Management Of Computing Resources
The state of Gilliardania in Australia has recently created Education Commission. This commission has merged a range of education authorities following reorganization of state and commonwealth government powers. And the commission mandate is to administer all levels of education from pre-school to university. As the every government and organization goes through the challenging times, education commission is no exception. With current level of government budget deficits and global financial crisis, it has all the more reason to focus reducing the cost in IT Training and supports to make it lot more cost effective. Training and support activities in IT are of paramount importance and government would never want to do away with it as it will help undergird efforts to transform economy. The only objective is to ensure that since all the various educational institutes have come under one roof, instead of decision making each training and support plan cost effective, start from the scratch and make a comprehensive training and support plan for all of them. Also, we need to ensure that it is not being outsourced to third party to increase competitiveness as the aim is to develop in-house team and program that caters to our need.
As a business analyst in the Commission’s newly formed Information Systems Division, the task is to make a training report on the how end user and support should be designed and administered. Following things needs to be ensured while making a report.
- Use of Social media and Google to lower the cost
- IT Division and its services are not outsourced
- Make extensive use of recent development in WWW
- Try to justify your approach and likely organizational changes with Evidence based practices (EBP)
- Commission supports Microsoft as well as Apple operating systems hence try to make the best use of both of them
- Approach has to ensure that it aims at lowering the support cost in time of global financial crisis and tight government budget deficit
Change management is a challenging task to get people out of complacency and make them more efficient and effective. As we have listed down the basic problem definition and the guidelines to adhere to, to solve the problem, there will be three phases of change which we pose quite a challenge.
- Pre-change: In this phase we will have to ensure that all the system are in place and all the necessary training documents and user manuals are prepared for the end users. The proper demo and testing of updated system is complete and adequate training has been provided to end user as well the support team.
- Change Management: In this phase, actual transition from the old system to new system will happen. It can be a phase wise change or can be at one go to all the sites. We need to ensure that change is smooth and all the evidences and probable issues are anticipated well in advance. Also, the 24×7 support team is providing support to the end user.
- Post Change Impacts and Continuous Improvements: Once the changes are in place we need to ensure that thought impact of the change is achieved and is measure significantly. Also, the system is in place to continuously improve the feedback and improvements suggested in the system.
The recent emergence of the social media and its practices has changed the way people interact and learn things. The people are in touch the world and latest surrounding every second and it has given its reach to the very mobile that they can carry anywhere they want.
We have known face book and twitter which are social platforms available for the general public being used to share information and photographs, there have development of social network to be used only inside organization like “Yammer” which helps in employees keep in touch with other employees and keep track of their leanings, issues faced and achievements. Ball (2011) mentions that social networks are becoming lot more useful in getting instant feedback and provide greater customer support. This social network ensures that employees are in constant touch with each other and more specifically for the official purpose. Also, earlier email used to be the mode of communication between any parties (One to one) or (One to many) and there used to be big mail chains used to go around to discuss various topics. As the European organization, Atos has put a target of 2014 to do away with the emails as it consume approx 20% of the time; it has been seen as a landmark achievement in the business internal communication. Yammer is currently seen as the best social networking tool for the business and has been acquired by the Microsoft.
BYOD (Bring your own device): It is the recent phenomenon that has started where all the employees and users are asked to bring their own device (Mobile, Laptop, Pad) to the work and can carry the same at their home. This is possible due to increased data connectivity and mobility provided by the state of the art infrastructure, development of cloud computing that can store data in the server which can be accessed anywhere and everywhere with minimal cost and with increased security measures provided by these devices that ensures that data integrity and security is not compromised.
Cloud Computing: Although we briefly discussed about cloud computing in above point, we need to discuss few more of the features related to it. As per O’brien (July 25, 2011) cloud is picking up space in Europe and all over the world. Also, Messmer (Jan 3, 2013) mentions cloud picking lot of space in enterprise mobility. Clouds provided by Google and apple have option of 5GB of free space to be used. This data once stored on the cloud can be accessed from any device. This can be used to store the training material, and advantage is it can be accessed from any device which has internet connectivity and has Microsoft or Apple operating system. Also, if we need further space then it can be bought at the minimal price, hence need to maintain big server and server room are no longer there. This reduces the cost significantly. The only concern that many organization has is about the security of the data. Companies like Google and Amazon provides highest level of security to the end users. It is just the mindset that needs to be changed that our data on cloud is safe.
