Fast Lane plans regional and portfolio expansion

Fast Lane has been given the green light by Cisco’s Internet Learning Solutions Group (ILSG) to expand its IT training operations into Europe.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  November 4, 2002

Expanding horizons|~||~||~|Fast Lane has been given the green light by Cisco’s Internet Learning Solutions Group (ILSG) to expand its IT training operations into Europe. The company, which is one of Cisco’s Middle East training partners, will be able to offer a full range of Cisco Career Certifications to both private and public companies in Europe.

“We are delighted to be awarded a territory extension to our Cisco Learning Partner status and ISLG’s recognition of Fast Lane’s philosophy, which translates into delivering high quality IT training to professionals and businesses in the region,” says Josef Miskulnig, managing director, Fast Lane.

The change in status is part of a new partner programme introduced by Cisco to relieve the burden on its own training staff. Although Cisco still has the final say on new partners, the revised system has put in place a two tier programme under which selected training partners can assume more responsibility in decision-making processes and the development of new education centres.

“Selected learning partners now get the authority to appoint so-called second tier learning partners or sales organisations, which are then directly managed and controlled by [a first tier] partner like us. We, as a ‘distributor’, are then in charge and responsible for making sure that the delivery and execution is done according to the Cisco standards and specifications,” explains Miskulnig.

Additionally, Fast Lane will be able to certify and appoint staff and trainers for these second tier training houses.

Currently Fast Lane has training operations in Dubai, Riyadh, Cairo, Bahrain and Jordan, but Miskulnig says the company is relishing the opportunity to enter new markets.

“Having maintained a consistent delivery of training across our Middle East network, we are now going to build on this experience and the reputation [we have] earned in the region and take it a step forward into the European market,” he comments.

Fast Lane already has plans in place to establish operations in Austria and Germany and Miskulnig believes the move into new countries will allow the company to gain additional knowledge of IT and training trends, which can then be brought back to the Middle East and tailored to the local market.

“Expanding Fast Lane’s operations into Europe means that our in-house trainers and specialists will have greater exposure to emerging training trends and demands in the IT market, further enhancing their knowledge and expertise through shared experiences gained in the Middle East and Europe,” Miskulnig explains.

“By going into a mature market like Europe, we will have information available at an even earlier stage and we will be able to bring back and transform this information for the region,” he adds.

However, the new status for Fast Lane also facilitates the opening of more local offices. As such, the training company is finalising plans to open operations in Oman and Qatar. The latter is expected to be up and running in the next couple of months.

“In terms of office expansion, the next one is Qatar, we have put the courses on schedule already and we are in the process of hiring staff and setting up an office. In 2-3 months we should be fully operational,” comments Miskulnig.

Aside from expanding its geographical boundaries, Fast Lane has also been adding to its portfolio of courses, introducing HP network management courses and Network Associates Sniffer Protocol Analyser.

“These are two vendors that we are working very closely with to roll out training programmes for them in the region. The aim from our side when we look at other vendors is [to find] complimentary vendors [to Cisco] rather than competitors,” explains Miskulnig.||**||

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