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Training and technology companies must promote the IT education value proposition in terms of adoption and business value.

February 14, 2019

4 Min Read
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Global IT education is growing at 3.9 percent of the compound annual growth rate (CAGR)–in line with the overall IT services market–but training vendors must focus more on articulating and developing technology business value, according to an updated report from International Data Corporation (IDC).

Over the past year, global economic growth has outperformed expectations, and software spending continues to rebound, particularly in the cloud. However, IT training is still growing more slowly than the IT market overall.

This is partly because organizations are spending more on technologies requiring little or no training–for example, additional server stacks or more storage capacity. Also, there is a trend away from high-cost training modalities such as classroom-based learning, as companies increasingly recognize the benefits of individualized eLearning for IT skills development. However, IDC reports that training vendors are still struggling with messaging–particularly the linkage between education and the achievement of organizational objectives.

Training and technology companies must therefore seek to promote the IT education value proposition in terms of adoption and business value, instead of merely project enablement and a successful go-live.

Updated IT Education Forecasts by Region

The need to define and communicate IT education as a driver for business success is particularly compelling in the United States, where growth in IT training spend historically tracks a couple of percentage points behind growth in IT services overall. This contrasts with EMEA and Asia/Pacific regions, where growth in IT education outpaces IT services overall by a percentage point or two.

In its latest report, IDC has positively revised its outlook for IT education growth in EMEA–projecting a 2 percent improvement in the CAGR for the forecast period through 2021. This change is largely driven by a 10 percent increase in spending expectations in Central and Eastern Europe. For Asia/Pacific, IDC has slightly lowered its growth forecast to 3.5 percent CAGR, predominantly due to reduced expectations in Japan.

While the overall growth rate for IT education in each region remains fairly stable, it is growing the fastest in the Americas, at 5.1 percent CAGR. This is due to strong U.S. spending on new technology, combined with the rapidly emerging market of Latin America– where growth in IT training now tracks several percentage points higher than IT services overall. IDC forecasts that by 2021, the Americas will account for more than half (50.3 percent) of all IT education spending worldwide.

U.S. IT education opportunities

The largest training opportunity overall in the United States is in the application software category, which includes commercial, industrial, and technical programs designed to automate processes and increase individual or departmental productivity.

However, the fastest-growing training opportunity in the United States is in the application development software markets. This is driven by increasing customer demands to digitally transform their business operations and transition to the cloud. New development languages, environments and tools (DLET) are emerging here, necessitating continuous skills evolution. And for the larger, more complex tool and platform offerings, strong certification programs are essential for building stronger platform adoption.

Meanwhile, opportunities also abound in the system infrastructure software market, which is the most diverse, and which leverages the widest set of vendor-sponsored technical certifications.

Strategies for Education Vendors

Globally, there will be plenty of opportunities for IT training vendors in the coming years. Business demand for IT talent remains high; there is a continued scarcity of IT skills on all labor markets; and the IT education market itself is projected to total more than USD20 billion by 2021.

To fully leverage these opportunities, IT education vendors need to focus on establishing training as a value driver to the business impact of software adoption or system implementation. Specifically, they should seek to:

  • Identify and communicate how training impacts the business value of the technology.

  • Articulate clearly the differences between skilled and unskilled IT professionals or business users.

  • Guide customers toward training programs that suit specific organizational objectives and develop higher-skilled employee profiles.

  • Leverage adoption monitoring tools, and develop triggers for learning interventions.

In terms of content and delivery, training vendors should:

  • Focus on high-growth content areas, including collaborative applications, structured data management software, and integration and process automation middleware.

  • Continue to offer and expand learning flexibility and convenience.

  • Include a practice element within training courses, using live and simulated labs, and other activities that support the repetitive use of skills learned.

  • Champion digital learning, which is consistently seen as the appropriate method for delivering IT skills content.

Based on the above findings and recommendations of the latest IDC study, Oracle University is extremely well positioned to meet the world’s and our Oracle partners’ emerging IT education needs, and to maximize the business value of enterprise technology of our partners and their customers. Please reach out to us so that we can determine the solution to your training needs.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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