Commentary
12/19/2014
08:36 AM
Grumpy IT Guy
Grumpy IT Guy
Commentary

Technology Training: Why We're In Hell

Is the problem the death-by-PowerPoint training that everyone hates? Or that our enterprise apps look worse than Keith Richards with a hangover?



10 Holiday Party Attire Atrocities
10 Holiday Party Attire Atrocities
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

I will cut to the chase. It is going to be 2015 in a few weeks. We are not even close to the "turn of the century." That was 15 years ago. Why are we wasting time and money this far into the 21st century "training" people to use Captain Obvious IT applications?

The source of my grumpiness: a slight change in ERP has created organizational histrionics. Train! Now! Touch every single one of BigCorp's users!

Why? Do we maybe have a problem with change? Sure, we used to have to teach people how to hold a mouse. But have we forgotten that we don't (or shouldn't?) hire people without computer literacy nowadays? If you cannot navigate the boxes of our ERP, maybe you somehow passed our HR "quality" hiring process by mistake.

[He said what??? See Crazy Tech CEO Quotes: 2014 Edition.]

Or maybe you dropped through a wormhole from 1995 and are having trouble adjusting to the 21st century. Quick! Where's the time machine? It would be easier to return you to the 90s than train you!

Either way, maybe you don't need to work here if we need to give you an hour or two of training every time the ERP gets updated.

Or maybe our apps suck.

Actually, they do. Some of our apps do suck. I will give you that. For instance, nobody is grumpier than I am about how bad the usability of our ERP is. Talk about a back-to-the-future moment: Our ERP requires Internet Explorer 7 and uses OCX technology. Right on, 1990s guy or gal! And it is very clear that some kind of screen scraping of a COBOL mainframe app was used to design the "Native Web App" that we now "enjoy."

So I guess apps are not completely off the hook.

Nobody seems to need to get trained on Amazon. Nobody needs to learn the Googles. My elderly parents seem to do OK with Facebook and their iPhones. Even an alien would probably be able to use Twitter. Well, maybe.

(Image: Matthew Simmons/Wikipedia)
(Image: Matthew Simmons/Wikipedia)

But this much is true. Not every app at our organization is as bad as the ERP. Some of them are pretty intuitive. And we still train people, put them through agonizing death-by-PowerPoint, and put together sloppy screenshots with arrows and circles that somehow assume that these arrows and circles communicate something more than "Kill me now before I have to train someone else in completely stupid-simple software and waste me entire day while people more or less ignore me!"

It is a waste.

If all corporate apps became as obvious and easy to use as Amazon or Google, maybe we could start to do something productive instead of sitting in corporate training, pretending to listen while Facebooking. If we could put 1,000 or 10,000 hours into making corporate IT as easy to use as an iPhone app, instead of costing the company 100,000 hours of wasteful employee training that doesn't actually need to be done for sentient humans in 2015, maybe we'd get somewhere.

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Grumpy IT Guy avoided historic disasters and clueless people while working his way up the IT ranks, but he retained his keen sense of humor. He now leads an IT organization somewhere in America, as part of the FBI's Grump Protection Program. Need advice? Send questions to ... View Full Bio
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