Is Training Worth The Cost?

I believe it was Scott McEachron that posted about this long ago, and gave me this idea. I want to go over this topic again, and again, and again, and again, because it’s THAT important. Not to mention, it gave me something to write on the plane Wednesday.

Today, I’m going off the technical path and discussing something that’s very close to my heart – training. With the increasing market acceptance of technology such as Autodesk Civil 3D 2007, our users have a very powerful tool sitting on their desktops. It seems as if the perception of this program is that it is simply an upgrade to our existing technology. However, this is not the case – this is an entirely new way of engineering design. To fully harness the power of the technology, proper training is a must.

The problem is that training is an expensive prospect for a company. The cost goes much deeper than just the fee paid to the trainer – after a company pays for the class, for the salaries of the students attending, and the cost incurred with the loss of productivity, a simple 3 day class can be a daunting cost. Let’s do some math to illustrate – we have a designer that is attending a 3 day Civil 3D class. That designer has a billable rate of $100 per hour, and is paid at a rate of $25 per hour (I’m using these nice round numbers for the sake of easy math). The class is $875. That designer’s salary for 3 days (24 hours) is $600. The money that his employer would be billing for his time for those three days is $2400. If that employee’s travel expenses are low (let’s say $100 per day for the sake of math, even though this is rarely possible), that’s another $300. Looking at these figures, we’re up to a cost of $4175 for a simple class! And people wonder why they have a hard time convincing their employers to send them to training!

However, only the best companies look at the entire picture. Most people only see the immediate financial impact, and that’s the money that’s being drained out of the company checkbook to send students to class. Often, these companies have already spent tens of thousands of dollars buying the software and the hardware necessary to run it, and just can’t seem to find a way to bite off the cost of training. They figure that their users will just pick up the software on their own. What happens in this case is the users spend countless hours on the phone with technical support engineers trying to settle issues that would be covered in a training class. While they’re trying to solve those problems (and trust me, just because it doesn’t work the way your old software did does NOT mean that it’s a problem with the software), their employer is still having to pay them, the project is falling further and further behind, and the client is becoming more and more unhappy.

Often, you see marketing material that tells you that you’ll be “X” percent quicker with this new software than you were with your old stuff. I’ve seen varying numbers, from 30, to 50, and I even saw one marketing brochure that promised users a 98% increase in productivity! That’s a pretty tough number to live up to, and in reality, it’s a totally incorrect number. After your training, you’ll likely lose money on your first project using the new software. Then, you’ll lose money on the second one, but you’ll lose less money. Third project, fourth project, fifth project…’ll lose less and less money every time until the users get comfortable with the software and begin to tap into the true power of the software. Then, you’ll notice a project that makes a profit – then another that makes a higher profit, then higher and higher and higher – now you’ve realized the return on your investment. You’ve built a foundation that is being built upon, and that foundation has made your company much more profitable by implementing much more efficient workflows.

If you’re interested in training, contact ALACAD. We provide many options for training, including customizing it to fit YOUR needs – we want you to get the most out of your investment. Go ahead and make that step, and make your company more profitable.

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