Alan Richards has been working in the IT industry for over 17 years and during that time has been at the forefront of using IT. Alan is the founder and director of Edutechnow Ltd a SharePoint & Office 365 strategy and delivery company. Alan is also a regular speaker & blogger and has been a SharePoint MVP since July 2011 and more recently an Office 365 MVP.
The IT universe is an ever changing landscape, in just the last few years we have seen the focus of IT departments around the world change from onPremise based services to hosting services and now to cloud based services. Office 365 provides businesses with software as a service solution for mail, collaboration and instant messaging, Azure provides Infrastructure as a Service facilities to businesses with virtual machine offerings, VPN connections so you can start to move your Active Directory services to the cloud for instance.
All of this means that the IT end user, IT Pro and developer skillset has also changed and is changing constantly. Gone are the days when you went on a course or read a book on Windows Server or Exchange or SharePoint and for the next 3 years you were up to date because you knew the next version wouldn’t be out for another 3 years. Office 365 for instance changes on a daily basis, Microsoft have committed to at least one change to the platform every single day, admittedly these may be changes that have no impact on the end user or even the IT Pro but you get my point.
So with all that said how do we keep up with the changes, where can we find those sources of information or training that are going to help us and keep our skillset current and relevant.
One source is the Office 365 Success Centre, this has a wealth of information around business benefits, scenarios, adoption, deployment & many more.
From businesses that are still looking at whether Office 365 is for them to IT Pro’s trying to drive adoption the Success Centre has resources that you can use.
Microsoft Technet has a wealth of resources for IT Pro’s but what is not as widely known is that it also has resources for end users. This link will take you to a page that has links for training resources & videos for Office 365 and also links to training resources for the Office suite.
Yammer is a great enterprise social tool but it is also great for getting in touch with experts and networks of people that can answer your questions. Office 365 IT Pro Network - the network is an open network where you can post questions or answer other users questions. The selling benefit if you like for this network is that among its users it can boast members of the Office 365 product team and MVP’s so not only will your question been seen by other IT Pro’s but it will also be seen by the people who actually run Office 365.
The MVA is a resource run by Microsoft learning, it has a wealth of training materials which are free to use. You can in fact learn anything from simple information about Microsoft products all the way up to Microsoft exam curriculum, its certainly helped me study for a few of those MCP exams.
The great thing about MVA is that you can build your own learning plan whether that is for cloud based products such as Office 365 or Azure or hone your development skills using C#.
On a cloud front the screenshot below shows just a few examples of IT Pro courses.
The great thing about MVA is that a lot of these courses are delivered either by the product team or MVP’s so the skillset you will learn is always up to date.
At the start of this article I talked about how the world of IT is constantly changing and how do we keep up, how do we upskill for a world that can change on a daily basis.
Hopefully in the sections above I have given you a taste of the resources that are available to you to get your own skills up to date but also to help your end users with their skillsets and the adoption of whatever technology you decide to implement.
And the great thing about these resources is that they too are cloud based, so as well as being available from anywhere you can get an internet connection they are also constantly changing and update as technology advances.