Online Tutoring, training and test: As we have moved to the digital era, lot of our training material is available in digital form (Interactive Videos, ppts and documents) which can be used and enhanced for training on various modules. This ensures that it is accessible anywhere by the end user and is ready to learn and understand as per his requirement and convenience. Webster-Stratton et al. (2011) mentions that training and development of individual is of paramount importance to building a self sustainable organization. Also, as per Aragon & Valle (2013) training manager has long lasting benefits to the organization that tangible as well as intangible in nature. Test to measure the effectiveness of the training material can be scheduled as per the end user’s convenience as it displays system generated questions which should be changed periodically. Carroll and Rosson (1995) describes evaluation of training as equally important parameter as to provide training to individual while Mahapatra & Lai (2005) describes it as means to improvise the overall skills of an individual.
Gaming as a tool for a learning and development: In recent past, we have seen lot of management, animation games and simulation games being used to enhance the overall understanding of the subject. Also, these games are focussed on individual learning as well the group learning. The idea is to make the complex concept broken down in the form of hurdles in game and end user tries to overcome this hurdles by thinking on his own. The aim is to provide holistic learning of various concept bundled into a fun filled game that encourages end users to take up the subject which he otherwise would not have taken sit and read.
Recent developments in information technology have provided great benefits to training and administration activities in cost effective way. Bilton (2012) mentions that social media has been instrumental in business as well as government activities. It aim is to make training and administration independent of people and provide more flexibility in terms of time and material. In past, it used to be a generic training for the masses, but with technological developments we can enhance the training module to suit as per the individual need and competence. Process of change management with the help of technology has ensured that we are achieving change in the existing system with minimal disturbance and maximum impact.
Proposed Solution and Implementation Plan
- Install Internal Social Network Yammer: The Economist (2012) mentions that Yammer is a social network that has been recently acquired by Microsoft and is widely used in business. It can be used across all the education organization as a mean to connect and integrate all the end-user on single platform. This will also ensure that the people instantly receive the message and connect with the help desk immediately. Access to yammer is restricted by individual email id hence only people with valid organization email id will be allowed to access the yammer network. Also, there is a provision to form internal small communities based on each organization (Pre-School to University) and also to form a small group network among each school network.
- Build Online training material and store it on Cloud: As discussed earlier, cloud computing is the latest development in the field of technology and it has to be utilised to the maximum. There is a need to build an online training material and store it over the cloud. This material should accessible from World Wide Web. The aim is to provide comprehensive training material that is extensive enough to cover all aspect of topic. The training material should be interactive enough to ensure that need of the tutor is eliminated. Process should be established to continuously improve the training material based on individual feedback and recommendation.
- Introduce BYOD Concept in organization: We need to move away from the server and application based system to the system accessed over the internet. The aim is to ensure that connectivity and mobility aspects are addressed. End user should be able to connect to the server from his mobile, own desktop, pad and tablet. Since the system supports Microsoft and Apple operating system, it should provide seamless integration between both the systems.
- Build a System to assess individual competence and training need: Compeau et al. (1995) describes that every Individual is different in terms of organization and hierarchy that he belongs as well as his own competence to grasp knowledge and learn skills. To utilise the full potential of an individual we need to ensure that we are building a system that focuses on this. Also, as they will part of the group/network on Yammer where they want to get trained on specific skills, they can get the fellow mates from the same organization or across the organization to get the better understanding of the topic and its benefits. Also, it can provide further help in terms of understanding the topic and after training discussions on forums.
- Store each end user performance with its Yammer Account: While talking about the individual training administration aspect, we need to ensure that it is linked to every Yammer account. For the administrator, the visibility should be made public. It is a skill that will be made public to everyone on the level of training a person has achieved and its benefits. This will be helpful for the people who want to get trained can approach this people on possible help. Also, based on the hierarchy and trainings undertaken, it should display the possible upcoming training that a user should take. The idea is to make administration of individual training by system and not by his superior manager.
