Managing the skills burden

Over the past few years, as technologies have become more and more complicated, so vendors have begun to ask for more and more skills from their channel partners.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  November 9, 2002

Over the past few years, as technologies have become more and more complicated, so vendors have begun to ask for more and more skills from their channel partners.

Nowadays, in order to sell even some of the more basic parts of a solution, vendors are asking their channel partners to have certification, covering not just the technical aspects of deployment and support, but also the sales side of the equation too.

Whereas before it was acceptable for a reseller to have a handful of more general qualifications, if any, now each vendor wants them to have specific qualifications in their products.

And these qualifications don't stand still either. As the technologies develop, so the certifications grow too. Certifications have to be renewed on a regular basis. Many vendors also require that partners have a certain number of certifications or specialities to allow them to keep up a certain status level as a partner, or push qualifications in unproven technology to try to seed the market.

For the Middle East especially, there is always a problem with staff looking to move on to better paying jobs in other regions-meaning that the partner not only has to pay to train staff, but pay to keep them once the training is done too.

All in all, the skills burden on resellers is becoming a genuine burden, particularly for broad-based resellers who handle a wide range of products. How can a reseller continue to provide customers with the best solution, if they are tied to just one or two vendors by means of certification requirements?

While technical knowledge and understanding of what you are selling is essential, and should be a source of pride for the channel, the sheer amount of expertise that is required is becoming too much. The channel needs solutions, before the burden forces resellers into smaller and smaller technical niches.

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