant.”

The report states that IDC quantified a fully trained staff as worth an average $43,800 per year, per employee trained (or $5.71 million per organization), as a result of: “ensuring knowledge of important tech, including OpenShift, Kubernetes, Ansible, and container-based development practices; empowering DevOps and development teams, to deliver more functional and timely applications and features, which translates to value for their employees and customers; enabling other IT teamsto work more efficiently through best practices and a deeper understanding of the technologies they support; optimizing IT costsby leveraging new technologies to establish more cost-effective IT infrastructure foundations, and Improving staff’s ability to meet performance expectationsfrom onboarding through decisions about promotions, thereby increasing the value and satisfaction of staff.”

While the actual upfront price to subscription training, available in 12 languages, can greatly vary, based on worldwide location (globally, with the exception of mainland China due to restrictions) and company size, Goetz approximates an annual training cost of $2,000 to $5,000 per employee. 

Survey participants, all with staff who completed Red Hat training determined the value of the training courses were enabling more proactive thinking, increasing employee satisfaction and tenure, bolstering employee performance, achieving full productivity in less time, and the positive impact on organizational culture.

IDC research suggested that because “technology advancement continues at a frantic pace,” IT professionals must continue to develop skills; it will help productivity, and enterprise security. Training new hires will make new contributing members more quickly and ensure engagement among satisfied employees. 

Training and continuous study of tech is, the report concludes, gives employees access to expertise and best practices, create more value, work more productively, and meet performance expectations, but only through high-quality, relevant and professional training. In April 2021, Red Hat will introduce a “truly blended” learning experience combining synchronous and asynchronous offerings.

“The biggest thing this year,” Goetz explained, is developing more content and providing an understanding of how to build open technology and open culture. “It’s not just about learning about product features, but also it’s about the transformation of culture. It’s about building an ecosystem of innovation. It’s capitalizing on new delivery models and revenue streams, making a faster time to market all that’s done through open technology and open culture.”

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