Resellers skimping on training to save costs
But training providers insist such tactics are detrimental in the long term
Resellers are abandoning field skills training to make short-term cost savings as they battle to keep their finances in check during the current economic climate.
IT training providers claim business has been down by between 20% and 30% this year - less than the market for hardware or software products but enough to spark concerns that the channel is not getting the level of education it needs.
Training and skills development is often viewed as a 'luxury' in leaner times and it seems some resellers in the Middle East believe they can cut corners without harming their prospects.
Mazen Jabri, managing director for MEA and emerging markets at Global Knowledge, a specialist provider of Cisco and Microsoft training courses, argues that resellers should be doing exactly the opposite in the present economic cycle, as training can lead to increased productivity among existing resources and allow companies to "sweat their assets" until normal investment levels resume.
He also warned that resellers who scale back their training investments could find their actions prove to be counter-productive in the long run.
"The issue they face is that when things start picking up again they will lose the edge against the resellers that have invested in skills, so they will not be able to adopt the new technologies and new solutions that are coming out from vendors," he said.
"They will be lacking specialisation, which could lead to them losing their Silver or Gold status [in a vendor channel programme], putting them at a disadvantage when the business comes back," continued Jabri.
Mohammed Aslam, country general manager at IT learning giant New Horizons, says there is a further element to the current challenges facing the training industry - the channel is failing to sell the value of its importance.
"Local resellers are not taking training on the products or technologies as a requirement, but are treating it as an added value which can be easily taken off the table when the client raises their budget concerns," lamented Aslam.
"The call of the time is to have more focused training to create supplementary business opportunities, thus giving a boost to the productivity of the client. Training now plays a key role and a true contributor to business success in this current climate since all organisations are busy ‘rightsizing' their manpower - therefore multi-tasking becomes the order of the day," he said.