- Apache Server and SAP Server should be excluded from training integration module. The current file system is stored in Apache server and SAP server is used to handle all the other modules such as HR, Inventory, Sales and accounting. There is no need to integrate Yammer with this as it will add to unnecessary complications. They should be excluded from the Yammer integration. The cost and accounting entries for the paid modules of training can be transferred to SAP via third party tool or SAP XI.
- Prepare a training plan for the end user for updated system: As the user will be moving to the new form of social media, there has to be enough time and training material provided to each one of them to prepare for a new set of system. Users need to be trained on the Yammer demo version and how it will be helpful to their training and help desk activities. The direct help desk activities of the end user will help them get the instant help and sort out all the problems in real time. The turnaround time for such queries will be reduced to minimum.
- Measure the impact of change in terms of cost and effectiveness: To measure the impact of above proposed changes, we need to list down all the training time, cost and efforts that used to go for each organization prior to making the changes and observe the efforts and cost involved in system after the changes are implemented. Esther Cameron Mike Green 2012 describes change as process that has to make the system better than it was and its aim should be to save cost. The overall impact of the change in terms of cost and effectiveness should be to ensure that we are going to achieve the target with given government budget deficit constraint. Nay & Fetherstonhaugh (2007) and Lamontagne, Florentino & Milton (2013) describe evidence based practice to implement any new change in the organization. Since Yammer is being used by the 80% of the fortune 500 organization, it is a strong enough evidence to suggest that it has been effective in bringing employees of different group within an organization to a same platform.
Short term Benefits
- Cost effective Solution: We are making maximum use of the online training and cloud servers. Hence we are saving on infrastructure cost and cost associated with the class room training. Also, we are planning to adopt help desk service through yammer, which focuses on providing help desk support at an instance. So the turnaround time decreases, which in turn increases overall ticket resolving rate.
- Uses State of Art technology: We are using a state of art technology that is latest in the current market; hence we are utilising maximum benefits possible out there. Our focus is to get the maximum benefit of the available technology. This ensures that processes are lot more efficient. Yoon (2009) argues about the efficiency of end user in overall business environment. The aim to increase the performance at the end user level that benefits everyone in organization.
- Provides flexibility and Convenience to end user: We are providing flexibility and convenience to the user by integrating training support with World Wide Web. Also the training and assessment is provided online as per the individual need and competence. Hence greater flexibility in terms of overall training and support.
- Minimum administration cost: Since everything is managed and administered through an online portal system, the administration cost is minimum. Also, it offers a platform where training and support for cross educational institutes is possible which was not the case earlier. Morgan (1983) has mentioned the approach of collaborative organization and its benefits and we are trying to achieve the same. This has a greater advantage of sharing of resources through common pool and bringing in the fresh talent and learning insights to a greater mass.
Long term Benefits
- Makes it People independent and process dependent system: As Jim Collins has said in his book ‘Built to Last’, it is aim of every organization to become more process oriented and less of people oriented to build a self sustainable organization. We are trying to achieve the same by implementing a system that is robust and people independent that ensures long lasting organization.
- Improves continuously by feedback and suggestions: The system is put in place that aims to continuously improve itself by the regular feedback and suggestion by all the stake holders. This also ensures that we are not drifting towards complacency. As we are living in a world where structure can become shackles, need of the hour is to ensure that even the organization with larger mass are agile enough to adopt the changes as quickly as possible.
- It provides better compatibility to be adopted with future technologies: As we are adapting to the social media to provide training and help desk support, we are using state of the art technologies. This ensures that we are in line with latest innovation happening around the globe. All the future technologies that will be arising out of it, we will be compatible enough to incorporate the same.
- Training module is personalised and it can go a long way in building individual carrier: We addressing the masses but we are also addressing the individual need. This is imperative requirement in this globalised world and it will help us to build leaders and effective managers that can bring education transformations in times to come.
- Aragon, IB & Valle, RS 2013, Does training managers pay off?, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 24(8), pp. 1671-1684
- Compeau, D; Olfman, L; Sei, M & Webster, J 1995, End-user training and learning, Communications of the ACM, July 1995, Vol. 38(7), pp. 24-26 . Order Now