Today, every company is a technology company. This has proven true throughout the era of digital transformation. No matter what industry you’re in, what you’re selling, or who you’re selling it to, technology plays a vital role in how you make, deliver, and market your products/services.
And as a result, IT infrastructure is no longer a set-it-and-forget-it support system underneath more important business processes. Now, IT infrastructure management is a main driver of business success. If it’s not handled properly, your business risks falling behind more agile and efficient competitors.
But for all the innovative technologies that have simplified business operations, IT infrastructure management is more complicated than ever.
For talent development leaders, IT infrastructure management challenges and complexities present an opportunity to build training programs that drive business value.
On a high level, IT infrastructure is the backbone of systems and processes that allow an organization to deliver solutions and services to the workforce and customers. More specifically, IT infrastructure management includes maintenance for:
- Hardware: The servers, data centers, switches, and other on-premises equipment that support IT services.
- Cloud Computing: IT infrastructure management isn’t just about on-premises equipment anymore. IT infrastructure training programs must also cover the various use cases for public, private, and hybrid cloud technology.
- Software: Various applications and services that are deployed throughout the organization—CRM, ERP, communications apps, etc.
- Networking: LAN and WAN connectivity as well as cybersecurity appliances like firewalls.
- Human Processes: All of the administrators, developers, and end users with access to IT systems and the processes required to maintain those systems and services.
In many cases, business leaders can rely on experienced technicians to understand the intricacies of legacy IT infrastructure. However, IT infrastructure management is evolving at a rate that outpaces even the most experienced employees, resulting in critical challenges that learning programs can help overcome.
We’re living in an always-on world and those responsible for IT infrastructure management are feeling the pressure. There’s little room for error despite the ever-growing complexity of systems and their interdependencies.
Talent development leaders must be prepared to help the IT department juggle the various aspects of a complex IT infrastructure. And that means addressing challenges such as:
- Availability: Your workforce depends on the uptime of mission-critical systems and applications. One misstep in IT infrastructure management can result in downtime that costs the business millions of dollars in lost productivity. Strategically planning for business continuity is essential.
- Budgeting: With so many varying economic models within the IT infrastructure, financial planning can be challenging. When tech leaders are asked to do more with less, IT infrastructure training must include the financial side of the conversation.
- Agility: Speed is everything for modern IT infrastructure management. If the IT department isn’t prepared to adapt quickly to new business demands, you risk falling behind competitors. Help your IT infrastructure leaders overcome challenges of legacy systems.
- Control: The modern IT infrastructure isn’t just on-premises. Moving to the cloud helps with agility and budgeting but takes some control out IT’s hands. IT infrastructure training must teach leaders to control systems even when they aren’t fully-owned.
Knowing the challenges of IT infrastructure management and the importance of overcoming them is only half the battle for talent development leaders. The other half is developing a detailed IT infrastructure training program capable of empowering the workforce to address them.
In many cases, that could mean facilitating preparation for ongoing IT infrastructure certification.
One way to structure an IT infrastructure training program is to focus on the various certifications that exist in the industry. At the very least, the continuous update cycle for certification programs will keep tech leaders knowledgeable about important trends in IT infrastructure management.
If you’re looking for a starting point to build your IT infrastructure training program, there common certifications can help create the foundation:
- ITIL V3: ITIL V3 is an increasingly popular IT service management framework that helps keep infrastructure challenges in check. The certification process ensures that tech managers have a foundation for understanding the key components and needs of modern IT infrastructure.
- Cisco Certified Architect: Cisco products comprise a large percentage of IT infrastructures, so it makes sense for training programs to include Cisco lessons. The range of CCA certifications walk through various levels of expertise to teach IT workers how to manage these solutions.
- CompTIA Security+: In the wake of significant data breaches at the world’s biggest companies, it’s impossible to ignore security as a part of IT infrastructure management. There’s been a shortage of cybersecurity talent in recent years, but the CompTIA Security+ certification ensures employees have the skills necessary to keep the IT infrastructure safe.
- VMware Certified Professional (VCP): So much of modern IT infrastructure management consists of deploying and maintaining virtual machines. As a result, VMware has become a critical component for just about every IT department. Learning how to configure vSphere and manage VMs can ensure companies get the most out of virtualization.
These are just a few of the certifications that IT workers can complete to advance their careers. By looking through the requirements for certification and providing access to training resources, you can establish building blocks for continuous IT infrastructure management education.
Not every business will require IT workers to achieve the certifications mentioned above. That doesn’t mean IT infrastructure training programs are any simpler for L&D leaders, though.
Regardless of certification requirements, you know that the IT infrastructure will constantly evolve and require new skills to manage. Certification requirements will give you a starting point for a training program, but then it’s time to start structuring individual courses into larger educational paths.
The LinkedIn Learning library includes IT infrastructure management learning paths, such as:
- Become a DevOps Engineer: Continuous delivery and automation are key aspects of any IT infrastructure evolution. This is why DevOps engineers are in such high demand. With this learning path, IT workers learn why DevOps is so important while gaining the foundational skills for working within a continuous delivery pipeline.
- Azure IT Administration: Microsoft Azure is one of the leading public cloud platforms and is an increasingly vital piece of IT infrastructure. Learning how to leverage advanced capabilities can alleviate significant challenges of IT infrastructure management.
- Implementing Azure Infrastructure Solutions: Virtualization, security, and business continuity are major aspects of working with Microsoft Azure. The best IT infrastructure managers will understand how to maximize each component. This course prepares IT professionals to become certified for implementing Microsoft Azure infrastructure solutions.
The key to IT infrastructure training is to not limit your program to individual systems or platforms. There’s so much variation in the industry and you want to make sure IT pros have all the resources they need to get the job done.
LinkedIn Learning’s full library of courses and learning paths provide on-demand educational resources for just about any IT infrastructure management need. Browse the full catalog and see what you can use to fill out your IT infrastructure training program.
Mike MeyersPresident at Total Seminars, a provider of PC and network repair seminars
Caroline WongVice President of Cobalt.io, a cybersecurity services firm
Sharon BennettLinkedIn Learning staff author for Microsoft Azure and Office 365
Scott BurrellEducation Director at Ohio Media School