No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

The invisible continent: training for the web-based economy – Feature


Samantha Kinstrey, managing director of IT training company NCR e-cademy, describes the new world of skills requirements facing businesses today.

Many of the world's most successful businesses, large and small, have been creating for themselves in the past few years what Kenichi Ohmae, the Japanese management strategist, calls an "invisible continent". This continent is a web-based economy, built upon technology, which operates under the same political, social and business terms as every physical continent – with one significant difference. It’s a virtual continent.

Both companies and their managers are baffled by this new cyber-economy, despite the access and proliferation of information. The only thing they know for sure is the requirement for them to prepare properly for e-commerce and to jump on the virtual bandwagon to the "invisible continent". Their motivation for joining this world is the sense that a massive opportunity is to be found in new technology and that someone else will grasp the advantage if they do not act.

The potential risks make the invisible continent unstable, but these must be weighed against the risks of standing on the sidelines. Revenue generation becomes a game of exponentials and will ultimately allow the companies that build strong commercial infrastructures to make a financial killing. And so, as companies, large and small, all around the world prepare to compete in earnest in the new economy, business processes previously considered non-strategic to core activities are becoming central to long term strategies and goals. In a marketplace accentuated by hyper-competition, a shortage of skilled workers and the need to re-skill employees, an urgent requirement has emerged to leverage technology to develop new and faster ways to train and educate workers.

Today's CEOs understand that a company's greatest asset is intellectual capital. Faced with the high cost of hiring from outside, some of the more competitive companies are choosing to invest in improving the skills of their own employees. The investment in this intellectual capital can, in return, foster greater productivity and increase employee retention.

Despite this growth, there is much confusion surrounding training and its various delivery methods - blended learning, e-learning, technology based training and desktop consultancy. Few can blame those who can't distinguish between fact and hype. Training is a strategic tool, not a panacea for a company's productivity and retention ills. Similar to school itself, the only way a pupil succeeds is by applying himself or herself to what the course requests, and so a company must understand what its employees should learn in order for them to deliver what the business ultimately needs in the new economy. As many companies are discovering in operational areas where it is possible to outsource, managed training solution providers offer major benefits. Outsourcing areas of businesses to experts to manage totally is the way forward and directly influences a company’s bottom line profitability.

In today's world of complex IT solutions, intense competition, and global expansion, organisations are realising that they can't do everything. The need to focus capital, resources and management attention on a company’s technological and product marketing expertise has accelerated the outsourcing of new strategic operational development to specialist business partners. The reasons for outsourcing will vary enormously from business to business. Some companies become networking service customers to better focus on core competencies and strategic planning. Their daily network operations are time-consuming. Other companies want to outsource to reduce operating costs. They have limitations in personnel, time, and money.

Other companies have trouble recruiting and retaining specialists with technical expertise who have the flair to understand a company’s overall strategic development and marry this with the right training and development requirements of employees with differing skill sets, career aspirations and different learning speeds. And finally, some companies are increasing their focus on customer service and want dependable services that can quickly respond to the changing business environment. Training must therefore be accurate and relevant and the environment in which employees have to learn new systems quickly must be right first time in order to deploy their skills immediately to maintain their company’s competitive edge.

Any company contemplating an outsourced solution needs a strategy and a pilot program to determine what courses need to be developed and implemented. However, the most important element of any training is whether it's customised and firmly embedded in an organisation’s long-term strategy.

So before you set sail for the hazy invisible continent, keep in mind one certainty - organisations today need information technology to survive but computers do not deliver benefits. People do.

Samantha Kinstrey
Managing director
NCR e-cademy


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!