Canon Europe’s Quentyn Taylor tells TechWeekEurope how businesses can maximise their potential through better training and improved efficiency
Offices are breeding grounds for waste. It’s just one of those inescapable facts of modernity. But just because this office waste is expected, it doesn’t mean it should be accepted. Waste is not only limitable, it can be avoided altogether and it starts by understanding that waste in the office often comes from the workforce itself.
Today, almost half of workers across Europe admit that they don’t know how to properly use the business technology that’s available to them and that’s despite the fact that 43 per cent of companies offer training in this area. They also struggle to keep up with the latest software and equipment as their technology education becomes redundant without regular updates and refreshes.
Part of the reason for this could be because a number of workers do not actually use their office technology. Remote workers, for example, are frequently not in the office at all, and as a result can often miss out on crucial educational processes and basic regulations about how to manage information or make the best out of business technology. Another consequence of not being as visible and available as their office-based colleagues is that remote workers can sometimes find that they are not offered training as regularly as other employees. This is truly unfortunate, because actually, they rely on technology to get their jobs done significantly more than those on site.
As many as 55 per cent of remote workers do not take advantage of the investments their company makes on their behalf, such as training and setting up secure IT systems. This can be because they are not made aware of it, not offered the opportunity to join, or are unable to take part. Whatever the reasons, the results are usually the same: inefficiency, slow decision-making and poor information processing. It also means that 36 per cent of workers don’t understand the link between information and their company’s profitability.
A lack of training around sensitive data can also be a source of risk to businesses. Without staff taking part in the correct training, businesses could be leaving themselves open to potential data leaks due to human error. For example, showing employees how to use convenient printing methods such a remote printing, could lead to a reduction in data breaches, not to mention physical paper waste.
Despite the importance of business technology training, CIOs that need and want to invest in it run the risk of being put off due to a lack of impact or a low turnout. However, CIOs that are more interested in investing in new technology for the benefit of their organisation may find themselves with a workforce that is unable to use it properly. It is important to strike a balance.
For the IT department, there is always pressure to deliver cost savings and efficiency gains across the business. Every technology innovation seems to bring a new capability to help save time or cut expenditure. But although it is easy enough to install the latest bit of hardware or software, it is much harder to make sure it fulfils its requirements and is used to its full potential. CIOs need to facilitate this process in order to see the true value of their investments and bring about organisational transformation.
CIOs are well positioned to put protocols and rules in place in order to maintain a tight regulation of training programmes and make sure that it is attended and adhered to. Implementing a feedback process can ensure that the training is beneficial to everyone and encourage employees to continue attending. By cementing the rules and making sure everyone sticks to them, CIOs can go a long way in safeguarding their investments into IT.
Luckily, it’s simple. Investments into technology require investments into training and clear processes to make sure they are not wasted. The good news is that by following these steps, CIOs can make huge efficiency gains from the very place they’re being lost: the workforce.
Quentyn Taylor is director of information security at Canon Europe.
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