The significance of certified training in a competitive partner landscape

Stephen Ennis, Director of Services, EMEA

Stephen Ennis, Director Education Services, Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA


Stephen Ennis, Director Education Services, Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA discusses how training certification is fast becoming a necessity


The channel must understand just how vital IT training and certifications are – not only for its own success, but also to the end-users it serves. A recent survey conducted by Analyst house IDC found that almost all respondent had been certified in some form of IT training in the past two years. This represents a significant shift towards comprehensive education to address the blossoming skills gap in many IT professions.

Modern IT environments can be complex, often requiring different skills and levels of expertise. Successful partners are recognising the need to invest in IT certifications and digital teaching methods are fast becoming a popular choice for millennials entering the job market.

But what should partners consider in order to get this right?


Find the right delivery method for your audience

When satisfying the digital appetite of millennial employees, it’s important to understand that IT learning is shifting from static classrooms to virtual environments. Traditional, instructor-led training (ILT) is changing rapidly to encompass the style most commonly demanded. Lessons are moving out of static classrooms to virtual environments, delivering content either fully interactively or in an ‘on-demand’ manner. Creating virtual classrooms and offering blended learning allows employees the opportunity to receive ‘just in time’ training, making them the most skilled and knowledgeable of their peers.


Keep up with newer technologies to offer the right kind of certification

Vendor certification remains important for the channel but has moved from being a differentiator to a must-have. Having an industry or technology certification is much more attractive to end-users keen to grow their skill set in a particular technology. As a plethora of next-generation technologies such as security and cloud computing are entering the mainstream, it’s vital that end-users are able to attain specific and non-vendor certifications. For example, it is clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) will require industry certification to help identify experts who will drive innovation forward, and training on them needs to take on a more digital approach.


Protect enterprise investment

While some might see YouTube tutorials as an easy and cheap option to getting the required information, the value of the data being processed or handled typically has immense value to the organisation and therefore its imperative that implementation, management and support during the course prevents possible risks and threats. Keeping data safe protects the organisation’s brand and reputation. Cutting corners is not a suitable or viable option when compared to what is at stake.

Think of the following scenario when deciding whether to invest in IT certification: you wouldn’t let your GP work on your teeth having only watched a short video on YouTube. You’d go to a dentist instead.  In the same vein, organisations should insist IT professionals have the right certifications for the technology they are working on.

Recognising the need for effective training and certification in the channel is beneficial for the entire partner eco-system. By delivering training in the most suitable manner, be that ILT, virtual classrooms or a catalogue of ‘on demand’ tutorials, partners have the chance to remain competitive and provide a much better service to customers.

Posted under Training

This post was written by on January 10, 2017

Technology without the right skills and training is like buying a plane without a pilot’s licence

Richard Whitson, Academy Business Development Manager, Avnet Academy

Technology should create a better business outcome to make the world a better place to live, work and play. No enterprise organisation invests in technology without a purpose, i.e. it needs to perform a function. But to use technology as intended, IT teams need the right skills to install, configure, manage and support.  Much like planes, IT hardware and software from different vendors work differently and need different skills to get the most out of them. Plus as the technology evolves, IT teams need to refresh their skills.

There is no way you would take a plane up in the air unless you had the right training and knew you were going to be able to land it again without any problems. Introducing new technology into the heart of a data centre carries similar risks. Do it wrong and you could find the business grinding to a halt whilst you pray that the back-ups can restore missing data. Development environments obviously help and take out some of the risk. But even then, it’s not all that efficient to ‘play’ with the technology.  It is far more effective to know how to get the most out of the technology in the first instance. This is where good quality training and education has an important role to play.  You should have the option to customise the training to your team’s requirements. There is no point putting a team through hours of tutorial on things they already know.  Plus people have different learning styles.  Sometimes people learn better at their own pace, or they find it difficult to travel and want to learn from their office or home.  Training should also be credible.  If the vendor has appointed the training provider, this is usually a good sign that the course content is going to be of decent quality. The fact is, organisations spend large sums of money on technology to give them a competitive advantage. They need to invest their training budget wisely to leverage this investment to have maximum impact.

I have been working recently on a new brochure for our IBM focused partners to help them offer their customers IBM authorised training, which you can see by clicking here. For more than 25 years Avnet has provided product, skills and services for the complete range of IBM hardware and software solutions for Cloud, Big Data & Analytics, Security, Social & Mobility, and Systems & Systems Software. Plus as IBM’s appointed Authorised Global Training Provider, it should come as no surprise to you that we are passionate about training and education. In the same way no one wants to see a plane crash because of pilot error, we hate to see down time or wasted investment because the IT teams in charge of managing the IT infrastructure we sold, didn’t have the right skills. Our success is directly related to helping ensure the best business outcome. And whilst technology is becoming more intuitive, at the enterprise level, artificial intelligence has not yet replaced the need for skilled IT teams.

Posted under IT infrastructure, IT Software, Training

This post was written by on December 18, 2015

Time to get smart with our training budgets

Richard Whitson, Academy Business Development Manager, Avnet Academy

When people tell me training is expensive, I am quick to point out that it’s not as expensive as ignorance and unused training budgets.

When it comes to some of the data centre technologies, you just can’t afford the risk of ‘learning on the job’. If things go wrong, the consequences don’t bear thinking about. A training budget is a precious thing all too often taken for granted. In a knowledge economy, our ability to acquire and purchase knowledge is what gives organisations a competitive advantage.  IT training helps you leverage your investments in IT to get the technology to do more.  Unspent training budgets represent wasted opportunity and put an organisation at risk from falling behind its competitors.  Here are two things all organisations should be considering.

Firstly, maximise flexibility.  Most training budgets are set around financial years rather than when and where the training is needed. Often these two things are mis-aligned and companies end up sacrificing training budgets at the end of a financial year because they are unused, or worse they get spent on things that aren’t going to drive the right results. Organisations need to find training providers that allow them to park a training budget with them and then schedule the training as and when it’s needed. This flexibility means organisations can ensure training budgets are spent on the right things at the right time. This might mean waiting until the employee, project or customer is ready.

Secondly organisations should be looking at ways of getting more training days for their money.  If you bought a stack of training credits, you should be looking to save up to 25% off the cost of training. This is a smart way of using your training budget. Remember training equals competitive advantage.  If you can increase that by up to 25%, this can only be a good thing for your organisation.

At Avnet we recognise that training is an important factor in employee engagement, because it helps them stay interested and maximises their potential. Partner with the right training provider, be smart with your training budget and suddenly you’ll find it far easier to accelerate your success.

There is additional information on our website about Avnet training credits:

Posted under Training

This post was written by on December 7, 2015

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