Making the most of FREE Microsoft technical training, is it any good and where do I sign up?
The importance of training
In this industry training is so important and often overlooked or given the backseat by too many. I have spoken to IT business owners at industry events over the past few years and have been shocked at how little time and money they are putting back into their business. Personally, I strongly believe training is crucial to both an individual’s and a business’s growth. It’s something that is helping my own business win more clients and opening up greater business opportunities. I bet there are one or two services you could start selling to your clients if you invested in training. Here are some examples of skills clients are actively looking for.
- VOIP telephone systems
- Managed print
- Office 365
- Google apps
- Business continuity
- Mobile device management
- Microsoft Dynamics
Of course it’s not just about knowing a little bit about one product so you can go out there and sell it, it’s that with proper training your support requests get resolved quicker, projects can be completed on time and and to budget.
Keep your employees engaged
Helping everyone in your team on top form does a lot for your business. They are the ones speaking to your clients every day and they are the ones who are out there visiting clients sites so they are representing your business. When a client asks for advice you want them to speak confidently and give the best possible advice or do you want them to say “erm we don’t really do much with Azure so I’m not the best person to ask” NO! With a little training they will know what they are talking about, sound confident which is how you want your business to be represented.
It’s not all about you and the business though, your employees can get worn down by the day to day and can start to feel frustrated when they are not given new and exciting things to do. Give someone the opportunity to better themselves, learn something new and a chance to get out of the office for a few days and they will jump at the chance. They get to do something different and learn and in a few days you have leveled up one of the team!
Keeping up with technology
Just look back over the past two years alone because we have gone from installing and managing Microsoft’s Small Business Server (SBS) and standalone installations of Microsoft Exchange, SQL server, Sharepoint and Lync and dealing with hardware to where we are today. The cloud hype was realised for us with Microsoft Office 365 and when the customers starting asking questions I bet many of you were not sure or thought it was just something to look into. Then along comes the day when Microsoft no longer sells SBS and you scramble to get your head around it all. Probably more likely you delegated it as a project for one of your engineers! It works in most cases but you don’t have to fumble around in the dark you can take a shortcut and train up.
Classroom based training
A good (old fashioned?) classroom based training course whether it be a single day or a week long learning adventure should always be the backbone of your training track. When I started out at Southern IT Networks I was lucky enough to be put through my Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) track and it was all classroom based and I loved it! by having classroom based training
- I was able to learn the proper way to setup software we used every day in the office from a professional who already did it for a living
- I had a more indepth understanding of every product
- I got to ask questions when i didn’t understand something
- I was able to troubleshoot and resolve issues more efficiently
- I was able to implement new features more easily
- I was less likely to break something!
I have to hand it to the Microsoft events team at Reading they host some brilliant free training days. I have recently attended the following classroom based training sessions all for FREE! well.. except for a night’s hotel stay and travel time.
- Microsoft Hosted Cloud Infrastructure: Technical Deployment Boot Camp
- Internet of Things and Data Hackathon
- Microsoft IT Camp: Extend your Datacenter with Microsoft Azure
- Azure Web Development Boot Camp
I learned loads of great stuff in each of these, picked up some tips and tricks and was able to ask a few questions here and there. I was able to take away new knowledge from each event and use them in our business.
Register your interest
So where do you get invited to these special events? Well for Microsoft all you need to do is go here: https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/default.aspx?culture=en-gb
I highly recommend logging in and checking the options to receive updates by email because it’s easy to miss events especially if they get put on last minute and be warned they get filled up within minutes so you have to be quick.