Updated January 10, 2018.
Today, the U.S. economy is flying high. Not so long ago, however, things weren't so rosy. During economic downturns, it's common (and responsible) for organizations to cut non-essential spending. One of the first items crossed off the budget may be staff training. The reasoning is that training is a luxury, like a store-bought latte, that can be done without in lean times.
At both the individual and the organizational level, training is an investment in a brighter future, not a luxury. Sort of like a flu shot, training can reduce the likelihood of a high-impact illness (i.e., job stagnation or a key operational breakdown). Trained staff are not a guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong with your GIS program or the business operations that rely on the GIS, but training does help instill confidence that your program is healthy.
So what is the training return on investment (ROI)? Here are some observations based on Esri's experience training thousands of professionals that need to discover, create, use, and share maps, apps, and other geospatial resources:
- Training increases staff efficiency—it's not uncommon to hear students in class who have just learned how to shortcut a single task talk excitedly about how this will save them hours back at the office.
- Training increases staff productivity—a natural result of increased efficiency, productivity increases when tasks are completed more quickly. More tasks can be completed in less time.
- Training increases staff knowledge—this may seem obvious, but knowledge is more than the sum of the topics covered in a class. Knowledge is the synthesis of different concepts and skills learned over time, which enables a person to both recognize and act to prevent errors and and apply technology in new ways to benefit their organization.
- Training leads to new business opportunities—another natural extension of the previous benefit. When staff increase their knowledge of the capabilities of GIS technology, they see possibilities for information products and workflows that may not have been apparent before the training. Interacting with peers during class discussions and activities—exchanging ideas and experiences—helps realize this benefit.
Training is not a cure for a recession and it won't save a program that has systemic flaws. It can, however, help bolster an organization's bottom line in the long run. Investing in the people who work with the GIS maps and apps is a winning strategy to earn the business benefits expected from the GIS.
To help organizations keep their staff knowledge and skills up to date, Esri offers hundreds of training options on GIS and ArcGIS topics. Check these resources out. You may find that aha! tip that's going to save you hours of work.
- Instructor-led training provides dedicated time to focus on learning with the ability to ask questions and get answers right away.
- E-Learning is great for those who prefer to learn at their own pace anywhere, any time.
- All Esri customers with a qualifying product that is current on maintenance receive unlimited access to Esri e-Learning (including those with ArcGIS for Personal Use).