Training is a large cost in any corporation. Enormous amounts of training need to be done in any company, particularly large ones. The costs associated with training are not only financial-they are the time devoted to training, and perhaps equally important, the time and money wasted if a company doesn't properly train its employees.
Training needs to be done to orient new employees to the corporation itself-things such as teaching about corporate procedures, where to find information, how to fill out forms, rules that managers must follow, and other similar orientation issues.
Another level of training has to do with how to use particular pieces of software at the corporation-for example, how to use the accounting system or a database.
The most complex level of training incorporates not just how to use software or how to follow procedures, but how to actually do business at the company. For example, many companies put new sales employees through a substantial amount of training that encompasses teaching about the industry in which the salesperson is selling, information about the product to be sold, as well as specific sales techniques to be used.
Training is not just for new employees-it needs to be an ongoing process. New products and goods to sell mean people need to be taught about them. New software and business procedures require that people be taught how to use them.
An intranet can help with all these kinds of training. It can cut costs, save time, and ensure that people get better training. On the simplest level, Web pages can be built to train people. The Web can be used as a multimedia training tool by including pictures, video, audio, with the text. It can be interactive as well-people can answer questions, take tests, and try out procedures.
More revolutionary will be intranet-based multimedia applications. Videoconferencing will allow trainers to teach people across the entire intranet. People won't have to be physically in the same room; instead, they can be seated at their PCs. And they'll be able to interact and ask questions using the technology as well.
With whiteboard applications (in which people can see what is on each other's computer screens), a teacher can demonstrate how to use a particular piece of software, and everyone connected can see on their computer screen what the instructor is doing, and can ask questions by doing things such as circling a portion of the screen, and asking questions about it.
Streaming video and audio technologies (which allow people to watch videos or listen to audios without having to wait for them to completely download) can be used for training as well. The ultimate training tool, however, may be virtual reality. A virtual world is built that someone can walk through and interact with in the same way as with the real world. Virtual reality has been used by the airlines and the military, for example, to train pilots.
Training employees is a major cost to many corporations. All employees require training on an ongoing basis-training for mundane things such as how to fill out new forms and procedures, to more sophisticated things, such as being given information about new goods and services the company sells. Multimedia on an intranet can be a very effective training tool.