“Most Users are Fairly IT Illiterate”

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During the Extending Effective Use section at the Driving Effective Use of Office 365 Workshop in Auckland on Monday, I showed the above picture. It garnered a few sounds of agreement among the delegates at the workshop (including an “I’m going to use that.”). The next slide, however, had two words on it – “And yet …” – because I am hearing more and more frequently that too many people lack basic IT skills.

(Have a look at this 2009 video on What is a browser?)

My reason for showing this during the workshop was to make that point that lack of IT literacy (or poor basic IT skills) will hold organisations back in making effective use of Office 365. For example, it is not helpful if people:
– lack confidence with computers
– lack confidence with new software
– lack confidence with when to use what
– lack confidence to express oneself in a professional manner in a digital forum
– can’t type

In light of the above realities, I challenged the group with if you can’t live with it, deal with it, and offered a series of suggestions:
– offer internal training courses on basic IT skills
– link up with the local community college or training institution
– make the demonstration of IT proficiency a prerequisite for promotions
– refund courses at local IT providers once the course is successfully completed
– offer one-to-one coaching
– make IT proficiency a cornerstone of your corporate culture.

My summary:
1. A lack of basic IT skills will hamper your efforts to derive business value from using Office 365.
2. It’s hard to do more if your people struggle to do basic.

Is lack of basic IT skills an issue you face from the people you work with? How are you dealing with this, if at all?

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