School is “In” for the Channel: Training is Profitable

July 3, 2008 at 7:05 am Leave a comment

Mary Lee Shalvoy

Mary Lee Shalvoy

School may be out for the summer, but in the business world, the need for training never takes a break. It’s a hot topic in our (consulting) circles. Well, it’s not hot in the “this is the latest, coolest thing” kind of way, but more in just figuring out how to manage it in all of its complexities.

If you haven’t already heard, there is an enormous IT talent shortage, which equals a big gap in terms of talent when staffing partners and corporations. It’s been reported widely in the press and on the Web that in order for the big vendors to meet their growth targets, they need to get people up and trained on their products and technology in general.
This growth, by the way, also fuels the general market growth so the not-so-big companies fare well, too. Unfortunately, as much as training sounds too bland and too much like school for the latest crop of Gen Yers out there, so does joining the workforce as a techie.  There are a myriad of other issues when it comes to training in today’s market, including the price of travel, the logistics of having workers get the training they need (in lieu of doing the actual work they are paid to do) and then just who does the training, be it an education services group or a training partner.

So, if you are a big technology company, how do you draw in workers—especially when you are not a Google with a cool, young campus, have been around for more than 10 years and no longer have the most millionaires listed in your company directory?

At the same time, how do you get corporate workers around the globe up to speed on your technology? Oh, yeah, and because your technology integrates with several others, how do you get a true virtual lab running and operating in training mode? It seems clear that using the partner channel is the way to go. Partners have the breadth of knowledge across vendors and technologies, even those partners focused solely on training others. That leaves us with another dilemma for the big tech company: Does training primarily empower and enable your partners, both in terms of the training you provide them and in the opportunity for them to resell and deliver training, or is it another way for you to make money?

Many of our clients are trying to work through the complexities of this last decision. There are several layers when it comes to partner training and training partners. Sorting through and defining each layer can be confusing and challenging. We’ve learned that all of the big guns, like Cisco, Microsoft and IBM are working hard to make training work internally and externally.

At Amazon Consulting, we believe that training can be both an enablement offering and a profit center. We’re seeing vendors and VARs reap profits by providing software training services in areas such as business intelligence, asset management and security.

We ask, why do the two have to be mutually exclusive?

About the blogger.   Since 1984, Mary Lee Shalvoy has written extensively about the computer industry. She uses her experiences to write a wide range of marketing materials for our clients, including newsletters. She also conducts market and competitive research


Entry filed under: Partnering Tips. Tags: , , .

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