Today, it’s common for companies of all sizes rely on cutting-edge technology to conduct daily business. But what happens when this technology fails? Malfunctions can and do happen.
KPMG estimates that IT mishaps can cost large organizations upwards of $503,000 each year. For instance, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was fined $68 million by regulators after a software glitch barred millions of RBS customers from accessing their accounts. More recently, British Airways faced the wrath of angry consumers when an IT systems failure caused more than 500 flights to be canceled or delayed, resulting in over 75,000 passengers being stranded. Meanwhile, American retailer Target lost an estimated $50 million in sales due to a technology failure.
IT mishaps can also be very detrimental to training events. Technical failure can derail learning sessions causing delays, distractions, lost productivity, and frustrations. Ensuring you have adequate technical support is paramount before, during and after the event.
Prepare for Potential Troubleshooting Needs Beforehand
Instead of waiting for problems to arise, ensure that you are equipped to deal with potential problems before the training event begins. Have a technical specialist on hand for when issues arise. If you are using an third-party training venue, choose one that provides an on-site technical staff. Depending on the problem, you may be able to continue the training while they fix the glitch, avoiding interruptions.
Test all relevant technology before the training begins, ensuring there is sufficient time for last-minute fixes or equipment swaps as needed. If participants are required to bring their own devices, allot some time prior to the session for them to set up as well. Alert participants in advance of any necessary system requirements or applications they need to download prior to class. If applicable, you’ll also want to make participants aware of any company security requirements related to software installation.
Finally, make sure to check connectivity before the training begins. Some high-tech training events require a hardwired connection while others can run sufficiently on the WiFi network. Always check that your training venue provider has the bandwidth and connectivity required for your event. In general, hardwired connections offer greater stability and security, which can help prevent connectivity-related technical issues during the training.
Use a Systematic Approach for IT Troubleshooting
If an technical complication arises during training, don’t panic. Have a plan for diagnosing and troubleshooting issues before they happen. Having a haphazard approach is likely to make it more difficult to diagnose the issue and efficiently solve it. If you’re the person in charge of troubleshooting, the issue, below are some tips for diagnosing and solving the issues quickly:
- Observe: Gather details to diagnose the problem. Note any error messages, information contained in event logs, screenshots, and systems diagnostics. Look for signs of disconnected or damaged hardware.
- Define the Problem Area: Determine the who, what, and when of the issue to hone in on the problem area. Is only one user’s equipment malfunctioning or are multiple users affected? Did the complication arise after a specific action, like a download? How many times has the event occurred?
- Identify and Test Possible Causes: Use the information gleaned from steps 1 and 2 to pinpoint possible causes. Once you have a list of probable reasons, rank them in terms of which one is most likely to blame. Use a process of elimination and test them one-by-one, starting with the most likely source.
- Based on Findings, Attempt to Fix: Once you have used this process of elimination to identify the actual cause, steps can be taken to fix it. If fixing the suspected issue doesn’t help, return to step one, and gather more information. You may have missed something in the first troubleshooting attempt.
Record Troubleshooting Steps
Troubleshooting doesn’t end once the problem is resolved. Any malfunction should be properly recorded. Note the date and time, the issue, and the steps taken to fix it. Provide visual evidence like screenshots of systems error messages if possible. Thorough documentation allows you to prepare for future events. It can also serve as a useful reference for others who may experience similar challenges.
Documentation also helps identify patterns over time and can be used to pinpoint large-scale complications. You can never be sure if a piece of equipment has some sort of inherent fault like a manufacturing defect, for instance. A solid body of evidence attesting to repeated dilemmas can help reveal big-picture snags and save you and your organization the headache and cost of long-term tech issues that could otherwise be avoided.
Effective Troubleshooting Provides Minimal Disruption
“Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” This mantra applies in many business cases, including troubleshooting for technical training. Follow these guidelines to ensure a smoother training process in the future. With advanced preparation, a systematic troubleshooting approach, and thorough followup documentation, you can handle potential predicaments with minimal stress and disruption.